Welcome to DHDR: New Volunteer Guide
Welcome! We are so excited you have joined us! By now, you have received your Forum Login and know how important it is to stay active on the forum. Be sure you have introduced yourself on the forum, created your signature (including name, cross streets, and phone/email), and added yourself to the map.
(Pro Tip! If this list is overwhelming to you, break it up. Come back to this page and take each piece at your own pace)
1. The Forum: Get more familiar with the forum, and learn how to navigate around. Please ask Christy or Carolyn for help if you are confused.
2. Volunteer Training: Dig in here to decide what areas you want to help with, and what training is provided for each.
3. Catch Up on Must Know Misc Topics: Learn about other happenings within the rescue, additional training, education, and misc questions.
All forum support is located here. Favorites include the Overview of Forum Sections and How to Easily See Missed Posts. Setting your Alerts is also an important topic. Some of us prefer to get alerts for everything. Others prefer to only get alerts for Important Notices (which is required), and then come check the rest at our leisure. If you get confused, please reach out right away. We are happy to help.
We sound like a broken record by now – the forum is SO important. It is the only way we all communicate, so it is essential you get familiar with it. Your volunteer eligibility is tied to your forum use. If you are inactive on the forum (or as a volunteer) for more than a month or two without a heads up, the forum will deactivate you. If you are deactivated on the forum, you are not considered an active DHDR volunteer and can not conduct DHDR volunteer activities, and are not covered by Volunteer insurance*.
*We understand that life happens, so let us know if this happens and we can re-activate you at any time 🙂
It would be impossible to recap all of the different volunteer activities – our volunteers are so great and do so much! Here are some of the most common volunteer activities, and tips on how to get ramped up to jump in!
First, review this phone interview guide. Next, silent shadow 1-2 phone interviews by requesting on a phone interview request thread to shadow (just pop in an existing listing and leave a comment). Once you are ready on your own, you can “claim” phone interviews at that same thread. After you claim an interview, Katherine or Alex will email you the information needed. Any questions? Confused and want to do Phone Interviews? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for help. Lara and Reese are also two volunteers that are Phone Interview masters and can provide guidance and advice.
We offer in-person home visit training at least once per year, so keep an eye out for that. If you don’t see one coming up, which may be likely, review this home visit guide and the training videos. Then, shadow 1-2 home visits by requesting on a home visit request thread to shadow one that is convenient for you. Once you are ready to complete Home Visits on your own, you can “pick up” home visits in that same thread.
Help at Events:
First, read the volunteer guide to events. Then, watch the events section of the forum for new requests to be posted, or review to see if any were posted and are still open. This is a great way to get started and get to know people.
Assist at Photo Shoots:
First, read the photo shoot and transportation/in-public guides. When a photo shoot request is posted, let people know in that thread if you could help with transport or assist with the shoot. If you are a photographer, please get in touch with Christy and Ron will walk you through our process and Katherine will get you set up on our Photographer list.
Transportation is a huge and regular, often last minute, need. Read this transportation guide here, and volunteer when you see a request come through on the forum.
Assist with Meet & Greets:
Often, a foster parent will need a volunteer to assist with Meet & Greets. Be sure to review this guide and watch the forum for requests.
If you are good with spreadsheets, like to organize things, or do admin type work, please let Christy know, and/or watch the General Discussion area for requests.
If you are a certified dog trainer, please reach out to Christy via email at email@example.com. If you want to learn about dog training, reach out to Christy as well. Then, we will get you connected with the dogs most in need.
This does not include fostering, so if you become interested in fostering, let us know right away!
Must Know Misc Topics
Information overload yet? Remember, take it piece by piece so that you remember all you are learning. Here are some other important topics to know about.
DHDR prides itself on being a professional, safe, buttoned-up, ethical organization. Along with that comes with policies and procedures that we take extremely seriously to keep you safe, keep adopters safe, and ensure the future of our breed. As a new volunteer, you likely learned about many of these during your introduction call and with your signed waivers. In addition, please review:
- Re-review your waivers and signed policies one month after starting to be sure the information is solidified.
- Understand some of our history here and here. It will help you understand why we are so very serious about our policies.
- Read our bite and euthanasia policy here. You must be aligned and supportive of this approach to volunteer with DHDR. Please reach out to Christy with any concerns.
Devoting yourself to helping others can result in compassion fatigue. Read these resources to be sure you take good care of yourself, lean on us for help, and identify any signs of burnout.
Dog Behavior & Handling Training
DHDR is invested in providing volunteers with as much training and possible about handling Dobermans and Dog behavior. Keep an eye out for regular classes posted that you can attend! You can also poke around our Training section for tips and advice. Pose questions if you’d like!
Social Media Behavior & Other Rescues
Check out our guide on how to represent DHDR on social media. Also, it is important to know that DHDR volunteers never speak poorly of other rescues, especially in public or on social media. If you ever have an opinion or concern about another rescue or shelter, handle it respectfully and privately. All rescues and shelters are different shaped puzzle pieces, and we won’t always agree. Public bashing is a major NO!
Public Education is a huge part of our mission! You will see new content created all the time. Get yourself familiar with the following, which are key pieces to our efforts:
- The benefit of slow introductions for new dogs
- The importance of a decompression period for new dogs
- Battling Back Yard Breeders (BYB) and picking the right breeder
- The importance of Dobersports and how to get involved
Holter Monitor Program
Did you know that DHDR Volunteers and Adopters have unlimited discount access to DHDR’s Holter Monitor? Check out the program here.
DHDR has business cards! If you would like some, contact Christy, Stepheni, or Katherine and we will get you some!
DHDR has name tags for use at events. We can also make you “Staples” style print out name tags if you would like (email Christy). If you prefer a “fancy” name tag, read about that here.
Shirts, Apparel, & Branded Goodies
DHDR has a lot of great apparel! You can purchase DHDR apparel at most events that we host or attend. If you’d like something in between events, contact Katherine to talk about what she has in stock. Katherine currently is in charge of our apparel stock. One time per year, typically in the new year/spring, we do one huge custom order. During that order, volunteers can order whatever they’d like from the listings, and get items at our cost with no markup 🙂
What to do if you see a Doberman in need
Instead of posting it to the public Facebook page or group, please email it directly to Christy. This goes for dogs at the shelter, or for a dog you may have heard of elsewhere. This helps eliminate public panic as Christy may already know details on the dog. Lisa is Christy’s backup/partner on this topic.
If you ever need to pick something up on behalf of DHDR, or spend any money, be sure to follow the reimbursements policy before spending any money.