Tips for promoting shelter pets—FAST!
Our group, Giles County Animal Rescue, volunteers at the county pound. We live in a rural area. Dogs picked up with collars can stay 10 days; those without collars stay five days. The animals aren't around long enough for a Meet Your Match-type of transaction (although we applaud that program). We foster as many as we can to save them from the needle, but do you have any advice how to promote adoptions of animals at the pound who don't have long to stay?
That’s a great question and a very common challenge encountered by shelters. When pressed for time, focus on the basics and promote, promote, promote! When people look to add a four-legged friend to their family, they are looking for a companion—and it’s your job to help paint your available pets as companions and not just homeless animals.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for an animal organization, a picture can equal a happy home! Great pictures of your shelter’s companion animals pull viewers in and make them want to know about the sweet brown eyes they are looking at. While you are working with animals to get a great picture, you learn more about their personalities and can help create better names and bios for them. Bios are what cinch the deal and make people get into their cars and come and meet your great animals. In the bio, share any available and pertinent information on the animal’s previous history, as well as preferences for toys, the amount of affection they seek out, etc. Draw on the creativity of your volunteers and have fun with these while keeping a positive tone! With these three basics, you have transformed your homeless animals into companions seeking forever homes. More information can be found at ASPCApro.org.
Now that you have great names, pictures and bios, the question becomes: Where do you show them off? Placing your available animals on the organization’s website is very important, along with utilizing other great outlets. Adoption websites such as Petfinder.com and Petango.com are great resources—and in addition, think about how to reach an even bigger audience than people who are actively looking to adopt! Use social media to your advantage and bring more eyes to your animals than you ever could before. Facebook pages allow content to be viewed and shared with a broad audience. There are many great examples of organizations who promote animals short on time, such as this one in Texas and this page created by an organization in Louisiana, which has seen almost every single animal posted on the page adopted! Create a page and share your available animals online and encourage others to share them with their friends. The more eyes that see each animal, the better the chance that animal goes to a forever home!