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Good recordkeeping is important in order to comply with various financial, medical, organizational, and legal requirements for an organization. Records can assist in spotting trends that impact the operation of the rescue. For example, what are the busiest months of the year? What is the average length of time in foster care? Is fundraising keeping pace with expenditures? Reviewing these trends can help the rescue to identify potential problems and find areas of improvement.


What to Keep

  • Financial Records

    • Payments, record of donations, CRA filings

  • Volunteers

    • Name and contact information, as well as notes on interactions with the volunteer

    • Foster history, including length of stay, type of pets fostered, and records of any emergencies

  • Pets

    • Name, microchip number, species, physical description, age, gender, source, medical history including sterilization, behaviour issues, current location of the animal, adoption applications, successful or failed rehoming attempts, photographs, and outcome (fostered, adopted, returned, euthanized).

  • Organizational policies and procedures


Useful tools for recordkeeping

  • Spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel.

    • Easy to track numbers, chart, and project using graphing and other tools.

  • Notebooks

    • Easier and cheaper than most options, notebooks can be very effective.

  • Group or shared documents such as Google Docs.

    • Web-based options can be easily accessed and updated by multiple people.  

  • Professional services

    • Paid programs and services are available; however, cost can be an issue.  

  • Prepared forms

    • The rescue may want to develop standardized forms to ensure that all relevant information is gathered and recorded in a way that is useful for the rescue.

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