Heather Robertson, Community Outreach Coordinator, the MSPCA at Nevins Farm
February 1, 2012

1. What exactly is a Community Outreach Coordinator?

As Community Outreach Coordinator I am the liaison between all facets of Nevins Farm and individuals and organizations in our region.  I plan special events, which may be fundraisers, or hosting informational tables at other area events, or it may mean helping to plan our Spay/Neuter events, Adoptathons, or helping other supporters of Nevins Farm plan their own special events to benefit the animals and programs of Nevins Farm.  I also handle a lot of media relations and various marketing efforts to raise awareness of our programs and needs.


2. What do you do during a typical day at the MSPCA?

I always start my day by checking in on the goats and sheep that are housed next to my office, which is in an old farm house on the property, and then I feed the house cats that are housed temporarily in our offices.  Every day varies, but I may write press releases about a special event, spend time with a reporter doing an interview on some aspect of Nevins Farm, or do a visit to a radio station or local tv station.  I maintain our local web pages, and contribute to our blogs on a regular basis.  I may design a marketing piece (brochures, posters, fliers) for one of our programs, or work on our annual newsletter.  I spend a lot of time soliciting donors for our special events, and seeking out potential sponsors.  One of my favorite things to do is to give a tour of Nevins Farm to a current or potential donor.  I am so proud of all the work we do here at Nevins, and I love to show it off!


3. Why is it so important to build a relationship with the surrounding community?

We are here to serve the people and animals of our community when they are in need, and we can only do that with the support of our community.  We need to be in touch with people and agencies of all kinds throughout the region, so we can be sure we are meeting their needs, and helping as many animals as possible.


4. What are some of your biggest fundraising events?

Our Walk for Animals, held in the fall, is the largest event that we do.  This past September, we raised over $65,000!  We also hold an annual auction, our Evening for Animals, and a series of ‘Horses Helping Horses’ Rides, including a trail ride and a beach ride. 


5. Since you work for the entire Nevins Farm property, is it easier to draw in people for small animal events or large animal events?

It’s really the same in terms of letting people know about the events.  We have larger numbers of small animal adopters, so that may help, but we have really strong relationships with our equine and farm animal adopters, who always turn out to support us, so it works out well.



6. How has the trouble with the economy affected the MSPCA’s events?

With each event, we worry that we are not going to attract people to attend or donate, and we are very cost-efficient, so that we can put the maximum amount of money to use for our animals.


7. What special qualities or talents do you need to do what you do?

I think you need to love talking with people, and enjoy finding ways to relate to every kind of individual.  And of course, being passionate about animals!


8. Is there a way kids can help with events?

Yes!  You are never too young to help!  This past spring, a group of pre-schoolers held a lemonade stand (with the help of their teachers), and they raised over $100 for Nevins Farm!  Kids tend to be the most creative in coming up with ideas and events to raise money for us.


9. Have you always worked in animal welfare?

      This is my first job in animal welfare.  For twenty years, I worked in corporate America as the Marketing Director for a restaurant chain, and when I started volunteering here, I fell in love with Nevins Farm, and knew this is what I was meant to do.


10. What gives you the most satisfaction from your job?

I love to see bonds forming with people and the animals here.  I always cry (happy tears) when I see animals start their new lives with their adoptive families.


11. Do you have any pets at home?

      Yes!  I currently have 3 dogs and 8 cats (including a couple of feral kitties and several senior citizen cats).  Interestingly, I am responsible for bringing only one of them home.  All the rest have find their way to us via my significant other; he’s an animal lover as well!


12. What changes have you seen at Nevins Farm since you began working here?

There are a lot of physical changes at the property, with the completion of new buildings.  We’ve also grown our volunteer base, and made new contacts with various groups throughout the area for our programs.  There’s a great sense of unity, with a common goal of helping homeless and neglected animals, which seems to be growing every day.