Volunteers are our lifeblood. Without the helping hands of so many people, we wouldn't exist and 100 hounds a year would not get saved and given a new chance at life.
Whether you have an hour a week to give or 40 hours a week, we have opportunities for you to help. Some duties can be shared. Some jobs involve a few weeks of intensive support work. Some are just 'help on the day' and don't involve any ongoing commitment. If you volunteer for us, you are not committing yourself forever. Try it for a while and if you're not enjoying it, let us know - we'll be glad for whatever you can do for us!
Volunteer Application Form (click on text)
Some of our current volunteer positions (those that are vacant don't have a name next to them) are:
Adoption Application Interviewer - Fran Madden - always need more helpers!
Fran Madden does phone interviews (she has a new assistant, Suzanne Kane) and she is also one of our team of home visitors - we have some, but always need more!
All new adoption applicants must go through an approval process. If they have owned a basset hound before this is often done by phone. First-time basset owners almost always get a home visit, so the interviewer can take their own basset hound with them and give the applicant a taste of what life with a basset can be like. Phone and home interviewers have a report form to complete, so you know what questions to ask, but the answers often come out in normal conversation anyway. The main reason for the interview is to provide a two-way conversation so the applicant has all their questions answered and is prepared for the arrival of their forever hound. Physical home checks can help identify hazards to a basset - broken or unsafe fencing, safety hazards in the yard or home, counter cruising dangers or home layout issues. The pivotal question is at the end of the form. Would you be happy leaving YOUR basset in the care of this applicant? We need multiple volunteers to do these checks, which can be split geographically to limit traveling if a physical check is needed and to provide local knowledge if a phone interview is sufficient (and who knows when a phone interview may raise questions that the interviewer feels needs a visit to check out). Phone interviewers are also encouraged to use Google maps for visual support of address location, identification of pools, fences, type of housing, etc.
Microchip Manager - Sally Mitchell for new microchips (position still vacant for existing microchip issues)
Two functions -
Special Event Organizers - LOTS OF OPENINGS - especially a dedicated organizer/team for our annual auction and dinner event, Howl at the Moon, and annual Parade - The Novato Waddle
We hold several large fundraising events each year. The Waddle on the 4th of July in Novato and our Howl at the Moon Silent (and online) Auction and Dinner event in October. The Waddle is well-established and we have the preparation almost sorted out, but there is more to do! The set up on the day is nearly always stressful... there is so much to do in those last few days related to registration, and we always need volunteers to help out. Before the day, we need liaison folk to work with other vendors who may want space at the event, making sure they have the correct permits with the City of Novato, and with donors who want to donate items for the Goody Bags, and the Grand Raffle and Auction Tables. Gloria Tannehill-Carlsen works with the City to get our space and permits and can advise on how to comply with their rules. She also has to coordinate the truck and flatbed trailers that form the 'Pooped Pup Truck', and organize their pick up and relocation to a convenient local field, and from there to the Parade staging area - that bit needs someone local to Novato to help her. Gwen Dossey is our Fundraising Coordinator, who is in charge of the raffle and auction, and the goody bags for the Waddlers, soliciting prizes and donations. WE NEED A WADDLE VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR! Volunteers are always needed - Maybe take on some of the clerical tasks that need to be finalized to get the registration and t-shirt stations ready (Addy Dawes' responsibilities), be early at Marion Park Baseball Field to help set up the stations and EZUp shade canopies, staff those stations and the Raffle, Chinese Auction, TShirt Sales and Food Booths, and liaise with other vendors who may join us on-site about where to set up. Volunteers would have a lot of experienced Waddlers to work with!! You don't have to be local to Novato to help out, but it will help with some of the key volunteer duties.
The Howl at the Moon event needs volunteers to form an event committee. We have some good souls who step forward every year, so we do have a few already... some of the volunteers would work on gathering, cataloging, photographing, researching values and storing items donated (we have a storage unit in Fremont for this). Also marketing the event. People with local contacts could promote locally, but even if you are out of the area but have contacts in the media, that would help. We can pay for limited marketing/advertising, but not a lot! Getting people to the live event is key, so anyone with connections to local groups who may support a charity event like this is needed. We can work out a deal with local hotels if we can persuade people that this is worth traveling for. We have now introduced an online pre-auction element to the night. The people cataloging the items available would be able to post items to the online auction site. We would close the online element a few days before the live event, so we need people to take those final bids off the internet and create bid sheets to reflect those minimum bids. Not all items will go to the online segment, and only a few items go from the online to the live event. We need to reserve a couple of star items to attract personal attendees. We have a Grand Prize Raffle every year at the auction. We need people to sell tickets, to ensure that online raffle ticket sales are entered into the draw in advance and new sales on the night are added accurately. We need proxy bidders, who will look after the items that absent bidders have set their heart on. On the night we need help with advance registration and entry ticket sales, sale of grand raffle tickets, preparation of the room, food, bar. Help closing tables. Help to gather winning bids and ensuring these are correctly completed. For collecting the items won and processing the bids for payment. For clearing up at the end of the night..., etc. etc.
