Shep’s Place Strategic Plan, Version 1.0

Shep’s Place Strategic Plan, Version 1.0

Approved by the Board, 8/21/17


The end goal for Shep’s Place is to have a permanent, free-standing facility, backed by a robust group of volunteers and staff, to care for several dozen homeless senior dogs in the Kansas City area.

The best outcome for the dogs is to find them new, permanent homes, and we will make every effort to do so.  For the dogs who remain, though, we will be their family and home, and they will be free to live at Shep’s Place for the remainder of their days.

Since we plan to have permanent residents, we must design our program and facility to maximize the dogs’ quality of life.  Shep’s Place should feel more like a home than a way-station.  The dogs should be free to roam and play as much as possible, with lots of personal attention and human interaction, while minimizing the time spent in a kennel.

Turning this dream into a reality will require a lot of effort and funding.  Unless we win the lottery, the only way to achieve this is to start small and build slowly.  We will have to grow by stages, gradually expanding our program and base of support, and pausing after each step to show we are sustainable before moving forward.  We’ll go as fast as we can, but no faster than we can manage.

In terms of facilities, we currently envision a Two-Stage approach.  Once we locate and purchase a house with some land, Stage 1 will be to build an addition onto the house large enough to care for 6-8 dogs.  We’ll start slow, by fostering a few dogs from the SPCA, while we recruit a small group of volunteers and develop procedures.  As we raise money, we will convert the foster dogs to our care, and add more dogs until we reach capacity.  We will probably have to remain at Stage 1 for some time, perhaps several years, to prove that we are sustainable and to build the case for expansion.

Once we have shown donors that we are capable of managing a small facility and program , we can begin planning for Stage 2:  a new, larger, separate facility that can house 24-30 dogs.  This will require a major fund-raising effort, of course, and there is no guarantee of success.  But to help as many dogs as possible, we’ll need a bigger place, so this has to be our long-term goal.  Stage 2 will likely need full-time staff as well as a large group of dedicated volunteers.

It’s a lofty dream, but I truly believe we can achieve it together.  The support is out there.  We just have to be smart enough and work hard enough to find it.

Step-by-Step Process

Step 1:  Acquire Property

Locate property in the KC area with the following characteristics:

  • A house for us to live in
  • Multiple acres of land for the future facility
  • Zoned Commercial or Industrial
  • Minimal number of neighbors
  • Accessible to volunteers
  • Affordable!
  • Peaceful setting
  • Room for Stage 1 addition to house

Sell our current house

Sell or dispose of unneeded stuff:  old VW, collections

Effect repairs of new house:

  • Install fence for our current dogs, if necessary


Step 2:  Build Fundraising Capability

Receive 501(c)(3) status from IRS

Apply for Missouri sales tax exemption

Set up online donation capability

Receipt & notification procedures

Record keeping procedures

Set up GoFundMe, other online fundraising tools


Step 3:  Plan for Stage 1 = Small facility located in an addition to the house

Design Stage 1 addition to house, for 6-8 dogs

Addition:  kennels, prep room, storage, grooming room

Fenced access to Play yards

Walking path, trails

Volunteer parking, access

Establish relationships with other shelters, Animal Control

Identify vet to approve dog care program

Develop dog care program with vet; clear with city, state

Fundraise for equipment, medical expenses

Build Stage 1 addition


Step 4:  Early Stage 1, Getting Started

Take in 2-3 foster dogs from SPCA

Set up small-scale volunteer program, 6-10 volunteers

Develop recruiting, training, scheduling, retention, dog care procedures

Develop small-scale volunteer Outreach program, procedures

Design T-shirts, other swag

Start Twitter, SnapChat, etc.


Step 5:  Mid Stage 1, Build the Program

As funds become available, convert foster dogs to our responsibility

Add new dogs only when we have sufficient funds for their care

Proceed dog by dog until we reach capacity

Find sustainable funding sources

Expand volunteer, outreach programs to match

Start adoption program


Step 6:  Late Stage 1, Prove Sustainability

Prove over time that Stage 1 is sustainable, valuable, and necessary

Design and build upper play area:  fence, Tuff Shed, generator, golf cart

Build adoption program

Keep track of placement requests to build case for expansion, new facility


Step 7:  Develop plans for Stage 2 = New, separate facility for 24-30 dogs

Architect plans, drawings, price estimate

Apply for Zoning changes, if necessary

Hire Lawyer to guide through government approval process

Recruit Board members for development, fundraising

Develop plans for staffing, training, dog care for larger facility


Step 8:  Make the case for Stage 2

Develop the case for expansion into Stage 2

Get approval for Stage 2 from state, etc.

Roll out plans, design for Stage 2 expansion to public

Search for major donors, grants

Ramp up Outreach program


Step 9:  Stage 2

Build larger, separate Stage 2 facility

Hire full-time staff

Ramp up volunteer program

Add dogs as funds become available

Live happily ever after in blissful doggie paradise