By now you have most likely noticed that SAWA is now The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement. We had several really bright branding experts working on this transition for well over a year. The decision to make the change was not taken lightly nor was it done simply for the sake of making a change. The idea of rebranding was very well-conceived by our Board of Directors and then thoroughly explored by our ad hoc Brand Analysis Action Team. I need to specifically thank Michael Robbins (Atlanta Humane Society), Kathryn Shenar (San Diego Humane Society), David Smith (Humane Rescue Alliance) and our own Tom Tholen for all the work invested in getting us to this new, exciting place. And thanks to all the participants in our focus group session. These groups represented a true cross-section of all our stakeholders.
It will take some time for us to transition everything (including our website) to the new brand, but we are making steady progress. And we can use your help. Every time you’re tempted to say SAWA, please stop yourself and refer to us as The Association. We don’t want to become AAWA (AaaawWaaah) or any other acronym. Nor do we want to be AN Association. We want to be known, and deservedly so, as THE Association. After all, we are comprised of the best and brightest leaders and aspiring leaders from across our industry. And, you—our members—deserve a voice on the national stage. You are what make us THE Association! So, this November, you won’t be attending “SAWA”. You’ll be attending The Association’s Annual Conference!
Our former name has carried us for a very long time. SAWA was formed in early 1970 by a group of visionary leaders in our field. But, the world has changed and our industry has changed at an even more remarkable pace. For almost half-a-century, our members have built our association from the ground up. Our increased professionalism is eclipsed only by the great success we’ve experienced in achievement of our collective mission. No longer can we be a “Society” which, by definition, implies a closed group. We must be open to all sorts of new ideas and methodologies for delivering services to the animals and communities we serve. We encourage participation by everyone who wants to work together – animal care & control agencies, not-for-profit animal welfare groups, rescue organizations and high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter programs and clinics. We are no longer a Society, but are a true association.
And, I don’t know about you, but I would prefer not to be considered a mere administrator. I envision taking a number at the DMV and waiting in line for the next administrator to help me. We are so much more than that. We are advocates, caregivers, fund-raisers, coaches…the list goes on. What I do know is that we are ALL about advancing the welfare of animals, locally, nationally and globally.
Please share your thoughts on our new name, our new brand and our renewed commitment to giving you the tools you need to lead. I say it in most every letter to our members—our strength is in the network. We are so much stronger together than we could ever be separately. We have changed the world in less than 50 years. Never forget that!