Non-Profit PR Expert Shares Easy Ways to Help Shelters When You’re Low on Time

Have you always wanted to help local shelters but don’t have time during the week to volunteer in person? We’ve asked a nonprofit PR professional how we can still make a huge impact for animals even if we can’t commit to a weekly shift.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and your role at Bangor Humane Society!

My name is Stacey Coventry and I’m the Director of Development and Public Relations for the Bangor Humane Society. I have journalism and sociology bachelors degrees from Syracuse University and a Masters in nonprofit management from Husson University. My role at BHS is to manage all areas of fund acquisition, including the design and implementation of an annual fundraising plan; donor cultivation and stewardship; develop, coordinate, and implement public relations strategies; grant writing; publish public education materials; and coordinate special projects and events.

We have to ask you about your pets. You have a few, right?!

I have 3 rescue pets of my own. Nala, a 7 year old yellow lab mix; Koda, a 6 year old black lab mix; and Banzai, my bi-eyed white cat. Nala and Koda are registered therapy dogs who volunteer with me in our local community. They have a reading program at a local library, comfort the grieving in a youth support group and visit schools, nursing homes or anyone who can benefit from canine companionship.

Many of us want to help shelter pets but don’t have time each week to volunteer. What are some ways we could help without committing to an in-person shift?

We always need advocates. People who help promote our mission proactively and positively in their own circles within our communities. Helping to promote and encourage adoption by sharing our mission and adoptable pets on their social media outlets, following us on Facebook and helping spread the word about our mission and our needs, making a donation of money or of items from our wish list, adopting themselves, or volunteering in any capacity they can are important ways someone can help outside of our shelter walls. If you cannot commit weekly or regularly, reach out anyway.

You never know what talents or gifts you have that we can benefit from or what opportunities may exist within limited availability. Our Fast Track Shelter Helper and Dog’s Day Out programs allow you to stop in spontaneously to help whenever you find yourself with an extra hour or two to spare.

Do you have any fun fundraising ideas we could try?

We have the most creative community of supporters who are always finding fun ways to help and give back. If you find something that is fun for you and turn it into fundraiser you’ll be more successful. Kids are always collecting shelter items and money for BHS in lieu of getting their own gifts. Paint and sips or turning a home based business (like Scentsy, Lularoe or Pampered Chef) into a give back event are some great ideas. We have have a group of bikers who host an annual motorcycle ride that features a meal at a local restaurant with some musical entertainment. Also, dress down days at work or any activity that would inspire you to give through creative, fun ways are great strategies for fundraising.

What are the most successful fundraisers for shelters, in your opinion?

Those that require little upfront expense and expend minimal human resources (i.e., time to organize and implement). For us, our biggest fundraiser is our annual dog walk. But any event that raises $1000 or more for us through a third party event we consider a hugely successful one. Examples include bike rides, pub crawls, and local businesses donating a percentage of sales.

What areas are shelters generally short-handed in, and how could we best step in to help?

It’s cliche, but money and volunteers. We can never have enough dollars or human capital. Both are required to save thousands of furry and feathered lives every year. No matter how little, every dollar and every hour of time donated has a huge impact on our mission.

Thank you so much for all you do, Stacey!

Follow Bangor Humane Society on Facebook here.

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