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.

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.

There will always be a need for animal rescue shelter as more and more people discard their pets especially in bad economic times. Discarding a pet is often the first economy when a family budget is pressed. Other pets are unwanted presents and gifts and are thrown out to fend for themselves. You may feel there is a need a need for an animal rescue shelter in your area. Below we have some tips on how to start a rescue shelter.

1, Stop and think. Is this something you really want to do? You’ll be letting yourself in for considerable commitment and for a long time. Please consider carefully before making a final decision.

2, Do lots of research, you need to know exactly what is involved in running a shelter. Speak to people who have run or running an animal rescue shelter.  It might be an idea to volunteer at an animal shelter to get some hands on experience so you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for.

3, You’ll need to speak to a lawyer to understand the legal implication of starting an animal rescue shelter.

4, Now comes the time to decide on what kind of animal rescue shelter you want to start. Do you want to specialize in dog or cats, or will you be sheltering all kinds of pets.

5, Next you’ll need to write up a mission statement. This is a document that sets out your aims, goals and ambitions for the future. You may need to write the mission statement with the help of a lawyer to ensure the legalities are observed.

6, Find suitable premises and make sure there is room for future expansion.

7, Raise initial funds by arranging garage sales and consider radio, television appeals and press statements. The more initial publicity you get the better.

8. Finally enjoy yourself.  Setting up an animal rescue will have it tribulations but the rewards may make the whole enterprise worthwhile for you, the animals your rescue, and your local community.


Designing an animal shelter website is similar to creating any other website really. You need to make your website as appealing as possible to your target audience. In your case this is probably all animal lovers. There are several key features that your website should include to make sure it is a success.

Information About the Animal Shelter

Let readers know about you, your organization, and what you do. If they have taken the time to visit your website, then they are obviously interested in finding out about your organization. Talk about the animals in your shelter, the staff or volunteers who care for them, the type of work you do, and the various ways you raise money for the upkeep of the shelter.

Photographs of the Animals

It is important that an animal shelter website is visually appealing. You want anyone who visits your site to see the animals who live in the shelter and people who go on animal shelter websites are usually interested in animals. If you are trying to raise money for the shelter, then pictures add the cute factor. Alternatively, if you are trying to re-home animals then letting site visitors see the animals means they are more likely to want to adopt an animal. Accompany each photograph with specific information about each animal.

Contact Information

People need to know hot to contact and find you. They may wish to donate money, adopt an animal, visit the shelter, volunteer or help to raise money. Either have a ‘contact us’ page on the site or clearly provide this information on your home page. Try to include a map as people will find this helpful in finding you.

Social Network Links

Social media marketing is a simple way of letting people know about your website. This in turn raises awareness of the shelter and the work you are doing. Setting up accounts with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or Linked In is easy. Build a list of connections in each and then add links to these accounts from your website. Each time a person ‘likes’ or shares your website with others it will raise awareness of your animal shelter.

Animal rescue efforts cannot keep up with the number of animals needing help each day. To reach more people and spread the word about the growing need for funding and homes for animals, the networks by which word spreads need broadening. Social media remains popular with Facebook leading in popularity. Here you will find other social networking ideas to help garner interest in animal rescue efforts.


Tumblr allows members to post on any issue desired while including links to blogs, websites and YouTube. The website currently receives more the 80-million posts a day. Members post thoughts, interesting facts, videos and pictures. Gaining followers delivers more views of any website linked within.


NING sees more than 7-million users monthly. NING allows members to create their own social website for a monthly fee. They help build the website and help promote it, depending on the package chosen. With the ability to create a unique social website just for animal rescue, the potential for growth becomes larger. Through links provided in blogs at Veterinarian websites and other animal related websites, animal rescue will reach countless people.

Café Mom

MomCafe also hosts more than 7-million users every month. Members can join existing groups or create their own group to promote on the website. Working moms and stay-at-home moms use the website to share information and provide helpful tips on a variety of subjects. Animal rescue will gain followers on MomCafe when a group forms to promote the needs of animals.

Paws Hooves and Claws

New to the social media world, Paws Hooves and Claws offer a Facebook experience to animals and their owners. Through use of the group features, animal rescue will reach more people and do so in a forum specifically dedicated to animals. The website allows links to other web pages and websites for more views.


