Reflection on First Round of Volunteer Group Meetings

Today marks the end of the first round of Group meetings (except for Outreach Programs, which had to be rescheduled).  I thought this would be a good time to reflect on how it’s going, and see if there are ways we can make improvements.

First off, thanks to all those who attended one or more Group meetings.  This first round dealt mostly with understanding the issues and discussing possibilities.

Of the eight meetings, four were well-attended (by six or more people):

  • Intake/Foster/Adoption (IFA)
  • Dog Care
  • Management
  • Renovation Advisory.

The interest in IFA and Dog Care makes sense, since they deal directly with dogs, and we love  pooches!  Management discussed how to train and use Volunteers, something which almost all of you have had personal experience with.  The Renovation Group talked about how to make the space usable for the dogs.  Each of these meetings was active and productive, and they all left with things to research for the next meeting.

I think the most important decisions to come out of those meetings were:  a) we will only take in dogs that have already spent time at a shelter or rescue, and b) that we will construct a new kennel building connected to the house, rather than remodel the garage.

The other Groups had fewer people attend.  Still, most made good progress.  Social Media had 3 people, as did Fundraising, while Events had 2.  And that’s okay.  For each of these, it may only take a handful of people to plan and organize, but once the plans are made, we’ll have to enlist others to help.  Fundraising is a make-or-break thing for us, so we’ll need almost everyone involved in some way.  And to get our message out, we’ll need a core of people to represent us at public Events.  But those things will develop as we go along.  The least sexy Group, Landscape and Grounds, had one person attend, namely me.

We did have some leaders emerge from the meetings.  Amy Caviness and Virginia Dameron are now administrators of our Facebook page, so we can begin to develop more content, and push for more followers.  Angie Bloss will serve as our Event Coordinator.  She has an ambitious list of event to attend this summer and fall.  We plan to attend our first event, PrideFest, in June; more details soon.  And Gina Carnahan has been actively pursuing options for the renovation.

As I said at the meetings, these Groups are a work in progress, and we can adjust them as needed.  Reflecting on the first round, I’d like to propose a few changes.

* Merge the Landscape and Grounds Group with the Renovation Advisory Group, into a single “Facility Group”, charged with decisions relating to the building, including the grounds.

* Merge the Events Group and the Outreach Programs Group into a single group, “Outreach”.  Though there are differences between public events like Dogtoberfest, and programs like taking dogs to visit retirement homes, they are both focused on reaching out into the community.

* We may eventually need to do some rearranging or consolidation to boost Fundraising, but we’ll see how it develops.

As we enter the second round of meetings, I look forward to moving from generalities into specifics.  We’ll be coming up with forms and procedures, making decisions on building design, choosing online fundraising sites and event… a lot of important stuff.  Thanks for your work so far!

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