As social media use continues to rise, organizations, including animal welfare organizations, are relying on it to deliver their message, increase donations, and spread awareness. While the platforms are beneficial to your animal shelter, they also open the door to potential risks. If you or a volunteer posts the wrong thing, what was innocent can quickly damage your reputation.

Many animal welfare organizations choose to institute a social media policy and guidelines that volunteers agree to in order to volunteer for the organization. Before creating your own social media policy, it is best to outline what is and what is not acceptable behavior for volunteers. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of popular points to consider below.

The first policy you need to create should address volunteers posting on your organization’s behalf. Questions to answer include:

  • Who will curate content?
  • Who will publish it?
  • What channels do volunteers need to go through for approval?
  • Who will monitor and respond to comments and conversations on the business page?

It is a good idea to not add every volunteer as an editor or administrator on your account. Defining these roles up front limits any confusion. Once this is defined, you can create a strategy that:

  • Supports your mission and vision
  • Creates guidelines for what is acceptable or not acceptable
  • Illustrates your values as an organization

There is some debate on the legality of limiting or controlling volunteers’ personal activities on social media. It is especially important to outline what is acceptable and what is not because they often list organizations they volunteer at on their profile or promote your organization. If a volunteer posts something inappropriate, others may think your animal welfare organization condones their actions and choose to no longer support your mission. Here are several items to address in this section:

  • Define your core principles.
  • If they have doubts, skip posting.
  • If something is controversial, include a disclaimer stating their opinions are solely their own.
  • Never post pictures of someone harming animals.
  • Never post pictures that negate the quality of care your organization provides to animals.
  • Don’t post anything illegal.
  • Never share sensitive information about donors or adopting families.

Creating a social media policy helps to guide volunteers to make better decisions when they share information publicly. When implemented properly and volunteers are held accountable for their actions, the reputation of your animal welfare organization remains positive.

Social media can literally save lives at your animal shelter, especially if your shelter is a kill shelter. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest can help:

  • Reunite lost pets with owners
  • Save pets scheduled to be euthanized
  • Bring in much needed supplies when they are most needed
  • Raise money for needed health care for specific animals
  • Help raise money and get volunteers during natural disasters
  • Bring in funds to help save more animals

The best thing about these social media websites is that they are free to join and free to use. Your shelter can purchase ads to help promote adoption events or spay-neuter clinics, but these are not entirely necessary to effectively use social media.
Take Good Pictures
Social media is a visual medium. Just sending out a tweet that a Beagle has been found wandering down Main Street isn’t enough to grab Twitter users’ attentions and heartstrings. You need to take one or more photos of this lost beagle and post them on Instagram and Facebook, which support pictures. You can then link Twitter to these posts.
You do not need fancy camera equipment to take good pictures. It’s best to take a photo of a pet with a background that contrasts to the pet’s color. For example, black pets stand out best against pale colors. Digital cameras and smartphones take excellent pictures. You may need to get an animal’s attention with a squeaky toy or food in order to get the pet to stay still for a good shot.

Update Regularly
Social media is not a one-time only thing. You need to update your sites regularly in order to reach the maximum amount of eyeballs reading your important messages. You do not need to post every day, but once a week is the minimum you should do. Make sure you spend time not only posting requests or pictures of animals for adoption, but also answer questions sent to you from others.
If emergencies happen and no one at your shelter can post on any social media sites for at least a week, please note that on your social media sites. Apologize when you can for not doing the weekly or regular update as soon as you can. By following these netiquette tips, you will keep your followers from disliking you or stop following your shelter.

Animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses – are taken in by animal shelters and rescues every day. Often times they come from unfortunate situations. Sometimes they come from amazing homes and families but uncontrollable circumstances arise forcing the family to give the animal up. No matter what their history consists of – they are sure to find comfort and safety in the shelter or rescue. Animal shelters and rescues work hard to find forever homes for these animals. One of the keys to raising awareness and interest in the animals available for adoption is successful marketing.

