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Board Members

Janelle Dixon, Chair, Animal Humane Society

Lisa LaFontaine, Vice Chair, Washington Humane Society

Anne Reed, Secretary, Wisconsin Humane Society

Jodi Lytle Buckman, Treasurer, ASPCA

Sharon Harmon, Past Chair, Oregon Humane Society

Madeline Bernstein, SPCA-Los Angeles

Sharon Harvey, Cleveland Animal Protective League

Mary Jarvis, Washington Animal Rescue League

Betsy McFarland, Humane Society of the United States

Shelly Moore, Humane Society of Charlotte

Gary Tiscornia, SPCA for Monterey County

Dr. Gary Weitzman, San Diego Humane Society & SPCA

Leslie Yoder, CO Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies


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Mentoring Program


The Board of Directors of NFHS adopted the 2020 Vision and appointed the Strategic Planning / 2020 Vision Committee to prepare a strategic plan that would provide the road map for how the organization would pursue the realization of the vision and how it would work with other organizations, both on a national and a local level, to achieve the goal of the plan.  That goal is "To unite the animal welfare industry and engage communities in homing every healthy and treatable animal entering an animal care facility on a nationwide basis by the year 2020".

The NFHS has numerous member organizations that have achieved notable success in reducing the euthanasia rates in their own communities.  Several of them have successfully ended the loss of life of healthy homeless animals and are working toward achieving that success for treatable animals as well.   These organizations are well positioned to provide support and advice to other organizations in other communities to help them increase their effectiveness.

An essential element of the achievement of the 2020 Vision is the willingness of organizations and communities that are having limited success in life saving to change in order to undertake those policies, programs and services that have yielded verifiable results in terms of higher community-wide live release rates.  A major asset of the Federation is the knowledge and experience of our member organizations, a number of which have pioneered successful programs to end pet overpopulation in their communities. 

NFHS has a crucial role in passing along to other communities the necessary understanding of the strategic elements that have produced life saving success in those communities where a commitment has been made and programs implemented and results have been achieved.  We as a Federation, through our members, can provide the support to make these needed changes.

Outline of Mentor Activities and Commitments

Commitments of Mentors:

    1. To ensure that Mentor's staff, board members and volunteers are willing to participate actively and generously in the Mentoring relationship,
    2. To commit the time to analyze the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the Mentee and cooperatively create a plan for providing the appropriate support for the Mentee to grow and become more successful and well managed,
    3. To appoint a senior management person (Contact) who will serve as the Mentor's primary contact for the Mentee and who will coordinate, schedule and facilitate the results oriented communications between appropriate persons in the Mentor and Mentee organizations.

 Summary of Mentoring relationship:

    1. Mentors and Mentees will be assigned with an eye to matching organizations that face similar challenges and perform similar roles in similar communities.  The committee will do its best to match organizations which the committee believes will have good "chemistry" in terms of overall goals and expectations.  It will be expected that the relationship will last for no less than a year and may last as long as the participants feel a need. 
    2. While the Federation is not in a position to provide funding for the relationship, it recognizes that it would be advantageous for the partners to meet at least once face to face and to visit each other's facilities. 
    3. Mentee will appoint one senior level manager as its Contact to work and communicate directly with Mentor's Contact.  They will facilitate communications between their respective staff members, board members and volunteers where such communication will be productive for the Mentee.  To assure the most benefit from the relationship, Mentee's Contact will provide information to the Mentor so that the Mentor can gain a full understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, challenges and needs of the Mentee and its community.  Contacts for the Mentors and Mentees should take the lead in mutually determining the topics about which discussion and advice are most needed.  The Mentoring committee will also provide a representative to participate in the initial relationship discussion.  Contact for the Mentor will conscientiously make themselves available to the Mentee to provide support and advice in a timely manner when contacted by Mentee and will reach out to the Mentee on a regular basis to foster a collegial relationship.
    4. The Mentoring committee representative designated to facilitate the relationship will work with both parties to establish realistic goals for the relationship and to create achievable milestone timelines to measure progress towards the established goals.


Topics about which support and guidance may be provided includes but is not limited to:

a.   Receiving or admissions philosophies, polices or implementation strategies

b.   Relationships and divisions of duties between private humane organizations and public animal control agencies

c.   Affordable or No cost, and targeted high volume spay/neuter programs

d.   Creation and maintenance of fostering networks and foster to surrender programs

e.   Behavior helpline programs

f.    Pet retention programs

g.   Community Outreach activities and media messaging including promotion of adoptions, sterilization, etc.

h.   Community based fundraising in major gifts, direct mail, events, and planned giving

i.    The importance of volunteers, their training and engagement

j.    Data collection, evaluation and reporting (internal & external)

k.   Using data to establish baselines and measure progress

l.    Transparency

m.  Board development and engagement

n.   Best Practices


Program Details

  1. A relationship plan outline will be developed for use by mentoring partners when establishing the relationship which will clearly and definitively state the goals, objectives, timelines, milestones, baselines, changes over time.  This outline should be used as a guide to key information to be included but should not dictate the methods.  The final report form will require feedback to the relationship facilitator and through them to the NFHS Mentoring Committee.
  2. In conjunction with the relationship plan outline, the NFHS Mentoring committee will create a simple one page measuring tool of goals, milestones with which the facilitator and participants can assess progress
    1. Adopting and using a reporting format is the key tool necessary for measuring progress.  It is expected that each Mentee is using or will develop and use one reporting format to track progress towards established goals. 
  3. Identify expectations, time commitments and goals for the relationship


Mentor Requirements

 1.      Mentors are selected based on one or more of the following criteria the committee believes are essential elements of successful organizations;

    1. Proven record of collaboration in partner relationships
    2. Significant improvement in live release rates over time
    3. Live release rates well above average
    4. Effectiveness in community engagement & fundraising (i.e. Charity Navigator rating of 3 or more stars)
    5. Stability of leadership
    6. Record for program sustainability over time
    7. Demonstrated philosophy consistent with the NFHS' 2020 Vision
    8. Mentors self identified "strongest attributes"

 2.       The National Federation's Executive Director or a Mentoring committee designee will oversee each Mentoring relationship, act as the facilitator and report to the committee on progress via phone on a monthly or quarterly basis.  The NFHS Executive Director or a designee will provide the relationship documentation for the committee to monitor.


Mentee Requirements. 

  1. Complete a Mentee application
  2. NFHS members will be given priority for program participation
  3. Participating in the Mentoring program is a benefit of NFHS membership.  Mentees will be required to join the National Federation of Humane Societies if they are not already a member. 
    1. A special membership rate has been established by the Board of Directors to allow any organization to participate in the Mentoring program regardless of resources.  This will be explained once an application has been received.
  4. Once an application has been received, the potential Mentee will work with the NFHS Executive Director to identify needs or perceived needs of the Mentee organization
  5. The Mentoring committee will then evaluate the application and needs assessment to identify an appropriate Mentor to be engaged in the relationship


"There is a strong voice for animals when we all speak as one"(c)

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