The very first thing that you have to take into consideration when you are formulating a press release is your audience.  For large corporations, the format is going to be quite different than for smaller groups.  The big companies are generally well known, so it doesn’t take much to grab the public’s eye, and for the most part it isn’t necessary for them to have to give the public an overview of the things that they do.

For smaller organizations, it can sometimes be necessary to get some information about the things that you do out to the public within the body of the piece, and not just focus on the specific topic of what the press release is based on.  You have to make sure that people know what it is they are donating their time or money to, because there is such a plethora of smaller organizations, that it can become very overwhelming for the common person to really have a solid idea of what the goals of each one are.

Once you get past that back story, what your organization does on a daily basis, and you move into the press release itself, you want to approach it almost like an advertisement.  It is always going to fall back onto how large and how well known the organization is when you are deciding how to address the target audience, but the absolute best advice is, the smaller the organization, the more personal you want the release to be.  You want to feel like you are selling yourself to the audience, because you are.

When you are reaching out to people about the fundraisers, or pet adoption events that you are hosting, you have to make them feel like they are a part of it before they even arrive.  For most pet parents and possible adopters, animal rescue is more than just a charity, it’s something that strikes them closest to home.  When a person not only believes in the cause, but knows that it is something that has effected them personally, their response to your organization will be much greater.  Your press release should not only educate, it should also welcome the reader in as a friend and an ally to the cause.

Fall Fundraiser Ideas

September 7, 2015

Fundraising for your organization doesn’t have to be a boring proposition.  Now that the vacations are over and the kids are settling back into school routines, you have an opportunity to encourage some seasonal fun while raising much-needed funds.  Here are a few ideas:

Hold a Harvest Festival
Invite local businesses to participate, bringing in samples, giveaways, and games.  A dog-kisses booth for donations and showcasing the friendliest animals available for adoption can bring in a steady stream of dollars.  Crown a non-human Harvest King and Queen, and offer photos with the winners for a donation.

Howl-o-Ween Costume Contests
Pictures of animals in costumes tend to go viral easily.  Hold a Halloween costume contest for furry companions, and have participants send in a photo to be judged.  Put them up on Facebook or another social media or free photo site, and allow users/viewers to “vote” with a “like”.  Participants will share these photos, bringing more traffic and awareness to your organization, where you can link them to a donation page to support your mission.

Dog Wash
Many schools are requiring a public service component now, and you can capitalize on this trend by recruiting school students and organizations for free help.  Put them to work in a dog wash event, for example, setting it up like a car wash, with signs and visibility from a road.  (Make sure the animals are safely secured while washing, of course!)  Take lots of pictures to use online later, for those who couldn’t make the event.  Sudsy dogs grab attention.

Fun Run
If your region has “fun runs”, which many do, talk to those in charge about holding a parallel event:  a fun run with your pet.  It doesn’t have to be as long or grueling as its human equivalent.  Even a one-mile pet jaunt with sponsorship, both individual and overall, can raise money and promote exercise and fitness for humans and animal companions.  Again, taking lots of pictures for an after-the-event donation page is a good idea.

Autumn Art Auction
Open up submissions to local artists for animal-themed art donations, set in fall colors.  Invite both animal lovers and art patrons, and auction the pieces.  Alternatively, ask for digital files and create an ebook of the works as a seasonal fundraiser.

With a little creativity, your organization can have a donation-rich fall season…and a little fun while you’re at it.

There are many things you can do for marketing your organization and the animals and community you serve as an animal rescue and shelter. First and foremost, you need to have ads that catch the viewer’s eye and hold their attention. It’s not hard to do, but there are a few key points that are often successful.

Show pictures of the animals at their best.  Using good lighting, along with a smiling face, goes a long way with presenting them in a positive light. Give a good description of the animal, along with what type of home they would do best in, such as “Needs to be the only dog in the house,” or “Loves dogs/cats and children,” etc.

Post videos of animals interacting with people and other pets. Give each animal a short bio. Keep it simple and short to get your message across.

