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Old 07-27-2009, 04:27 PM
 
Location: California
423 posts, read 1,324,631 times
Reputation: 414

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So I'm a volunteer at a rescue and a city shelter, where I walk dogs and help out at adoption events. Primarily, though, what I do is post ads for our dogs online, and network to breed-specific rescues.

I have a list of adoption websites, but mainly use Craigslist (it works, and most people know about it.) I don't know if I'm allowed to post my list here, but would be happy to share it if it's allowed to post, or via PM.

Anyway, I was curious how other rescues & shelters handle marketing? I'm pretty much the marketing department for my rescue (for adoptions, which we're not focused on as much - mainly we do a training program with shelter dogs & kids.) I'm making it up as I go along. So my questions -

For ADOPTERS - How did you hear about your dog? What stood out about the description, etc? Did you get an accurate idea of the dog's personality from the ad? What information did you need, that was not in the ad? Any other comments?

For RESCUES/SHELTERS:

1. Do you mainly advertise for individual animals, or for the shelter/rescue as a whole? Or only for events?

2. Where do you advertise? Websites, newspapers, flyers at Petsmart? Direct mail?

3. Does your group have a budget for marketing, or is it all volunteer & free ads?

4. What venue(s) do you get the most response from? (Internet, newspapers, etc.?) What about the BEST response - most qualified homes, for rescues that check on that?

5. Do you track how adopters heard about you/the dog? If so, how?

6. Wording of ads...do you find that certain ads get more response than others? What does a "good" ad look like? What's the best information to put in/leave out/highlight...etc.

Maybe post some examples and we can critique them! I'll start with a couple of mine.

This is the format I usually use for the rescue. They write their own bios, and I usually haven't met the dog:

Quote:
Hi, Iím Brandie the snuggle bug . They think Iím a shepherd/terrier/sharpei mix. Iím a very smart girl about 1 year old and 35 lbs. Iím learning all my basic obedience skills from my k9 connection student. I love going to school and I canít wait for a home of my own. Come and meet me soon!

Brandie is a female German Shepherd Mix. She came to the shelter as a stray on 2/26/09. Brandie is a super sweet and gets along with other dogs and cats. She is currently working with K9 Connection who is teaching her basic commands.

BRANDIE IS A SPAYED FEMALE
GERMAN SHEPHERD/SHARPEI MIX
APROX. 1 YEAR OLD. AT THE
WEST LOS ANGELES SHELTER
SINCE FEBRUARY 2009
IMPOUND #

She has been:
* TEMPERAMENT TESTED TO BE IN THE K9 PROGRAM.
* IN TRAINING BY A STUDENT HANDLER.
* TAKES TRAINING WELL.
* FRIENDLY WITH DOGS
* TESTED WELL WITH CATS.
GOOD DOG!

CONTACT K9 CONNECTION to adopt or foster. Fostering is really easy with K9, we provide all of the food, toys, supplies, and vet care - you provide the love!
(PHONE #)
OR
WEST LOS ANGELES SHELTER:
(CONTACT INFO)
IMPOUND #
Photos are, of course, included.

And here's an example of what I post for shelter dogs. This one in particular, I met and wrote a bio for, but often I'm just passing along other volunteers' bios on dogs I haven't met:

Quote:
RUBY the German Shepherd has it all - brains, looks, and class...


...all she needs now is a home!

RUBY - ID#

My name is Ruby and I am a spayed female, black and brown German Shepherd Dog mix.

The shelter thinks I am about 5 years old.

I have been at the shelter since Jun 29, 2009.

Ruby is a sweet, smart girl. She's a beautiful German Shepherd, mostly black with tan/sable and some adorable white freckles on her chest! She's on the smaller side, probably around 50 lbs. She knows sit and shake, and walks well on a leash with some direction, and doesn't jump. Friendly and submissive with people, and medium energy. She enjoyed exploring the large play yard today - at a polite jog. No crazy puppy antics for Ruby, she's a dignified lady! She can be dog-reactive so would do best as an only dog with an experienced owner.

