Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Promoting Adoptable Animals in Foster Care

    Posted 07-14-2022 09:08 AM
    Hi everyone,

    We usually have a lot of adoptable animals in foster care at our shelter. I am curious what others do to promote/advertise adoptable foster animals whether it be on social media or another creative way? Also, we only have one slot a week on our shelter's Facebook page called "Foster Care Friday" where we are able to advertise these adoptable animals or push the program. How many times a week are you advertising on social media these adoptable foster animals or the program in general?


    Emily Higgins
    Lexington Humane Society

  • 2.  RE: Promoting Adoptable Animals in Foster Care

    Posted 07-15-2022 07:00 AM
    Having foster parents bring their pups onsite to join in shelter playgroups (if they enjoy them!) can be a great way to promote them! 

    An added bonus is having a tired, enriched pup for the foster parent to take home if they are not placed. 

    Foster expert @Kelly Duer will have the best answer for your social media question. :) ​

    Heather Kalman (she/her), CPDT-KA, SBA, ABCDT
    Embedded Data Coordinator
    American Pets Alive!, Human Animal Support Services

  • 3.  RE: Promoting Adoptable Animals in Foster Care

    Posted 07-15-2022 07:09 AM
    Hey Emily, there are lots of small things you can do that add up to big impact. 

    1. Host Facebook or IG "lives" with a foster. This not only helps promote their foster dog, but promotes fostering as well. 
    2. Provide "adopt me" gear to your fosters and if they're comfortable, ask them to use the gear on walks and to go to outings like Home Depot or Home Goods. 
    3. Ask your fosters to market! One of the great things about foster programs is that you don't only get the foster, you get their network! You can provide some social media templates that they can use to upload pics and little bits of info about their animals. I use Canva and love it.  Here is a link to some more ideas:

    Kenzie Whalen-Dunn
    Founder and Director
    Rescue Allies

  • 4.  RE: Promoting Adoptable Animals in Foster Care

    Posted 07-15-2022 09:10 AM
    Hi Emily,

    I have some ideas and a ton of resources for you! 

    Do you have a set process for getting marketing materials from fosters and getting that content in front of potential adopters? Lots of orgs are using Facebook groups to collect content from fosters, and others are using Google forms or email. Then the foster staff or- even better- a volunteer take that content and post it to the pet's online profile and create posts for social media. Having a process that's really efficient is key. 

    One thing I'd highly recommend is that your organization begins talking about foster as much as you can in your communications. In addition to prioritizing it  on your website so your supporters know you value fosters, on social media you can be telling stories about pets in foster, mentioning an adoptable pet has been in foster, doing foster pleas, etc. I've looked at the social media for the shelters with the 7 biggest foster programs I know of multiple times, and have found that they're talking about foster in about 33% of social media posts-- in some cases that's more than once a day. Memphis Animal Services is a great example. 

    Here are a few thoughts and examples:

    • A super easy place to start with social media is by creating Stories on FB, IG and Tik Tok. With Stories, you don't have to worry about overdoing it with the subject or number of posts, since your supporters choose to view them. Stories are a GREAT way to introduce pets in foster, make emotional connections and engage foster caregivers. I'm going to put screenshots of some examples below. 
    • Set the expectation from the outset that part of a foster's job is helping with marketing. Some likely won't be comfortable doing this and others may not like doing it, so build in support for them. There are resources for fosters below to help teach them how to market pets, and if you have a volunteer or two who's comfortable on social media you can match them up. 
    • Some shelters have a set time on weekends when foster caregivers can bring their fosters in for a few hours to be on the adoption floor during their busiest hours. Oakland Animal Services (screenshot below) does this every weekend and always does a special post highlighting the foster pets who are going to be at the shelter and when they'll be there.
    If you'd like to chat in more detail, I'm happy to meet with you anytime-- email me at

    Marketing from Foster for Foster Coordinators

    Empowering fosters to help market pets from foster care (webcast)

    Getting foster dogs adopted: 5 tips for foster coordinators (blog)

    Marketing Resources for Foster Caregivers

    6 Guidelines for marketing your foster pet (Blog)

    The Foster Caregiver Marketing Guide (PDF)

    Marketing your foster pet  (Free MU course!)

    Using social media to help shelter pets shine (Free MU course!)

    This is the post one foster caregiver made in the organization's Foster FB group:

    And this is the Story  the org posted using content from the foster:

    PACC's foster resource page includes contact info for others who can help fosters market their pets:

    Kelly Duer
    Maddie's Fund

  • 5.  RE: Promoting Adoptable Animals in Foster Care

    Posted 07-15-2022 11:03 AM
    post adopt a pet, Petfinder and Instagram -Always have a person's number to call (not just shelter number) for adopt appointments and have ready an adopt application to send via email - need a perron to review application and call the people back asap to make a n appt to come it to meet the animal 
    Our data base program ASM does that automatically for us -we enter once photo and write up -then aprox 10 sites are auto posted.

    Heather Bechtel

  • 6.  RE: Promoting Adoptable Animals in Foster Care

    Posted 07-18-2022 05:42 PM
    It really depends for us. We usually are promoting the animals in the shelter, however, depending on the situation, we promote our foster pets from time to time as well. We usually will write a compelling story...story telling can be so powerful. We tend to get creative and silly with our posts sometimes too. We wrote a story once about a cat that we said was retired from her CEO position at the cat food taste testing facility and now likes to lounge and watch reruns of My Cat From Hell. We tagged Jaxon Galaxy in the post and he picked it up and ran with it. We use really good photos as well.  Hopefully, that helps!

    Erin Ellis
    Community Engagement Director
    Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe

    Foster Program & Volunteer Management Specialist