Newsletter - Laura Alvarez
We want to issue a member newsletter 4 times a year. We send out emails highlighting events and fundraisers, with no bandwidth left for the fun stuff and 'inside news' targeted at members. We need someone who can use our Constant Contact email client (easy, I promise) to compile an interesting newsletter for our members. Most of the content would be provided to you, but you would be free to add interesting snippets of info, jokes, etc. The newsletter usually contains a 'Letter from the President', upcoming events, obituaries for hounds who have passed to the Bridge, thank yous to major donors, highlighted success stories re adoptions, etc. A lot of the content will come from the website or from the Board members and you would have artistic license to select appropriate templates, add photos, etc. to create something beautiful!
Online Store Manager -
We have a small online store. This volunteer would hold the inventory, receive the order info and complete the orders, and ship the items as soon as possible. GGBR, of course, reimburses all shipping costs. The Manager could post new items if you can find them. We have a small marketing budget for buying items that you think could bring in a profit, or be useful to our members. The volunteer would maintain the inventory, adjusting this online as items are sold. Waddle shirts are added each year and supplies leftover are sold at a discounted price in the store. We now have a source for embroidering logos on clothing and other items. This can remain a small operation, or grow in the right hands. Whoever does this job would need to keep records of sales so that we can pay over any necessary sales tax. It's a fun place and gives us the opportunity to provide our useful and recommended supplies to our adopters and supporters.
Zazzle Account Manager -
We have a Zazzle Store with lots of good stuff already in there. However, this needs someone who can create fun stuff for people to buy and/or personalize. You need to visit the store to see what's there now, and then think, what images would I like to see on that mug, tshirt, keychain, greeting card, etc. The design side of the store is VERY easy to use, but the Zazzle volunteer would also be expected to promote the store, either by submitting content for putting on our website, or into a newsletter. Zazzle has some cool tools for spreading the word! Purchasers buy direct from Zazzle and we get up to 27% of the sales back as a donation. It's a very easy way for us to raise funds as it costs us nothing except the effort of the store manager to create the content and encourage people to shop!
eBay/Missionfish Account Manager - Jessica Dickson
We have a MissionFish account, and our own EBay store... so we can either post our own items for sale, or others can post items and identify GGBR as the recipient of a sum that they determine from their sale. We all know that EBay can be a lucrative business if we find the right items to post there. This volunteer would be able to find the items, resell if necessary, we can pass on items that didn't get bids or meet the reserve price at the auction, begin to earn an approval rating and see where it goes. Also to encourage others to post items and name us as beneficiary. It's something we just don't have time to look at and work at to see if it's worth our effort. Anyone already experienced with EBay who wants to give it a go?
Online Forms Manager - Fran Madden
This position reviews forms that are submitted online and gives guidance on the need for a home check visit, or phone interview and alerts GGBR officials if the application is not progressing, or if there are issues to check urgently.
Online Forms Admins - Fran Madden and Donna Lim - A DEDICATED VOLUNTEER WOULD BE GREAT and relieve Fran and Donna so they can get on with their other tasks.
This volunteer(s) would work with the Online Forms Manager (OFM) and the Board Members to review forms for content, action, clearing old forms, following up with people who applied a while ago to see if they still want to adopt etc. Basically, try to keep our online forms list down to manageable levels. The OFM can concentrate on the new forms while the admins would work from the bottom up. Changing the status of a form and making notes that reflect the updates. Occasionally, people get 'left behind' as we move on to new applications while we are 'waiting home visit' or 'under review' and by the time we notice that the form is still outstanding, the applicants have either adopted elsewhere or given up on us... it's good customer service to be attentive to them and by having a team of admins vetting and re-vetting the forms, we should improve even further our 'good customer service' status.
Animal Admins - Sally Mitchell & Cindy Marsh
In the same way as we would like to keep our application forms updated and current, we need to make sure our animal records are also complete. We are moving towards keeping a lot more data on our animal record. At the moment, we set up the animal purely to get the hound, the vital statistics and the bio/photos onto the website so they can be posted to PetFinder and lots of other such sites. What we want to do is make sure that record also holds the name and location of the current foster home (or owner), the microchip number, which vet the dog sees, any health problems, vaccination record... has the dog had its vaccinations brought up to date, had the rabies, had a heartworm test, had a fecal test etc.? Any behavior issues? There are fields, behind the scenes, only visible to admins and volunteers, where this info can be stored and it means that when the hound is adopted, Gloria has all the info she needs at her fingertips, so she can process the adoption through our database and ensure microchip registration. She knows who to contact for the vet records if they didn't get sent to her promptly. She knows where the dog is, in case we need to arrange a transport etc. She knows if it's feasible for the prospective adopter to meet the dog prior to adoption. It would involve the volunteer being very precise with record keeping and making contact with foster homes and owners to fill in the missing items and encouraging the submission of the hard copies by mail to Gloria at the PO Box address. We have volunteers who work closely with surrendering owners and the foster homes, but there is always something missing and another set of eyes filling in the gaps would be great.
