If writing a business plan for your animal rescue sends chills down your spine, don’t worry we’re here to help! Most of us go into animal rescue wanting to help save lives, but ultimately you will also need to manage your rescue like a non-profit business. 

Whether you are just starting your rescue, or you are looking to restructure your existing rescue, writing your business plan is a great place to start!  Having a clear and precise business or ‘rescue’ plan will help you organize your life-saving efforts.

Here are some recommendations for what to include in a PUPtastic business plan for your animal rescue:

Write Your Executive Summary and Mission Statement

Why are you emBARKing on this journey?! Let your executive summary explain who your rescue is and what you are doing. Introduce your rescue and briefly state your plan and your goals. Then write your mission statement. Let this define why your rescue exists.

Map Out Your Rescue’s Structure

Next, explain what your rescue will look like. Will it be breed or species-specific? Are you going to only focus on pets with medical problems? Will you be open to any and all cases? Is your rescue going to work with only fosters? Will you be utilizing a boarding facility? Do you plan on raising funds to have a shelter? Who will help with the medical care?

Be as specific and detail-oriented as possible. Write exactly how your rescue will be structured, who will hold roles within the rescue, and how the animals will be cared for. Knowing how your rescue will operate is vital to a successful start.

Identify Your Opportunities & Risks

As you start to understand how your rescue will operate and the animals you will be working to save, start mapping out the opportunities you have to help and the risks involved. Opportunities may be pulling high risks dogs from the local shelter or TNR efforts for cat colonies in your area.

With each opportunity, there are also risks. Be aware of what could go wrong, and how you will handle this. Risks could include anything from not having funds to save an animal or not having enough fosters. How will your rescue handle these types of situations?

Establish Your Goals

Now the exciting part! Setting your life-saving goals!! Use the SMART goal criteria and write goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Your goals can include animal intake numbers, foster network goals, and/or fundraising goals. Here are some examples to help get you started:

  • Grow our foster network to 20 people within our first six months of becoming a 501c3.
  • Transfer five dogs a week from the local shelter into our rescue’s foster network.

Write Your Implementation Plan

You’ve got lives waiting on you! Time to plan out your action steps to doing the actual life-saving. Below is a list to get you started on defining the actual process behind these parts of your rescue.

  • Marketing
  • Foster network
  • Veterinary care
  • Adopters
  • Volunteers
  • Donors
  • Board members
  • Operations

Explain Your Fundraising Plan

Fundraising is part of any non-profit, and your business plan needs to include you will fund your rescue. Include your budget, expenses, and how you will fundraise. You should explain how you will track your finances; set financial goals; and include how you will handle emergency situations, like unforeseen medical cases.

Describe What Your Impact Will Be

At the end of your business plan make a statement on what your impact will be. Your impact will play off of the goals you set along with the mission you are on. How is YOUR rescue going to make a change for the community you are setting out to help? Be bold! Be impactful! Make a statement about the good your rescue can do.

Let your passion and love for animals drive you and let your business savvy guide you!