Winners: Humane Society Silicon Valley, San Diego Humane Society, Citrus County Animal Services, Furkids Animal Rescue & Shelters and Louisville Metro Animal Services
This week, we’re highlighting some of the strategies used to find homes for long-stay shelter pets from 5 of the 10 organizations that won our $1,000 Completion Challenge Awards during the Get ‘Em Home Challenge. Read on to learn about their most creative tips and tricks!
Citrus County Animal Services
Draco was a senior dog that kept getting overlooked by adopters. The shelter realized that one important thing that stood out about him was his willingness to shake hands. Repeatedly. So the shelter decided to make him into a “politician,” dressing him up for appointments and campaign stops, creating a story line out of his “run for Mayor,” and creating a Facebook page just for his “campaign.” He visited the sheriff station and local businesses, and they engaged volunteers with the story line through Facebook. Although Facebook refused to allow them to boost his “campaign” (because it they thought it was an actual political ad!!), Draco was adopted by the end of October.
San Diego Humane Society
One of San Diego Humane Society’s tactics was to designate their long-stay pets as “Certified R.A.D. – Ready And Deserving.” In addition to increasing the pets’ visibility, the R.A.D. logo and branding were used in graphics, web slides and pop-ups, staff email signatures, printable fliers, promotional videos and even buttons for staff to wear! Instructing supporters to “look for the R.A.D. icon” was a fun conversation-starter and a way to invite the public to look more closely at these pets.
Furkids Animal Rescue & Shelter
Furkids created a list of pets who had been with them for over 30 days and assigned each to a staff member whose goal was to get that pet adopted. They hosted special themed photo shoots and revised pets’ biographies so each online profile was the best that it could be. They hosted special adoption events at their shelters that focused specifically on long-stay dogs and cats.
Humane Society of Silicon Valley
The key program that drove HSSV’s success was their Adoption Council. This group meets once a week and includes staff across the marketing, adoptions, finance, intake, behavior, and medical departments with the objective of managing their intake to adoption flow. The council reviews the previous week’s adoptions, their current state in terms of available animals, capacity for more by location and fosters, and who has been in care longest. The list of animals who have been in care for 30 days or more is called the “Potter’s List,” because they wish they could wave Harry Potter’s magic wand to get them all they need to find their forever homes. This list is reviewed weekly and they creatively find ways to promote these pets. The team considers promotions and campaigns to boost adoptions or highlight long-termers.
In addition to focusing on long-term animals via the Adoption Council, they also used strategic social media posts to put them in the spotlight. HSSV shared videos, pictures, and testimonials of them on Doggy Day Outs (field trips) with community volunteers, shared their unique stories and skills, and even featured one dog in a new ongoing video series called Doggy Day Out and About, a spoof of Jerry Seinfield’s Netflix series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. The video showed the dog on a Doggy Day Out with a volunteer and was posted on social. Their social media posts reached thousands of people, prompted a lot of attention and helped drive people in the door.
Louisville Metro Animal Services
LMAS highlights the great qualities of overlooked animals and encourages the public to consider adopting them by offering them extra support through their VIP Champions adoption program. Upon arrival, customers are greeted by a board featuring the 10 dogs designated as VIP Champions. When an adopter chooses to adopt a VIP Champion, they receive free wellness checks, vaccinations, and a dog license for 3 years, along with a free harness and a large crate. Once 10 of the VIP Champions have been adopted and kept for 60 days, a drawing is done among the adopters for the possibility of winning $500!
“In addition,” says LMAS’s Assistant Director Ashley Book says, “A very generous boarding facility caught wind of the program and donated 1 week free doggy day care for all champions adopted to help socialize the dogs. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome and partnerships this program has created. To date over 50 dogs have found their forever homes because of this program.” LMAS used its winnings to purchase more harnesses for VIP Champions and its field trip program and enrichment items for their long stay dogs.
Together, these organizations got over 1,600 long-stay pets adopted during the 3 months the Get ‘Em Home Challenge took place!