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Volunteers can have a huge impact on your organization if you start with a solid foundation and continue a consistent volunteer engagement strategy. These free courses will give you the building blocks to a successful volunteer program, as well as teach you how to maintain an existing one.   


  • Creating a Culture of Engagement with Staff and Volunteers - Imagine an environment where staff and volunteers work together seamlessly to meet the needs and advance the mission of your organization. This module is designed to help you: understand what a Culture of Engagement is, understand how a culture of engagement would benefit your organization, recognize some of the common challenges organizations experience when working to develop a Culture of Engagement, have ideas to help you overcome the challenges, and develop an action plan for building a Culture of Engagement.
  • Foundations of Volunteer Engagement - In the rush to engage volunteers in our mission, we often forget to do a very important task: Plan for them. When you're having a party you need to figure out the details: Where will it be held? Who will you invite? What food will you serve? How will you make sure everyone is having a good time? You need to do the same thing when you are building a volunteer program. This learning module will help you do that planning. Your volunteers, and staff, will thank you!
  • Implementing Social Change with Volunteers- Volunteers are dedicated and passionate about our organizations' missions when it comes to social change and new procedures we cannot leave them out of the conversation. In this module you will learn how to implement progressive social changes, ideas and protocols in animal welfare with your volunteer program. 
  • Skills Based Volunteer Engagement - This module is designed to help you start and complete projects that will use Skills Based Volunteers (SBV) to benefit your organization, staff, community and the animals in your care. By the end of the course, you should be ready to plan for such projects; communicate with, train and support SBVs in your area; and develop ways to show your appreciation for these generous individuals. Using SBVs in a targeted way can help you build capacity for all the mission-driven programs your organization wants to offer.

Download iconPLAYBOOKS

  • Animal Transport Volunteer Playbook- This manual was written specifically for use by Best Friends Animal Society. Please feel free to tailor the content to suit your organization's unique requirements.
  • Kitten Foster Manual- Best Friends' kitten foster care manual has information on preparing for, bringing home and caring for a foster kitten to prepare him or her for a forever home. This manual was written specifically for use by Best Friends in Utah. Please feel free to tailor content to suit your individual organization's unique requirements.
  • Volunteer Program Overview- This playbook provides a general understanding of how to implement a robust volunteer program or enhance an existing program at your organization. Let’s be honest: You’ve never heard someone at a shelter, rescue group or animal welfare agency say, “We have too much staff” (or help). That’s because most agencies recognize that with more staff or help, they can likely do more, and that’s where volunteer programming comes in. This is one community engagement–based initiative that is an instrumental component to saving more animals in every community, and relevant whether the organization is a municipal agency or a 501(c)(3), and whether you run a brick-and-mortar shelter or a rescue group with no facility. Well-run volunteer programs can exponentially increase the community’s involvement with the shelter, the shelter's workforce and its capacity for care of the animals.

You can find additional information on volunteers here