Rainbow Bridge Admin -
This volunteer would look after the tributes that people send us when their basset has passed away. If we hear of such a sad event, we would invite the bereaved owners to submit a story for this page - some people want to do so immediately, and some need time, and some can never commit their feelings to paper or to appear on a website. If we receive a story, the admin would verify that the owner does intend the story to appear online. We welcome Rainbow Bridge stories for any bassets, whether or not they were rescued through GGBR (or the Northern California Basset Hound Club previously) - If it's a basset or basset mix and the owners want to share their dog's life story, then we are happy to honor the hound in this way.
These are some positions that already have volunteers assigned... but please contact Addy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help in that role - sometimes there is need for a back up or assistant to share the load!
Foster Coordinator - Sally Mitchell
Our foster homes are distributed throughout Northern California. This role involves putting out alerts to the foster list when we get a dog that needs a foster home. Work with the foster home to take possession of the dog and guide the foster home in essential care of the intake and record keeping whilst in their care. Deal with foster homes' questions and concerns.
Home Visit Coordinator - Tina Benson
The function of the Home Visit Coordinator is to check the new applications on the web site at least twice a week, and to assign home visits or phone interviews to appropriate volunteers. It will also be the Home Visit Coordinator’s job to follow up with the volunteers to make sure that the applicants have been contacted and that they are not unnecessarily waiting for their visit or interview, and to assign a new volunteer, if necessary, to get the job done.
Shelter Liaison - Fran Madden
This involves working with all the animal control organizations, humane societies, shelters etc. across Northern California. Most of these organizations post lost/found dogs and adoptable dogs on PetHarbor. This volunteer contacts them and alerts them that GGBR will take the basset hound into rescue if they don't want to place the dog for adoption themselves. The volunteer then works closely with the foster coordinator to find somewhere for the dog to go.
Transport Coordinator - Sally Mitchell
This position puts out appeals to our transport volunteers if a dog needs to be moved a distance.
Grants Coordinator - Heidi Knochenhauer
This position reviews possible grant opportunities and submits applications when these are identified.
Adoption Liaison - Donna Lim
This position issues approval emails to adopters who have completed the vetting process. Maintains contact with adopters on the approved list to identify potential good matches and to make sure that adopters know their applications are still under consideration. If the adopter decides to adopt elsewhere, then the record is noted so that we can stop trying to find a match. It sometimes takes quite a time to find a good match - especially where there are young children or other special needs.
Success Stories Liaison - Sally Mitchell
This position follows up with people who have adopted and tries to get their 'gotcha story' for our Success Stories page. This is an opportunity for adopters to tell us how adopting their basset has changed their life (usually for the better!). It also shows adopters that we maintain an interest in them after adoption and are here for support if needed.
Surrender Liaison - Gloria Tannehill-Carlsen & Sally Mitchell
This position reviews Surrender Questionnaires and follows up with owners who need to surrender their hounds. Obtains recent photos, vet records and a 'bio' (sales pitch!) for the dog so that GGBR can make a well informed decision on accepting a basset for rehoming. This information also enables the dog's adoption listing to be created. Follows up with owners who keep their dog in their own home until an adopter is found. Obtains a release form from the owner to transfer legal liability for the dog from the owner to GGBR.
Event Volunteer Coordinator -
This position puts out appeals for volunteers to staff information booths at events all over Northern California. Ensures that the volunteers have materials to distribute and table, canopy, x-pen etc. for the booth.
Social Networking Coordinator - Cait Zorn (Facebook & Twitter) & Audra Holland (Instagram)
This position looks after our Facebook page, posting available dogs and alerts, urgent appeals, event information etc. Shares those posts to Twitter. For both accounts, encourages interaction and attracts likes and followers. Additionally, manages our Instagram account, posting photos and encouraging interaction and followers. These positions can be held by different people.
Membership Coordinator - Norie Fabor & Donna Lim
This position works once a year to put out our membership drive announcement and reminders and then to create a new active membership list in our email marketing tool. Issues membership badges and welcome letters to new members throughout the year.
Thank You Letters - Tim Midboe
Donations up to $500 receive a special thank you from Tim. Donations over $500 (and those that are 'in memoriam' or 'in honor of') get a personal thank you from our President, Gloria Tannehill-Carlsen.