WEST LOS ANGELES
(contact info)

HOURS OF PUBLIC OPERATION:
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:56 PM
 
13,773 posts, read 33,831,619 times
Reputation: 10553
I volunteer at the Animal Control shelter in my town. We use petfinder as do many animal control and rescue groups. There are other websites but most folks know petfinder. We have NO money for anything including food so everything has to be free. I make up flyers for adoption events and place them around town. We hold adoption event at strip malls around town. We have gotten the newspaper to put in a story or ad about a dog/cat ocassionally.

Personally I think the ads like you write are the best way to perk interest in a dog/cat.

Many ppl are wary about using Craigslist to adopt out dogs/cats. There are all kind of rumors. I know the worry here is because of dog fighting.

I am looking for a letter of appreciation to send to the stores that let us hold adoptions and give us food.
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Old 07-27-2009, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,815 posts, read 55,781,243 times
Reputation: 18994
I think your ads are good! I have adopted several cats and dogs, mostly from petfinder but also from an article in the newspaper. I like a description of behavior, such as you have given, along with a good picture of the animal looking friendly. I have seen some pictures where the animal looked a little scary. They should have taken another one. Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:57 AM
 
6,764 posts, read 19,718,910 times
Reputation: 4688
We found our dog on Petfinder...it's just easy to search.
I don't know about Craig's List...I don't trust a lot of those ads.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:00 AM
 
2,064 posts, read 6,005,499 times
Reputation: 1416
We used Petfinder when we were searching for both of our dogs. We say a couple pictures of dogs we were interested in and went to the shelter. Ironically, both times we picked a different dog at the shelter than the one we were interested in. I think one of the main things is to keep Petfinder updated. Particularly at the shelters where there is a high turnover. We would go to the shelter and several of the dogs that were online were gone already but there pictures were still up. And many of the dogs that are there aren't posted online. It is a bit frustrating and disappointing but I understand the difficulty in keeping it updated. Just an observation.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:47 AM
 
Location: California
10,091 posts, read 36,766,044 times
Reputation: 22096
The rescue I am involved with, also used primarily PetFinder. They are very leery of CraigsList these days.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,242 posts, read 13,980,891 times
Reputation: 6062
I use Petfinder, Adopt-A-Pet, etc. Many of the sites are linked into other sites, so for instance if you post on Petfinder they automatically link it in to other sites - I think Purina has one.

I also have a website set up for the rescue and I advertise on local internet sites. I'm on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook. I've got business cards that I leave everyplace - stores, vets offices, etc.

I've got the website for my rescue, my Petfinder, Adopt-A-Pet etc types of sites, Twitter, Facebook, etc sites all on my signature line of my e-mail too.

I think your postings for them are great. Right now it's just battling the economy to get them in homes.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:17 AM
 
7,422 posts, read 13,677,759 times
Reputation: 4944
i'll add to the chorus of approval - i think your ads are really good. i know i really want to hear a lot about the animal's personality when i'm looking, although i always end up making my decision at the shelter, not online. the one time i walked into a shelter convinced i was going to adopt a dog i saw on petfinder, i walked out with a different dog! using the cutest pictures possible, and more than one, is a big plus, of course!

you don't want to scare people off with scary warnings, of course, but i think in the long run to prevent more abandoned animals it's important to be up front about any shortcomings that might be a concern as well. put a good spin on it if you can, but be honest.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
725 posts, read 2,565,017 times
Reputation: 581
At work, we are part of a pet-adoption mailing list, and we get emails several times a day with available adoptions (dogs, cats, bunnies, etc)... This might be an option for you. Hope this helps!
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
13 posts, read 22,481 times
Reputation: 30
Default Twitter, Twitter, Twitter

I adopted my dog from a local shelter that I knew about from a friend. I started volunteering there myself when I had time and started realizing how overcrowded shelters have been getting in the past year. I knew the shelter had a Web site that they updated, but I wasn't really sure how many people knew about it.

Because they are not a no-kill shelter, some dogs, like mine who are owner surrenders get a very short time to be adopted before they are euthanized. I had been on Twitter with a personal account and I ran across a group called LastChancePets. I let them know about the shelter and now they check it periodically for urgent cases and update their Twitter with information.

There is a huge animal-rescue base on Twitter and I really recommend getting involved... it's completely free.

Check this article out about the Humane Society for other online tips.

Hope this helps!!
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