First: Thank you! Fences For Fido relies 100% on volunteers to do the life-changing (and often life-saving) work of this organization.
We want each person to feel fully supported, welcomed, and introduced to who we are and what we do. This document is designed to convey our FFF “culture.” You might consider it our credo—our statement of how we work together and represent the organization. Combined, our work and our demeanor essentially ARE Fences For Fido.
In every role with Fences For Fido, courtesy and professionalism are top priorities. Fences For Fido’s mission is based on compassionate acts to improve the lives of our Fidos and their families. We model that compassion in all of our interactions with clients, the public, each other, supporters, and even detractors.
1. Communication with each other is courteous and positive.
a. Fences For Fido volunteers are extraordinarily dedicated. Many spend as much time on FFF work as they spend on their full-time jobs. This commitment deserves a cooperative, supportive environment. We will treat each other with respect in all of our communications.
b. We will honor the vital contribution of each individual, whether their work is in the field or behind the scenes.
c. In airing complaints, we will use direct communication that clearly names the issue and looks for possible solutions.
d. Because indirect complaining is unproductive and harmful to group morale, we bring complaints to the person(s) with the ability to address them, and we approach them in a problem-solving spirit. If that fails to resolve the issue, volunteers are encouraged to bring the issue to a mutually-agreed third party.
e. Personal differences are inevitable, but profanity, name-calling, and other disrespectful communication are unacceptable and threaten our supportive environment.
2. Communication with clients is professional and nonjudgmental.
a. Client Outreach Coordinators (COs) are the point of contact with our clients. Volunteers will defer direct client communication to the CO. When interacting with clients, we will be positive and nonjudgmental.
b. To respect the privacy and boundaries of our clients, volunteers will wait for the CO and Crew Leader to arrive before entering the clients’ property.
c. We protect the privacy of our clients at all times and in every way. Under no circumstances may a volunteer divulge personal client information in any form.
3. Electronic communication is positive, professional, and respectful.
a. Facebook and the website are the closest thing we have to a storefront. Every post or comment must be courteous and represent the organization in a positive light.
b. FFF emails will be courteous and on-topic and may not be used for any non-FFF solicitation or messages.
c. The public FFF page is for public messages. FFF maintains closed Facebook groups for various committees and volunteer groups to communicate behind the scenes. FFF announcements should be fielded to the Facebook managers for posting.
4. Media outreach is referred to board members.
a. Public Relations and Media Outreach are handled by the Board of Directors. Volunteers will refer media requests to the Board of Directors.
b. When the media attend our events and builds, we welcome volunteers to talk about their personal experience of volunteering with Fences For Fido.
5. While we don’t expect volunteers to share all of our views, we do ask volunteers to support FFF’s animal welfare policies.
a. Like most animal welfare groups, we support the wider cause of animal welfare by serving plant-based foods at our events. This policy covers food purchased and served by FFF at its officially-sponsored events. Volunteers can choose what food they bring to a job site or order at a no-host event.
b. We sometimes see our Fidos in very sad conditions. We do everything we can to improve their circumstances, but we accept our limitations. Sometimes even the police aren’t legally able to remedy a bad situation, and some animals would not be adoptable if we could get custody of them. Volunteers will try to trust in our process, knowing that our ongoing contact with families can continue long after a build.
c. Fences For Fido supports spaying and neutering as a means of protecting animal health and fighting overpopulation. We strongly encourage, but do not require, our clients to allow FFF to spay/neuter their dogs.
6. Volunteers support FFF policy and protocol.
a. Fences For Fido’s Board of Directors is bound by certain legal and moral obligations with regard to policies, finances, mission, and public reputation. It’s impossible for every board decision to please everyone, but volunteers will respect the board’s administrative authority to make decisions on behalf of the organization.
b. COs and Crew Leaders are responsible for overseeing their projects. We understand that there are many ways to complete a job. While we’re open to improvement, our protocols are developed from our experience on hundreds of fences. Volunteers will follow the directions of Crew Leaders and COs.
To maintain the culture of cooperation and respect that keep us moving ahead with our mission, FFF reserves the right to address issues as they arise. Depending on severity and circumstances, violations of these guidelines may be addressed with a gentle reminder, a warning, a temporary suspension of duties, or even termination of the volunteer’s relationship with FFF.
While it’s impossible to cover every potential situation, we hope these general guidelines will create a friendly and professional environment for all of our volunteers. Our Board members welcome any questions or concerns about these guidelines.