Proven Strategies

Woman in gray shirt with brown brindle dog licking her face

Using transparency to empower and support your community

Community-supported sheltering is a popular term in our industry right now. Navigating the intersection between the role of shelters, field services, government, and the public can be complicated. An integral part of a successful community-supported sheltering model is building trust with your community through transparency.  

During this town hall, panelists from three organizations varying in size and location will discuss how they increased collaboration with their community by being transparent and maximizing community resources. They will share examples of how they were able to empower and support the public using effective communication strategies. 

Moderator: Michelle Dosson, Executive Director of Best Friends in Utah (Salt Lake City program) 


  • Renee Gutierrez, Solano County (Fairfield, CA) 
  • Jon Gary, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare (Oklahoma City, OK) 
  • Debra Griggs, Animal Resources of Tidewater (Norfolk, VA) 

Best Friends offers our condolences for the loss of Debra Griggs.

Time Stamps:

  • What is community-supported sheltering- 7:25
  • Transparency on social media- 9:22
  • Transparency in the shelter- 13:09
  • Effective communication strategies- 17:18
  • Engaging & empowering the public- 26:27
  • Field Services engaging with the community- 27:20
  • Collaboration between rescue organizations, shelters, and community- 30:42
  • Working with friends of groups and their relationship with your shelter- 41:14
  • What is the impact of this shift in terms of transparency & collaboration with your community to increase lifesaving?- 45:03
  • Live Q&A
    • How to use daily report cards on social media- is it time consuming or do you find detractors using them against you?- 49:34
    • How do you align your staff on new programming or messaging related to challenges your organization is facing?- 53:42
    • Who reviews your SOPs or protocols?- 55:05
  • Final thoughts from the panelists- 57:40


Check out our other upcoming training events

Community-supported sheltering information

Community-supported sheltering: Aligning all stakeholders in the welfare of animals in your community, town hall

Community-supported sheltering free online course

How to encourage community support and save the lives of animals in shelters, vlog

Community engagement strategies (from Humane Animal Control manual)

Engage with intention, editorial

Policies, procedures, and the importance of writing them down, editorial

Tips on getting your shelter's SOPs in shape, program spotlight

Humane Animal Control Manual

Reimagining field services: Helping people and pets in Sacramento, The Best Friends Podcast

Sample workplace culture agreement

How to build a strong partnership, program spotlight

OKC Animal Welfare report card example

If you enjoyed this town hall, you can find our complete catalog here.