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Tip of the Week: One for Good Measure

January 2, 2023, The Association

The first tip of the year focuses on an issue that’s on top of everyone’s mind. How can we measure the impact of our work as we shift to a focus on community services that keep people and pets together?

For the last two decades, the field has diligently asked people to spay, neuter, and adopt pets to reduce the homeless pet population. Now, a new message centered around trust and keeping pets and people together is gaining traction—and particularly those people and pets in the community who have been underserved. But what’s the most effective way of communicating this message—and the best way to quantify the impact of your community-centric work?

In Breaking Down Resistance: Convincing Animal Lovers to Give to People, a webinar hosted by The Association last fall, Michigan Humane’s CEO, Matt Pepper, shared some of the new metrics the metro Detroit organization has been looking at.

“We have to measure success differently,” says Pepper. “If you were to ask how many adoptions were done and what our Live Release Rate is… I don’t know. I do want to know if we are seeing true quality-of-life indicators in the community. I want to know how we can quantify the value of our services from a health and economic perspective.”

To that end, Michigan Humane has developed Humane Community Metric Outputs that reflect the answers to such questions as:

  • How many individual families do we touch with our work?
  • Are we changing health indicators? By promoting pet ownership, are less people ending up with heart disease? Are we seeing more people socializing?
  • Can we reduce crime in communities by offering safe spaces for pets where local pet owners can engage?
  • How many students do we touch in career pathways from a diversity perspective, both in veterinary medicine and social services?
  • Can we attract and retain more talent in companies that incorporate animal-friendly practices?

Are you asking—and answering—these sorts of questions at your organization? What would you add to the list?

Learn More

Recorded Webinar: Convincing Animal Lovers to Give to People
Tip of the Week: High-Volume TNR Program Interest Group
Tip of the Week: Increasing Your Flexibility
Tip of the Week: It’s Nice To Share (Especially if it’s Easy)

Photo: Michigan Humane/Facebook

About The Association
The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is a cohort of leaders on a mission to champion, advance, and unify the animal welfare profession.
  1. I think both measuring quality of life among the communities served and measuring what happens within the walls of a shelter are equally important. There is no room to wiggle around current kill rates. Regardless of how many local resident dog owners may suffer reduced heart disease (and how do shelters ever quantify success upon such an intangible?) the harsh reality is that if healthy dogs are bring killed in shelters then both community and shelter are not successful enough to pat each other on the back. Of all times in the history of shelter existence when this country is killing more companion pets than ever. is not the time for back patting and warm fuzzy feel good proposals. At the end of the day what counts is how many dogs and cats are killed for lack of homes. Maybe if we put legal pressure on backyard breeders, enforce spay/neuter laws and get shelters to open their doors to the public full time we could all feel good a out something related to current shelter stats. But please don’t whitewash the ugly facts that more dogs are
    being killed daily than in the past decade. All the owner surrenders while shelters are not opening doors to the public and low cost spay appointments require a 4 month or longer wait list. Let’s do the real work of reform before we think up reasons to ceebrate.

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