Stop, Collaborate, and Listen
Here at Heartwood Haven, we truly believe in collaboration over competition. What do we mean by collaborating?
Running a sanctuary is no easy matter. Between animal care and extensive costs, the whole romantic and idealistic idea of cuddling cute animals in grassy fields is far from the truth. There are grueling hours, heartbreak, emergencies, and bills that increase the odds of burnout. We have heard from several sanctuaries who closed down after the toll got to be too much and the support too little. We listen to those with more experience and truly do understand that. We are learning it is important to know when to say no, despite how much we always want to to say yes.
As a society, we behave in very binary ways. If there are two (or more) options, surely they are in opposition of each other! This means sanctuaries often find themselves in assumed, perceived competition with each other. Whether it be who has the nicest set up, the most inspiring stories, or the most funding. However, we should not feel at competition with those around us, and we want to actively work against the ideas that we are competitors. Why you ask? Several important reasons.
What is that phrase? There is no ‘I’ in Team.
Funding is a huge issue, it is at the heart of being able to survive, expand and save more lives as well as provide better care. Donors who support one sanctuary often support others as well. Charity makes us feel good. Donating money to an important cause makes us feel like we are really a part of it. And it is true, donating toward animal care means you, the donor, are at the heart of saving animals. The more a donor gives, the better they feel and the more they want to give in the future. We should be inspiring donors to donate to our sanctuary and others as well. Giving begets giving.
As we inspire donors and invite new donors to join the movement, we see there is no lack of funding.
As humans, we spend money on the silliest things. We spend money on things we don’t need and even more on things we will never use. There is no shortage of funding. The ocean is the fund pool, and there are so many tributaries that feed into it. It will never run dry. While sanctuaries do share donors, they also have donors independent of each other. Cow sanctuaries are supported by people who love cows. Pig sanctuaries are supported by people who love pigs. Wildlife sanctuaries are supported by those who love that idea and choose to support it.
Remember this because it is important and at the heart of what we strive for: we are all working toward one ultimate goal, and that is saving lives and providing compassionate education. Competing with sanctuaries near or far is not going to further that goal. Just remember who will be there for you when there is an emergency, other sanctuary people. If your sanctuary is full, your neighbor across the state might have room.
Strength in Numbers
Build those relationships as collaborators, not competitors. The next time you need to say “no,” your collaborator just might be able to say “yes!”
At Heartwood Haven, we are committed to collaborating with other sanctuaries and rescues to further the goal of providing care for neglected, abused, unwanted, and homeless animals. We believe in supporting one another in as many ways as possible and building each other up rather than dividing. We would love to hear from you, our current and future collaborators. What partnerships have been successful for you? What are your collaboration dreams?