Have you ever thought about volunteering your farrier services to a local equine rescue? Many farriers do some volunteer work, but it’s important to find a situation that will work well for you. Here are some considerations before you decide to volunteer.
Benefits of Volunteering
Why volunteer? There are many reasons. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and you’ll feel good knowing that you’re helping horses in need. Volunteering at a rescue can also be a good way to spread word about your services and potentially even bring in new clients – the rescue staff may refer you to friends with their own personal horses.
When you volunteer, you can write off the cost of the supplies you use. In most cases, though, you can’t write off the value of your services themselves. Make sure that you understand just how volunteering plays into your taxes by talking with your accountant.
Potential Downfalls of Volunteering
Volunteering can be hard work, especially if you volunteer for a large rescue. Not only is there wear and tear on your body, but you’re potentially putting your safety at risk depending on the horses’ experience and training. When you’re volunteering, you can’t be working for your paying clients, so be sure that you have excellent control of your schedule.
You may also find that as you volunteer, rescue staff start to rely on you more and more. You may find yourself in the position of needing to turn down requests for extra work or for horses that need last-minute shoeing.
How to Create a Successful Volunteer Experience
To create a successful volunteer experience, you’ll need to find a rescue whose approach to horse care and whose mission you agree with. You’ll want to do some research on any rescue that you’re considering volunteering for. Take a look at reviews of the rescue, their mission statement, and the types of horses that they work with. Make sure that you would find contributing to their mission rewarding before you offer to volunteer.
Once you’re ready to move forward and are talking with the rescue, be clear and detailed about what you can and can’t offer. You may want to specify a certain number of visits per month, and put a limit on the number of horses that you can work on during each visit. Now is also a good time to specify any requirements you may have of the rescue, like the need for a staff person to hold horses during each session.
Volunteering your farrier services to an equine rescue can be a great opportunity that benefits both your business and the rescue. Just be sure that you have the time and resources to dedicate before you accept a volunteer position.