Best Friends Animal Society

The "Make New Friends" Challenge


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Reaching out to nontraditional partners (during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond)

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

Download these PDF resources and share with your neighbors, family and friends. You can email the PDFs or print and share. If you print these out and share in person, please use precaution and place cards only where you can do so without putting yourself or others at risk.

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Connect as many people as possible to valuable information and pet resources while constantly expanding your network of kind, community-engaged citizens.

Animal welfare, like many movements, often suffers from existing predominately inside its own bubble. We work to build partnerships with neighboring shelters, rescues, and other animal-related nonprofits; we seek funding from animal-specific sources; and we promote our work to the animal lovers who are typically already "in the know."

In short, we're often preaching to the choir. But imagine if we reached beyond that population and connected, informed, and activated the millions of people outside our bubble as well. The movement would grow larger, and with it, our positive impact on pets and people.

The Why

  • Break down barriers; dogs and cats are part of practically every community across the country and we can leverage this common interest to create a greater sense of unity.
  • Expand our network for programmatic needs (e.g., foster homes, adopters, volunteers, donors).
  • Amplify our message through other networks to reach new audiences.
  • Discover potential new revenue and funding streams.
  • Build a more diverse and inclusive movement.
  • Connect with more people in order to help more dogs and cats

The Resources

Download these PDF resources and share with others who could benefit from them.

  • COVID-19 Pet Resources: A list of resources for owners to help protect their pets, should they struggle to care for their pet(s) due to illness or income loss.
  • Pet Preparedness Plan: A plan for pet owners to take to ensure their pet’s health and safety in the case of a personal emergency.
  • Community Kindness Cards: These cards are a way for people to offer help to their neighbors, such as walking a dog or donating supplies.
  • How to Organize Your Neighborhood: This guide explains how to start organizing your neighborhood to help support the community. It provides suggestions for getting started, and links out to more relevant resources.

Remember, the point is to spread kindness — not germs. So if you print these out to share with others, use precaution and place those printouts where you can do so without putting yourself or others at risk. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after any delivery and maintain social distancing. Additional resources can be found at bestfriends.org/covid19.

The How

The absolute key to making a positive connection outside of our usual channels is to identify and tap into how what we are offering is beneficial to who we are engaging and why they should be excited to work with us and share our information.

  • Start with a soft ask. The goal is to build the relationship so it's okay to hold off on your ask and make the first goal simply setting up a follow-up conversation.
  • Make your offer mutually beneficial, e.g., "we will share your info if you share ours."
  • Be concise and clear in what you are hoping to achieve.
  • Provide examples of other organizations or individuals that have agreed to partner, especially if they are well known in your community.
  • Show how this is a holistic effort that the entire community is getting involved in and will benefit from (emphasize that pets help people).
  • Leave something behind, e.g., a flyer, brochure, or even specific resources. (This can easily be done via email attachments during physical distancing.)
  • Make it fun — reach out to groups/organizations you have a personal interest in or just want to learn more about.

The Who

When community members band together to create a collective support network for one another, any crisis can be endured and overcome. With that in mind, we have created a list of resources to help pets and people during this crisis — but we need your help distributing it across the nation.

Connecting with community groups outside of animal welfare is essential to ensuring we can reach all individuals who need help with their pets during this time. These groups are often deeply connected with segments of the community that aren’t otherwise following Best Friends or local rescue groups; they may receive requests for help on this topic and your outreach will ensure they know where to look.

The following are recommendations for groups you might connect with to share these resources:

  • Faith-based groups
  • Community food banks
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Social service organizations
  • American Red Cross chapters
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Minority advocacy groups
  • LGBTQ groups
  • Volunteer clubs
  • YMCA/YWCA chapters
  • Digital communities like Nextdoor.com or neighborhood Facebook groups
  • Local governments (consider reaching out to your mayor’s office, city council member, county government, or state representative/senator and ask them to post pet support info with their otherCOVID-19 resources). You can find contact information for elected officials on your city or county website, through a phone call to the city or county clerk’s office, or through Ballotpedia.
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