Learning New Tricks: Evolving Alongside Animal Centers



Since the first few years of its existence, GivePulse has been proud to work with animal centers and pet organizations to help organize, communicate and schedule volunteers. Now, GivePulse is used by the largest No-Kill centers and shelters as a platform for scheduling volunteers (foster parents and center related), digitizing applications, and tracking organizational efficiency and activity over time. We are the modern technology platform striving to be the best for all humane and animal centers.

This all started in our home community of Austin, Texas. Austin is the largest No-Kill community in the United States, a feat due in large part to the efforts of the Austin Animal Center (AAC). AAC provides shelter to over 16,000 animals each year. These animals are cared for and trained by staff and volunteers, and placed in foster homes or adopted into forever homes. Through our work with AAC, we have learned how to build GivePulse into a responsive, evolving, and effective volunteer management platform for pet organizations. 

In humane centers and animal shelters, volunteers are used every day of the year, for jobs ranging from veterinary care to animal enrichment, from matching pets to foster parents and forever homes to working in outreach and creative capacities. This wide variety of volunteer opportunities influences how these organizations set up their GivePulse community engagement platforms. Subgroups within GivePulse can focus recruitment for particular types of positions in the shelter and allow for communication directly with that group of volunteers performing a given job. Ensuring that messages go out to the right people at the right time is critical in such a vibrant and multifaceted setting — messages need to be sent regularly to ensure that volunteers are kept informed about program and shelter changes, adoption promotions, and more.

Having an effective community engagement system is necessary for humane centers and animal shelters, organizations that are deeply rooted in volunteering. With the number of people interested and the number of tasks available, a system that allows volunteers to set their own schedules in available timeslots, record their own hours, complete an online application, fill out surveys, and more frees up time to focus on ensuring that shelters of all sizes can keep functioning in a way that is best for the pets. At AAC, Erin and Geoff from the Foster team are able to manage and coordinate over 1000 foster parents. This is critical for the well-being of pets as they wait for their forever homes; a platform allowing them to match foster parents to pets, ensuring that all of the animals they take in are cared for. 

Volunteering with animals is a deeply rewarding activity, one that can strengthen ties to the community you live in. Sarah Luce, for example, started out as a volunteer with AAC, a role she held for over four years before she became a volunteer coordinator for the organization. “It was the highlight of my week,” she recalls. Her feelings have not changed now that she works for AAC. “It really does feel like the most rewarding job that I’ve ever had in my life,” she says. The thousands of positive reflections recorded on GivePulse show that Luce is far from alone in being impacted by her time at AAC — and the tens of thousands of impacts indicate that volunteers keep coming back. Perhaps this is in part due to the nature of the community these volunteers are a part of: “Austin is such an animal-friendly community and such an animal-loving community that the people who are here volunteering with us are people that really want to support this mission,” says Woods. 

From AAC and the many other amazing organizations on GivePulse (Pima Animal Care Center, Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, Humane Society of the Ozarks, and Southern Pines Animal Shelter, among many others) we can see some of the key ways that pet organizations and animal centers are using GivePulse: organizing and scheduling volunteers for a variety of tasks, tracking hours through impact records, and learning and storytelling through testimonials. GivePulse is also used for assessment through surveys, application digitization through group membership options, and volunteer recruitment through event listing options. 

These are just a few examples of how the hundreds of pet organizations we partner with use our services! The most important work for these organizations is to make sure that homeless or hurting animals are cared for and kept safe. Please connect with us to determine what pawsibilities exist and how you can help steer us further.  

To learn more about how GivePulse can help you make a difference in your community, schedule a call.