Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 04-14-2022 04:58 PM

    Hi - we are a foster-based rescue in Southern California. We have 100-140 animals at most times and the majority are in foster. Some fosters have a mom with puppies or kittens and some have more than one animal, so we average about 50 fosters at a time. We also have transporters, dog walkers, and other volunteers that help.

    Communicating with everyone is a bit of a nightmare. For fosters, we try to get them to use a portal for requests (care, food, training, etc), but once they know the phone numbers of those of us who coordinate things, many default to that.

    We use a program called SamePage with different groups - one for transporters, one for fosters, and so on - where we can have private chats as well as post within the group. Some fosters post pictures, update their animal's bio, etc. We use this for notifications regarding events, such as our bimonthly virtual adoption event. But, some people don't use it. 

    Some only want phone calls, some only emails, some only texts, etc. It's a nightmare to manage items that need to be completed when they can be in one of many places or sent to one of many people.

    How do you all manage communication with your volunteers and fosters?  What programs do you use?  I was wondering if one of the email programs, such as Constant Contact, allowed for push SMS notifications. That way we could notify everyone of upcoming events, for example.

    Thanks for reading :-).


    Ann Battenfield
    Senior Team Member

  • 2.  RE: Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 04-15-2022 07:29 AM
    Hi Ann,

    We use Constant Contact and it's been a great communication tool. We have different email lists for different groups. We have two locations, a large foster program and very large volunteer program, as well as donors and a general list for any community member wanting the general updates and info about what we have going on.  There are several of us that manage the different lists depending on our roles and duties. Some of our lists have 7000+ emails and some are much smaller and have 200 emails. It is such a great way to communicate. I hold all of our orientations and I set the precedent for how communication will work. I let them know that our main way of communication is via email since we don't have the bandwidth to do many individual calls, etc. I make sure that our volunteers, fosters, etc. are very clear in how we operate and communicate. Once that precedent has been set I think it's a lot easier to get everyone on board. I think the more an organization can set very clear and professional guidelines the more easier you get supporters to follow suit.

    Let me know if you have any questions about Constant Contact. It's worth using for sure!

    Erin Ellis
    Community Engagement Director
    Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe

    Foster Program & Volunteer Management Specialist

  • 3.  RE: Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 04-15-2022 10:37 AM

    Hi Erin - we use MailChimp for all of our marketing communications - we have multiple lists for various groups also, and they vary in size. For now, however, all are marketing only.  I was going to see if they have push notification SMS capability, but haven't, yet. 

    What you do with your orientation and clarity about communication vehicles is my version of heaven. We're not there, yet, for a variety of reasons :-). 

    Ann Battenfield
    Senior Team Member

  • 4.  RE: Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 04-16-2022 10:36 AM
    Thank you very much for your work. It's very valuable

    Emelly Kolonko

  • 5.  RE: Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 04-16-2022 01:08 PM
    Hi Ann, 

    We use Facebook alot, we have a group for fosters and volunteers.  Many of the fosters just send messages via FB.  We still use email too.  But getting everyone on the same page is hard.  We did start using Better Impact for our volunteers the begining of the year and I like it so far and are thinking of using it for fosters as well.  With this you can send emails and texts to one person, 20 people or all.  It is a paid program but does the job.


    amber francisco

  • 6.  RE: Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 04-17-2022 04:58 AM
    Hi Ann.  On Doobert, with our Fosterspace module, you can send AND RECEIVE unlimited text messages since we assign every organization their own phone number.  You can send group messages (i.e. to all dog fosters) and even use tags to determine which people to send to.  You can also SCHEDULE your messages and even make them recurring.  Lots of capabilities and more coming.  Happy Easter.

    Chris Roy
    CEO, Doobert

  • 7.  RE: Technology - chat, discussion, text - with fosters and volunteers

    Posted 05-04-2022 07:13 AM
    we use an app called alo, which can be used on your phone or a desktop. it turns your vm into texts that can be shared across a team of people- and when you write back,- or even call back- they get the message from that shared number, NOT an individual. even cooler, it will translate into different languages too if need be- which can be great for fosters and adoption candidates.

    it will beep when a new message comes through- you can make it a task, comment between the team or reply back. there are also templates for quick responses so you just type in volunteer- and the template that tells people how to volunteer ops up and you send.

    it also acts as a walkie talkie if you want to have a quick voice communication (you should probably only do this when on the clock/ at work otherwise when someone's computer or phone just starts talking to them from thin air it can be funny (and weird)!

    this way all communication is plainly shared, no one has to give up their own number or private's saved us SO MUCH TIME and energy- especially as just about every call can be responded to quickly and without a 15 minute conversation where nothing gets accomplished (potential adopters for example). we can't live without it.

    Jme thomas