Best Friends Shelter Outreach Mentorship Program

Best Friends Shelter Outreach Mentorship Program

Want to achieve your group’s lifesaving goals even faster? Take part in Best Friends’ mentorship program.

Best Friends has always believed that collaboration is key to making the country no-kill, and that’s why we’ve launched an exciting new mentorship program. Through the program, network partners can connect one-on-one with Best Friends experts to get personalized help in a wide variety of areas. You can take your marketing or fundraising skills to the next level, enhance your organization’s animal care program, and so much more.

We will be adding more opportunities so check back or contact your Network specialist to apply to be part of the program today! 

You can explore the current opportunities available below.

Public Relations


Cat Enrichment

  • Enrichment is important for every animal, including cats. When you give the cats in your care the enrichment they need, you’re helping to keep them physically and mentally stimulated and healthy. An enriching environment reduces stress, which helps cats to stay healthy, thrive and find homes even sooner. Learn more about creating an enriching environment for the felines in your organization or foster home.

FIV+ Cats

  • Cats with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) can get a bad rap. But the truth is, these cats can live long, healthy lives, and they can live happily with other cats, too. Learn about some of the FIV misnomers, get the tools you need to teach the people in your community about FIV, and learn how to help FIV positive cats get adopted even sooner.

Safe Handling

  • Safe handling is an essential skill that everyone who works with cats should have. When you safely care for cats, you prevent injuries to yourself and others, and reduce stress for the cats, helping them to stay happy and healthy. Learn about safe handling and cats with one-on-one coaching from Best Friends’ cat expert.


Animal Bios/Adoption Profiles

  • Language can be a very powerful tool. After all, it can help pets find their forever homes! When you write an animal bio, it needs to be honest, yet enticing to draw in potential adopters. A pet bio should help paint a picture, describing an animal’s challenges, quirks and any other unique or endearing quality he or she may have. Get the help you need crafting animal biographies for all the pets in your care from Best Friends’ expert copywriters.

Digital Writing-fundraising/engagement emails, web ads and/or website copy

  • In today’s digital age, it can be difficult to capture and hold people’s attention so that they become invested in your organization. Get the digital writing help you need from one of our experts. Improve your fundraising and engagement emails, web ads and web pages, and more.

Fundraising/Stewardship Writing

  • Perhaps one of the most important areas of writing for a nonprofit organization is fundraising writing. Appeals and other pieces that ask for donations can garner the money you need to save animals’ lives. Improve your appeal-writing skills and grow your donor base with the help of Best Friends’ copywriters. Get advice on how to write better:
    • Mail and email appeals
    • Seasonal and other campaigns
    • Impact and annual reports
    • Stewardship/thank-you letters

General communications: Writing for audience, purpose and medium

  • When you begin writing a piece, no matter what it is, it’s crucial to know your audience, purpose and medium. For example, are you writing to donors or volunteers? Are you writing an email or posting to social media? Are you asking for donations or trying to find more foster homes? Learn the building blocks of writing to help your organization more effectively communicate and grow.

Print and online marketing materials (fliers, ads, etc.) and Social Media Posts

  • Want to make your organization stand out? Create captivating marketing materials! Work one-on-one with a Best Friends’ copywriter to learn about brand awareness, how to create marketing materials that’ll increase adoptions and more.

Teaching, training and curriculum development

  • What’s at the heart of a successful animal welfare organization? A good team, of course. Learn how to more effectively communicate with staff members, volunteers and more, to help your organization to run smoothly. Learn to:
    • Create better training materials for staff members (handouts, handbooks, guidelines, talking points and presentations, online resources, etc.)
    • Craft materials for new adopters
    • Create training materials for volunteers
    • Write informational and educational web pages, news releases and social media posts for the public
    • Create an online reference library


Effectively and efficiently utilizing data

  • If you’re with a shelter or rescue group already using an animal management system, this program will give you the knowledge to perfect data entry and fully utilize your current system. You will:
    • Find out if your data is being tracked effectively and efficiently
    • Learn how to analyze data and use the No-Kill Calculator
    • Learn to use Shelter Animals Count
    • Understand live release rate and save rate calculations, and determine the best to use for your organization
    • Learn how to analyze your data to understand your organization’s impact on the community.

Implementing data tracking

  • If you’re with a shelter or rescue group that does not use a formal animal management system to track intakes and outcomes, this program will teach you the importance of using a formal system and help you determine where to start. You will:
    • Evaluate existing software systems available or establish a basic tracking system in-house if a full software system is not needed (if you have a small number of intakes and outcomes)
    • Learn to use Shelter Animals Count
    • Understand live release rate and save rate calculations
    • Learn how to analyze your data to understand your organization’s impact on the community.


Benefits for Corporate Donations

  • Engaging corporations to support your organization’s lifesaving work is key to a diversified funding portfolio. This program will help you become an expert in building relationships, getting corporate event sponsorship, and creating benefits for business donors to ensure their commitment to your organization.


  • Become a fundraising expert with the help of one-on-one coaching. A Best Friends’ specialist will assess how your organization’s current fundraising opportunities, help you to grow them and then help you identify other fundraising options like event sponsorship, peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate engagement, direct mail and stewardship and more.

Public Relations

What makes an interesting story and how do you pitch it?

  • Luckily for us, people love animal stories. But how do you get your story out there? We’ll take a look at what types of stories have media appeal, why great images are so important, and how to get it all in front of the right media contacts.

Leveraging your communications

  • Do you know the difference between a press release and a media alert? We’ll explore various forms of communications that yield the best results and learn how to transform a new media relationship into an organizational resource.

Your ideal spokesperson

  • Is your organization ready to talk no-kill? We’ll talk about characteristics of the ideal spokesperson, the art of the pivot, and ways to create effective talking points and shape the no-kill movement through the language you use.

Animals and TV: What you need for a successful shoot

  • We’ve all seen memorable TV segments with adorable animals. And while it often looks easy, there are a few tricks to the trade that will set you up for success. From discerning who makes a good “TV pet” to doing test runs and harnessing cats, we’ll take a look at everything you need for a successful shoot.