Applying for Accreditation/Grants
Accreditation and Verification
If you represent a sanctuary which would like to apply for accreditation, please contact Robin Mason, the Accreditation Manager at email@example.com. Robin will help you determine if your organization should apply to become a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary OR a GFAS Verified Sanctuary. Both Accredited and Verified Sanctuaries provide humane and responsible care of the animals, as confirmed by an onsite visit. A “verified” status as opposed to an “accredited” status often reflects constrictions imposed by financial resources or the not-yet-fully-evolved growth of a newer sanctuary.
The Process for Accreditation and Verification
Your organization will complete an application form and complete a self-assessment, using GFAS criteria. We verify this self-assessment through required responses and attachments, interviews, and a site visit. As part of the process, we support your sanctuary in establishing three-year goals.
After presentation of a summary of your materials to the accreditation committee, your Board President will receive a list of needed changes (if any) prior to accreditation/verification and a list of three year goals for your consideration. If you don’t meet the criteria for verification and/or accreditation, we don’t publish your name, and we work with you as a partner to help you with resources needed to successfully complete the process.
After approval, we publish the sanctuary name as a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary, or a GFAS Verified Sanctuary. You will receive a GFAS Accredited or Verifed logo for your use, and a certificate for display. Annually we ask for a brief update. At the three-year mark, we ask for a more complete update and do another site visit. New goals are established for the next three-year mark.
There is no cost for becoming accredited, and no cost the first three years. After three years, we will need to charge a modest fee towards re-evaluation, $150 a year. Site visits are required for both GFAS Verified Sanctuaries and GFAS Accredited Sanctuaries. We are hopeful that foundations will give us grants to cover the fees for anyone for whom the modest fee would present a barrier. Currently a site visit usually entails an honorarium for the site vistor(s), plus travel expenses (which can involve air fare at times, hotel, etc.) and about 22 hours of staff time after the site visit, as well as additional hours prior to the site visit, and a great number of volunteer hours on the part of the accreditation committee(s). We keep working on ways to streamline and save costs.
Benefits of Becoming a GFAS Accredited Sanctuary or Verified Sanctuary:
- The entire field benefits from having true sanctuaries recognized as such. The public needs and appreciates the help in knowing which facilities are legitimate, and providing humane and responsible care for the animals.
- Donors, funders, and legislators are reassured by this process.
- GFAS stands ready to be of assistance to any accredited or verified sanctuary which runs into difficulties.
- Access to GFAS resources, such as our free webinars, is guaranteed with accreditation/verification. Look for more resources soon.
Accreditation in particular offers these benefits:
- The self-examination process in itself results in positive growth.
- For well-established sanctuaries, the accreditation process allows for the opportunity to relatively quickly confirm that all is in order, while sometimes spotting something that inadvertently has been overlooked for years. (Yikes! Do we really NOT have a fire alarm in the barn?)
- For newer sanctuaries, the accreditation process allows for some coaching and mentoring help on areas that perhaps your facility is just now ready to tackle, such as a grievance policy, a strategic plan, or a succession plan. The accreditation process is not a pass/fail test, but rather a partnership in which GFAS works with your organization to help you achieve legitimate accreditation.
- Funders can handle organizations not being perfect (and of course no organization is!). Grant makers and donors have great faith in an in-depth look at your organization, confirmed by an outside agency, including a site visit. Your three-year goals, also verified by an outside agency as prudent next steps, help donors and grant makers know that their dollars are going to fund legitimate needs that will help take your sanctuary to the next level, regardless of your current level of achievement. (Your accreditation information is kept confidential by us, but we are happy to share it in confidence with funders and donors at your request.)
- Recognition by a credible source is invaluable. The readiness for outside confirmation signals increasing confidence and professionalism within individual organizations and within the field.
- Respect is gained not only from donors and funders, but also legislators, potential adopters (for farmed animals and others as outlined in the GFAS criteria), law enforcement, media, and the larger animal protection community.
- Via accreditation, opportunities for you to provide leadership as a GFAS mentor arise, as well as access to peer-mentors as your organization grows.
- It is a process for uniting to facilitate continuous improvement.
- Accreditation for the field says that the work of sanctuaries/rescues is important enough and demanding enough in terms of knowledge and skills to merit establishment of performance criteria, qualifications, and benchmarks for quality.
Thus far GFAS has been responsible for helping rescues/sanctuaries obtain more than $75,000 in grants that the applicants didn’t know about until GFAS alerted them and told them how to apply.
The ability of GFAS to offer its own compliance grant funding depends upon donors and foundations generously providing GFAS with funding for this specific purpose. Currently GFAS has $110,000 to distribute in compliance grants to equine rescues/sanctuaries.
GFAS also hosts almost monthly webinars to help organizations learn how to write effective grant proposals.
Animal placements is another arena in which GFAS offers support and some limited funding. We hope to create a larger fund for this in the future.