Note: This is a chapter in the Community Cat Programs Handbook.
By their very nature, CCPs are collaborative efforts. To be effective, a program must have some degree of buy-in from a range of key stakeholders in the community, including these:
- Elected or appointed officials overseeing animal services in the community
- Shelter staff and volunteers
- Field services and dispatch staff
- Partner veterinary clinics
- Local TNR and rescue groups
- Caregivers and colony managers
- Donors and other funding sources (e.g., nonprofit organizations offering grants)
- The general public
In each of these categories, it’s easy to imagine securing support from like-minded individuals. Keep in mind, though, that not everybody will look on the CCP favorably. Some veterinary clinics, for example, might see low- or no-cost veterinary services as a threat to their livelihood (though there’s no evidence that this is the case). And, of course, the general public includes residents who complain about the cats. Remember, engagement means having honest, good-faith conversations, not necessarily convincing others to adopt your position on the issue. What’s most important is to be able to proceed with a clear understanding of key stakeholders’ concerns.
“It’s critical to engage key stakeholders, ones that you see as potential allies and collaborators, as well as those who may oppose the project. Either way, it is important to know the interests and issues of key stakeholders in order to garner support, address concerns or, if necessary, combat threats to the project.”
-Holly Sizemore, chief national programs officer, Best Friends Animal Society
Download the Community Cat Programs Handbook Basics (863 KB PDF)