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Starting a Humane Education Program

ASPCA Humane Education

Assess the needs of your community.
Every community is different. Look into your community’s demographics — check with the local Chamber of Commerce or public library. Find out what specific animal-related problems your community is experiencing. Learn about your educational system. Find out who your community leaders are. The more you know about your community, the more appropriate program you will develop.

Things to Think About Before Starting a Humane Education Program


Assess the needs of your organization.
Decide on your organizational focus and goals. What is your mission? How will an educational program fit in with it? Does your board of directors approve? There are different kinds of educational programs: do you want to develop a program about your shelter and public health issues or do you want to develop a program exclusively for kids?

Assess your organizational resources.
Who will coordinate your program? Will you use staff members or volunteers? What will be in the job descriptions? What type of training will you provide? What qualifications will you require? How much time can you devote to the program?

Develop a strategy.
Brainstorm and document your ideas. Write up a comprehensive plan. Develop short- and long-term goals and objectives.

Create a budget.
What are your financial resources? How much money can you commit to the program? Be clear about your limitations. Consider all related expenses, such as salaries, printing, mailing and transportation.

Identify materials and resources.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Network with other organizations. Gather existing materials and modify them for your own use.

Develop a program.
Refer back to your strategy. Who is your audience? What materials are available that are age appropriate and relevant? What new materials do you need to develop? How will you evaluate the success of your program?

Partner with members of your community.
Identify your community leaders. Help them understand your program. Listen to their suggestions and ideas. Create an advisory board.

Partner with other organizations.
Find out what related programs exist in your community. Think beyond other animal organizations: think about service clubs, museums, libraries, schools and even local businesses. You might not need to start your own program; you might be able to participate in an already existing program.

Gain the support of your community.
Develop public relations and fundraising plans. Create promotional materials. Work with your local press and service clubs. Apply to foundations and corporations for funding.

Don’t preach.
Remember, education shouldn’t be boring. Successful programs are fun, interactive and creative. You’re ready — be positive, take a deep breath and get started.

© 2001 ASPCA

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