Animal shelters and rescues utilize several marketing strategies to increase organization awareness and capture the attention of potential adopters. Common methods used by successful animal shelters and rescues include:

  • Adoption events
  • Online advertisements
  • Social media posts
  • Fundraisers
  • Open house events
  • Website page highlighting the animals

Getting potential adopters in the door (or on your website) is the first step in any of these techniques. How do you spark their interest? How do you make them fall in love and want to adopt one of your animals? The secret is writing a profile or bio about the animal they can’t ignore.

A bio they can’t refuse
You might not consider yourself a creative writer, but you need to. Utilize these five techniques to write create animal bios that work.

  1. Pull at their heart strings. Grabbing their attention starts with their hearts. In the first few sentences focus on those feelings. When you look at the animal – what do you see in their eyes or facial expression? Excitement, desire for a home, seriousness? Talk about that in your opening remarks. Use this example to guide you: “Roxy is looking for an energetic, fun-loving active family.” Or “Max needs a calm and peaceful home to spend his days relaxing.”
  2. Be honest. Honesty is vital. Make sure your description truly meets the needs of the animal and attracts the right family by telling them the truth.
  3. List the facts (even the negative ones). List facts about the animal – weight, color, and breed. Provide a history including where they came from, likes, needs, and dislikes.
  4. Include a call to action. Tell the potential adopter what steps to take next. Contact your animal shelter, talk to a volunteer, or fill out a volunteer application. They need to know what their next step is and are more likely to take action in the moment.
  5. Include a photo. Always include a photo of the animal – especially if you are listing the bio on the Internet. Pictures provide readers with a “face” and increase their desire to want to meet the animal in person.  Online posts with pictures are more likely to be read and shared by followers. The more individuals that see available animals – the better chance they have of being adopted.

Boost your marketing efforts with better animal bios and profiles. Make it impossible for potential adopters to say no by utilizing these five tips.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of animal shelters across the country. While big name animal shelters often get a great deal of notice, there are many shelters that continue to operate under the radar, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways for animal shelters to get noticed quickly, and we’ve collected 7 easy ways to do just that.
1. Use Social Media
Social media is a quick, easy and often free way to get your shelter noticed. Starting a Twitter feed and building a circle of followers can be great advertising for an animal shelter. Facebook and Instagram are great options, too.
2. Offer Promotions
Adoption promotions are a great way to boost adoption rates and garner attention for your animal shelter. Slashing adoption fees, offering special “dog days” and “cat days” can get the community off their couch and into the center.
3. Pick a Spokesdog
Several animal shelters have gained significant awareness by promoting their shelter with a spokesdog. An animal shelter in Milwaukee gained significant awareness by taking their spokesdog, Gracie, to iconic areas around the city and handing out informational packets to passersby.
4. Create Videos
YouTube is a great medium for animal shelters. Take videos of the day-to-day activities at the shelter. Social transparency is a huge theme in business in 2015, and It translates well to animal shelters, too. YouTube can also be integrated into Facebook and other social media sites with great ease.
5. Interact and Engage
Once you have your social media sites set, you’ll need to engage with your audiences. Ask questions, run “cutest pet” contests and offer interesting content. The goal is to get users to engage with your sites and share your content so you can garner more followers.
6. The Newspaper
While print media has largely fallen out of favor with many people, the medium is still a great place to advertise special animal shelter events. Many newspapers offer both print and digital ad campaigns.
7. Talk to the TV Stations
Local news stations often look for “feel good” segments, so keep in contact with producers. This can help you garner your 15 minutes of fame on local media outlets, which can lead to a huge influx of community member coming into the animal shelter.
Exposure can make or break an animal shelter. While many shelters operate with a limited budget, getting the name out there needn’t be

Facebook is one of the world’s most popular social networks today. Due to this fact, many businesses have adopted its use in marketing and selling their products and services. But just how do you market your Animal Shelter on Facebook?

