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1) Do Your Research and Preliminary Planning
In the excitement of starting something new, it’s tempting to rush through this first step. But energy invested in research and planning early on saves the time in mistakes later.

  • Know the basics. If you don’t have a business background, reading a single book on nonprofit management can make a world of difference. (Most local libraries have books on the subject.) Talking with knowledgeable people, visiting other successful organizations, and attending workshops or seminars can help to give you a rounded perspective. As you meet and talk with others in the humane movement, you’ll also be developing a valuable support network of colleagues.

  • Be informed about the issues.

    Keep up with recent developments by talking with other humane organizations, attending conferences, and subscribing to animal-related periodicals and publications for animal welfare professionals. It’s uplifting and energizing to learn about new ideas and meet other like-minded individuals.

    Learn as much as you can about the newest animal care standards. Your organization sets an example for the public. Sign up to receive Alley Cat Allies’ Feral Cat Activist for access to latest information on stray and feral cats. It’s also important to know your limits. Be prepared to refer people to experts – veterinarians, behaviorists, and Alley Cat Allies – for issues that are beyond your abilities or understanding.

    • What are the feral cat concerns in your community? 
    • How can you best address them?
    • How do local shelters address feral cat needs?
    • What is the greatest need or resource most lacking?
    • Are there other local organizations working on feral cat concerns? Are they potential friends or foes?
    • What are others in the feral cat movement doing across the country? Are there ways to network or share information?

Next Step: Write Your Mission Statement and Set Your Goals