Tell people what they can do to help.  Keep it positive and upbeat.  Let them know you are available to help them and will work with them after adopting a pet.

Let the public know of the work you do in the community as an animal rescue and shelter.  Hold events and invite people to come by and say hello. Make contacting you easy by providing all your contact information: phone numbers, email, website and all your social media accounts. Be sure to respond quickly to all inquiries and assist in whatever way you can to answer people’s questions and help them with their concerns. Have flyers and business cards available to give out at your events.

Tell people how amazing you are. Let them know how much you care and most importantly, acknowledge and thank everyone who helps.  Always keep it positive and upbeat. Share all your successes. Follow-up and promote successful adoptions.

Show pictures of your volunteers and have them tell their stories of why they volunteer and what it has done for them. Tell your readers why they should volunteer and why they should help you. Invite them to contact you to find out more. Let them know that all help is appreciated and you welcome it.

Your work and message are important. People want to know about you and want to help. Don’t be shy about who you are and what you do. Push the message of it’s all about helping the animals. That’s the key to successful marketing.

Dealing with an aggressive animal can be difficult and overwhelming. Typically when an animal is aggressive in some way it is because they are feeling afraid and the need to be defensive occurs. Sadly, sometimes, aggression occurs through training if a puppy at a young age falls into the wrong hands of an individual whose soul purpose is to train that dog to fight.  Thankfully, there are helpful ways to rehabilitate any animal that has aggressive issues so euthanizing that animal does not have to occur. You just have to find out the cause of the aggression and realize some essential key factors first.

Discover the Form of Aggression it Has 

Just as humans can act out in an aggressive way from hurt, animals can too. Animals have feelings and need lots of tender love and care. When animals do not receive the tender love and care they so rightfully deserve they begin to act out in ways that you may feel are dangerous such as biting, scratching, leaping at you, growling, or hissing. Remember, these are forms of self-defense in an animal’s mind. Learning the cause of the aggression will help you find a solution to it. Some forms of aggression in animals are:

  • Territorial Aggression
  • Defensive Aggression
  • Social Aggression
  • Frustration-Elicited Aggression
  • Redirected Aggression
  • Pain Elicited Aggression
  • Predatory Aggression

Retrain the Animal to Develop Better Behavior 

Once you have learned the type of aggression the animal is suffering from you can than safely help retrain the animal’s mind and rehabilitate it using the right training techniques. Thankfully, animal shelters have trainers that help rehabilitate an animal before they go out to new homes. However, if you do not have the privilege of receiving a rehabilitated animal from an animal shelter and need assistance call in a professional to help you with the process.

Show the Animal Tender Love and Care

Anytime you are rehabilitating animal you have to have patience and provide it with lots of tender love and care. You want the animal to begin to trust and feel safe again so it doesn’t  feel the need to defend itself. It is also essential you always show the animal you care and it is doing good in the training process by providing it with treats and toys it loves most. Providing the animal with comforting things they love helps with the healing process too.

Every animal shelter’s main goal is to connect animals with people to give a pet a loving “forever home.” Sometimes, obstacles get in the way of creating that connection. With a little ingenuity, shelter operators can make some simple changes that will result in more animal adoptions that will give pets a second chance in life.

Highlight a Few Animals at a Time

Walking into a shelter and seeing hundreds of animals at once can be daunting for prospective adopters. Too many choices can overwhelm people and make them reluctant to make any choice at all. By limiting the number of animals in view, adopters will feel like they have meaningfully interacted with the available pets, resulting in an increased chance of animal adoptions.

Put Less Adoptable Animals Closer to the Entrance

A lot of people come into the shelter with one goal – to adopt the cutest puppy or kitten they see. By giving higher visibility to adult animals, people may just find an animal that steals their heart. Additionally, some shelters are putting puppies and kittens in a separate area near the back of the shelter so that people have a chance to view all of the animals before seeing the babies.

Use Elevated Crates

Placing cats and smaller dogs in elevated viewing areas makes it easier for people to interact with them. Not having to bend or crouch makes the viewing experience more comfortable for a potential adopter and allows them more time make a connection with a particular animal. Also consider putting toys in crates to motivate the animals to be more active.