Here are 7 Facebook marketing tips to employ.
1. Define your goals- Success in online marketing starts with you having clear set goals and objectives. When you have clear goals, you will work to make sure that everything you will be doing on the platform would be for the purposes of accomplishing your set goals.
2. Build a foundation for your Facebook audience- If you are first starting out on Facebook, you can send email to the people in your contact lists asking them to like your page and share it with friends. This gives your supporters the knowledge that you are on Facebook and will also offer you a great head start in terms of building your presence on Facebook.
3. Try and show the personality of the organization- As a Animal Shelter, it is vital to make sure you show the human perspective of your organization. You can post photos of staff members in the office, volunteer work going on or even share videos of people with the animals and why they love working with the animals.
4. Try and reach out to people individually- Speaking out to people directly helps you to effectively grab their attention. They will be getting notifications whenever you do so and thus your communication will be much better. This also shows that you value the people in your circles.
5. Optimize your Facebook posts- If you are posting any information on your Facebook page, you need to make sure it is well optimized. For instance, if you want to post a blog link or an article, be sure that the thumbnail image appears clearly.
6. Post large images with links in the descriptions- The tiny images that appear when you post a link on your facebook page will not do much in terms of attracting attention. Rather than having to post a status update, you can upload a large high quality photo and then include a link in its description.
7. Turn on the similar pages suggestions- When a user likes your Facebook page, Facebook might suggest other similar pages. In order for your page to be included in these suggestions, you will have to edit the settings.

Dog Blog

October 30, 2013

Are you and your dog getting bored with the monotonous walks around the neighborhood? Of course you are! Humans and dogs alike need to change it up once in a while. Luckily, there is a website for dog owners to get their  next adventure for them and their furry friend to go on. Just copy and paste this URL into your web browser  This website also informs dog owners on pick-up tips from outdoor experts, allows owners to share their own stories with fellow dog lovers, and earn point that can be used for donations to non-profit animal organizations and prizes for themselves and their pup. You’ll never run out of activities to do with your dog!

Okay, I know you’re excited with the points so I’ll start with that. The way that you earn these points is by sharing the featured articles, posts, images, videos, etc., submitting a post, and getting your post approved and posted on the site. Check out this page to see exactly what your points get you Now, all you need to do is start making memories with your dog, posting them on this blog, and earning donations for great causes.

You Tube has grown to be a huge website with no signs of slowing down. The videos are all user submitted, and quite a few of them are videos of their pets doing cute and silly things. A lot of these videos are popular and have acquired over millions of views. If you are in charge of an animal shelter and are looking to increase adoptions, making videos of the shelter animals may be in your best interest.

There are quite a few stars that have found their start on You Tube. Justin Beiber was discovered for his great singing talents from videos his mother submitted on the site, and now he is one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Other talented people have rose to popularity, and make a respectable living from their user submitted videos. However, some of the biggest stars on the video sharing site are not even human.

Maru the cat is a Scottish Fold cat from Japan that has become famous for doing silly stuff like jumping in boxes. It may sound silly from an outsider’s perspective, but the cat’s videos get more hits than a lot of videos starring humans. Currently, Maru’s videos have been viewed over 200 million times. Fans of these videos fawn over his cuteness, and probably wish they had a cat like him. Your shelter may not have a Maru in it, but there are probably many great dogs and cats waiting to be discovered by prospective owners. Viewers of You Tube videos may be the target audience to find your animals forever homes.

Finding forever homes for the animals in your shelter is your ultimate goal, and You Tube could help you achieve it. Someone in your town may watch a video submitted by you featuring one of your animals, and may decide to adopt it. If you make several videos, and it only results in one adoption, you can call that a success. That may be one pet adoption you would not get otherwise. Make You Tube videos featuring your shelter animals today. You’ll be glad you did.


Starting an animal rescue shelter requires planning, equipment & facility preparation and sufficient funds. The initial step is to decide which type of animal you need to create shelter for and the number of animals you will comfortably cater for. Depending on your resources and facilities, you can take any number of animals you want. Below is a quick guide on how to start a rescue shelter.


Assuming you have the necessary skills and training in taking care of animals, you need to find a suitable location to set up the facility. You need an ample space to ensure safety of the animals. Do not forget to check out zoning regulations for the piece of land that the facility will be built on. Take you time to evaluate whether the existing structures on the land can be converted for your own use.

