Saturday, September 14, 2013

Strategic Planning for Heart of Texas Lab Rescue

Dear Heart of Texas Lab Rescue (HOTLR) Community -Adopters, Volunteers, and Donors,

You are the “heart” in our mission and whether you are new to our community or a long-time supporter, we are grateful for your energy and commitment to our efforts to rescue Labrador Retrievers.  Now we ask for your assistance in helping us design our future. 

We are at a major crossroads and need to take stock of our past and our present as we look to our future.  We cannot continue to operate in our current manner and need to consider all options including shutting down operations (worst case scenario).  To determine the best way for us to continue serving these amazing dogs and our community, our Board is engaging in a strategic planning process that will begin in September and we’d like your input to that process. 

Heart of Texas Lab Rescue began as the passion of Dick and Luanne Lindsey who provided these Labs a kennel facility on their property.  It was a safe place for the dogs and provided a valuable central location for our supporters like you.  Unfortunately, the development of the Parmer Lane area caused us to lose this facility and our Founders moved to Arkansas.

Just like our amazing dogs, we adjusted and partnered with a boarding facility.  However, this was a costly solution and did not provide us the ability to quarantine new dogs.  An outbreak of Kennel Cough at that facility caused the friendly dissolution of this partnership.
Today we have a network of foster homes and provide temporary housing for new dogs at a Board member’s property outside of the Austin area.   Housing dogs on the Board Member’s property was only meant to be a temporary solution when we could no longer place dogs in the boarding facility.   Our dogs are spread across the city.  Our centrally located “meet and greet” location is about to be unavailable.  We need a permanent solution.
  • We need more volunteers.  We are extremely grateful of our volunteers and everything they do (from gift-wrapping to phone duty) but while we have a large volunteer database with over700 names, we struggle to place dogs in foster homes and a small group of individuals (Board Members and volunteers) carry a large burden for the organization.
  • We need a good location for meet and greets.  We are losing a central location for “meet and greet” activities and currently do not have another option.
  • We need new Board Members.  Board member turnover has been high (40% this past year).

Our Action Steps
We need to take action now to ensure we can continue to serve these precious dogs and our community.  We believe that this strategic planning process will help us to:

  • Develop a direction and plan forward so that we can continue saving the lives of these amazing Labradors.
  • Identify and implement a Board and Volunteer structure that will meet our current and future organizational needs.
  • Identify new methods and approaches for providing safe, transitional housing for these dogs until they find their forever home.
  • Foster a higher level of engagement from our supporters and community.
  • Identify and attract Board Members who have the necessary skills, experience and resources to support our cause.
  • Increase the awareness of our mission and ensure we have the right people, support, and funding to reach our aspirations.

How You Can Help
We plan to invite our current and some past Board members to a facilitated retreat in October (at no cost to the organization).  In preparation for that event, we need your input.

Whether you are an adopter, foster, volunteer, former volunteer, or donor, we want to hear from you.  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts, comments, and suggestions with our facilitator by completing an online survey.  All survey responses are confidential and results will be combined and shared with our Board at our October retreat.
The link to the survey is (you may need to cut and past the link into a web browser) and will remain open until Thursday, September 20, 2013.

Thank you for being a part of the Heart of Texas Lab Rescue community.  We will keep you updated on the outcome of the retreat and of our future plans; we are doing everything we can to keep our organization’s doors open to rescue Labrador Retrievers.
Thank you in advance for your participation and support of our organization.

Margaret Huston
President, Heart of Texas Lab Rescue


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