Groom and Accessorize

A well-groomed animal is more attractive to a prospective adopter than one that is less maintained. Adequate brushing is a low-maintenance step to keeping animals’ coats healthy and shiny. Adding bright-colored hair bows or bandanas is another way to up the cuteness factor and grab the attention of a would-be adopter.

Mix Different Breeds in the Same Crate

Pairing common breeds alongside more exotic breeds is an effective strategy in getting all animals noticed. Someone who is drawn to an English bulldog will also get a chance to interact with a black lab or dachshund, two breeds that are over-represented in shelters.

Hosting an adoption event properly is essential for helping the animals you love so much find loving homes. If you need tips on running an adoption event successfully here are some helpful tips to get you off to a good start.

Plan the Event Accordingly 

Before you can host an adoption event, you need to plan it out accordingly. You need to figure out what animals in the shelter you are hosting the adoption event for and where you want to hold the adoption even such as:

  • Inside a Shopping Mall
  • Empty Store Front
  • Busy Parking Lot
  • Pet Boutique
  • Pet Stores
  • At a Festival

You want to choose a place that has heavy traffic and allows you to host a pet adoption event without costing you fines or other hassles. You want the places you pick to be family oriented too.

Advertise the Event

Next, it is time to advertise the event. Make sure you send out emails, post flyers and ads in the newspapers and spread the word about the event to all friends and family members. Provide the date, time and address of where the event is being held. Consider posting flyers or posters in local hot spots of the animals from the shelter that will be at the adoption event so people can learn about the animals before going to the event and have a chance of falling in love with them. This will help increase the chances of animals from the shelter finding new loving homes.

Bring Adoption Forms to all Adoption Events 

If you are going to host an adoption event always have adoption forms and applications for potential new pet owners to fill out while they are at the event visiting with all the animals that need new homes. Once the event is over, you can take the time to go through the applications and look over potentially new pet owners that would provide the best home and care the animals in your shelter so rightfully deserve.

End Thoughts for Hosting Adoption Events 

With proper planning and preparation for an adoption, event success will occur and soon the animals in your shelter will be with loving families. Just make sure the families you are allowing to adopt the animals are loving people who truly do adore animals. Nothing is worse than adopting an animal out to someone who just wants a pet just because.

When running an animal shelter it is often tempting to keep your focus on the care and treatment of the animals. However owners of the shelters should be aware of weaknesses within the organization that can affect their day to day running and effectiveness.

Weaknesses in the processes at your animal shelter can lead to ineffective care to the animals. It is hard to see problems from the inside but visitors will easily see them and any apparent fault seen may affect the amount patrons donate or animal adoption rates. Without this support from the public; the care for the animals in your care will suffer.

You should conduct reviews on a regular basis to spot areas in need of improvement. Reviews are the best method to identify weaknesses in your processes. You may feel that managers are best suited for this role, but staff can play an important part too. It is the staff and volunteers who are regularly following the process and so pick up on problems that managers might not realize are present. If both management and staff compile their lists of weaknesses, you may find common issues which should become the key areas to improve.

It is best practice that reviews are completed on a regular basis. If they are done too infrequently; then problems may arise that could have been avoided. However animal shelters should be careful not to do them too often as this can hinder the running of the organization. A recommended time period between reviews is about three months.

Owners are also encouraged to carry out staff and volunteer performance reviews. This will aid in recognizing unfamiliarity with processes or skill sets that are incomplete. Once these areas have been identified, your staff can be given extra training improving their abilities. Training has also been proven to improve moral which can boost performance at an animal shelter.

Once areas needing improvement have been acknowledged you can formulate a step by step action plan to tackle each one. Keep each step simple and specific so it is easy to follow and implement. Inform your staff to make sure that they know what they have to do.

You will notice that as soon as improvements are implemented, the care you provide for the animals will be better. Thus keeping your high standard of care image to visitors; gaining their continued support.