Legal considerations

If your rescue shelter qualifies for 501 c 3 status, donors and contributors will be allowed to offer you supplies, food and money. Usually, it takes three to six months to attain 501 c 3 status after completing the paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service. Ensure that you have checked the licenses required by your city and state to run such a venture.

Donations and fundraising

This is most crucial part in starting an animal rescue shelter. You can start a membership program for animal lovers in your community. This way you will be able to raise some funds to support your venture. You can also add donation buttons on your website and be sure to acknowledge those who support you. Pet food companies may offer discounts on your purchases and well wishers may offers services and goods which are equally important as financial contributions.

Veterinary services

Proper health care services is another important issue when setting up a rescue shelter. It is advised that one should build a good relationship with a local veterinarian. Some veterinary clinics will accept to offer discounts on health services for all animals that have been rescued.

Finally, you will also need to obtain insurance to cover you in case a person in injured or bitten by your animals or hurt in your premises. Typically, starting an animal rescue shelter needs personal contribution, passion for animals and patience in order to achieve your ambitions.

Are you in charge of managing your animal rescue shelter or animal welfare website? If so, you are likely using this website to provide useful information on how to help rescue animals, bring them to a shelter, take care of rescued animals, and maybe even donate to the cause.  If the website is unattractive, hard to read, or unorganized people will likely not have their interest held long enough to obtain any useful information.

Keep it short
When trying to find information on a topic; people are searching for a quick answer most of the time.  Compose content in the shortest way possible.  Bullet points and short paragraphs are not anywhere near as intimidating as a giant block of text is.

Keep it simple
The layout of a website is very important when trying to attract and keep a visitor’s attention.  If a website is hard to navigate, users may attempt just finding another website that is easier to understand and access. Using a familiar format will help users navigate your site. The following are all great ways to help users:
-Well-labeled tabs
-A search bar
-Links to social media sites
-Contact information at the bottom of the page
-Minimal colors and font sizes

Keep it accurate and up-to-date
If there’s one thing website users dislike, it’s outdated information.  It can be very frustrating, especially when people are taking the time to donate to a non-profit organization.  Make sure that all information is updated often, and that all the information on the website is accurate.

These suggestions can make your website stand out, and make your website more useful to both you (to boost functionality and activity of your animal rescue shelter or welfare organization) and users (who want to help your organization).

As we work tirelessly to save America’s unwanted and neglected pets, we know that community support and high-quality volunteers are the keys to keep animal shelters running. Sometimes it may seem impossible to stay on top of educating the public, fostering support and encouraging donations from the public and recruiting new volunteers. In these areas, a well-crafted social media campaign is essential for every animal shelter.

Understanding the benefits of social media is the key towards driving behavior and garnering support, according to the business experts at Forbes Magazine. Adding social media to your community awareness toolbox is essential because:

  • Social media allows you to directly connect with the support system you already have. You can easily keep your volunteers and supporters informed by inviting them to join you on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Using social media allows you to grow your network organically.  Friends can easily invite other friends, helping you garner more support. Connecting your social media accounts to your webpage will allow casual browsers to connect with you.
  • Since social media connects you with people who already have an interest in animal rights, you can take advantage the human desire to help by posting a call to action for your animal shelter.
  • Social media helps give a face to your our cause. You can post additional photos and short bios about all the animals in need. Encourage your supports to share these posts to help increase the likelihood for animal adoption.
  • Perhaps most importantly is that using social media allows you to praise your everyday heroes. Did a family save allowance to buy some much needed supplies? Did four dogs find forever families today? Did a volunteer stay late to clean cages? Tell your Facebook fans all about it. Good news spreads like wildfire.

Of course, it takes some practice to learn how to use your new social media accounts. Be sure to keep these simple tips from the Guide Star Blog in mind when crafting your posts:

  • Facebook is excellent for announcements, praising volunteers and calls to action. Use Twitter to share bits of wisdom and answer questions from supporters. Pinterest is excellent for adding all your behind-the-scenes photos.
  • Be sure your posts are well written and tell stories. Fans connect with the human element of your organization.
  • Be clear and concise. Tell your audience exactly what you need and how it will be utilized.