Petbook features a stray dog group devoted to animal rescues. However, the group only has five members so far. This site creates Facebook-like pages for pets and owners with social features like groups. The potential at Petbook to gain support from the public grows with the ability to write blogs and create interest on other sites, which will link to the stray dog group or a new animal rescue group.

Opportunities to gain support for animal rescue through social media expands with sites dedicated to pets and specific groups who share information daily.

Creating an animal shelter is a noble profession. Animal shelters provide a place for abused, abandoned and homeless animals. In order to start a business helping animals, you must have a passion for animals and helping the needy. In addition to your passion, you must also create a vision. Writing a vision for your shelter is a great way to plan out the growth and development of the shelter. Here are some things you can include in your vision for opening a shelter for animals.

Financing – Where is the money going to come from? You need a building, staff and supplies. You also need the proper licensing and certifications if you don’t already have them. There are grants and donors who can help finance the shelter. If you have money saved, count that in the total you have. Tally up how much you need now and in the future.

Types of animals – Will your shelter be just for dogs, cats, or both. There are many types of animals. You should narrow down the list and be realistic about the animals you would like to care for.

Capacity – How many animals will you take in? How long will you keep them? What are the laws in your state concerning how many animals are allowed? You should definitely know the answer to this before completing your vision.

Services – What services will you offer? Will you partner with a local vet clinic and other non-profits? Make sure this is included in the vision to provide clarity.

When writing your vision you should make it clear and to the point. Many of the points in your vision can help you build a successful business plan and a mission statement to guide your staff. Opening an animal shelter can be a wonderful and rewarding service. Take the time to think about all the steps before you begin.

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.

Animal shelters try to find good homes for the animals in their care but not all are successful. Dogs are great family protectors and make excellent companions for the elderly but often do not get a chance to for adoption because the people coming in to the shelter are few and far between. One way to encourage more pet adoptions is to advertise in various ways some of the animals the shelter has that need good homes. Here are a few ideas for ways to increase animal adoptions by raising awareness and educating potential pet owners.

Spotlight a featured animal

Every shelter has at least one favorite pet that volunteers would take home if they could. Why not take out a small ad in a weekly publication and spotlight one animal per week?  Or a mention on a local public television channel. These animals have personalities and will make someone a great pet if given a chance.

Hold a Pet Fair or Fundraising Event

These are great events to get pet owners and potential pet owners to come out and participate. People can come out and meet a few of the animals brought to the event and get to know them. This gets the public out to meet the animals and possibly find one they want to take home.

“Sponsor a Pet”

A school class or local business adopts an animal as a group or sponsors an animal adoption by actively participating in activities and events to encourage people to adopt that animal. Businesses can put up a flyer or business size card with information about the animal and shelter contact numbers in their office for visitors.

Make Animal Adoptions Affordable

Family budgets are tighter these days than they used to be and many families would like to adopt a pet but may not be able to afford the fees to do so. One suggestion is to make adoption more affordable by waiving fees or offering a free spay or neuter for each animal.

Educate the Public about Pet Breeds

Many dogs have been given a bad reputation because of their breed. Some people won’t adopt a dog that they think will grow to be too big, or because they’ve heard they can be aggressive. The public needs more education about dog breeds and dogs in general, and then we’ll see more animal adoptions and reduce the population of homeless animals.

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).

Like any small business, an animal rescue shelter is faced with the difficulty of figuring out how to market while still sticking to its figures. The difference? While small businesses are certainly on a budget that’s required to make things run smoothly, an animal rescue shelter is working with a far smaller budget (and sometimes, a far greater need for attention).

While the Internet can seem like an overwhelming stage on which to perform your marketing show, the reality is that once you embrace it, you’re embracing some great marketing that you can do on a zero dollar budget! Freeing your mind can mean freeing your wallet, and you’ll probably come out on the other side with some great new publicity!

Here are some tips to help you get your animal rescue shelter up and running your marketing campaign on a shoestring budget:

  • Facebook. Maybe it sounds simple, or maybe it sounds overwhelming. In either case, you should find it essential. Much of the world lives on Facebook, and the thing that makes this great for your organization is that this is free marketing! Create a page, have your already-loyal fans “like” you, and post, post, post! Create a welcoming space that invites supporters to post pictures of their adopted pets or ask questions about how to handle their recently adopted pets. Make sure you monitor the site, and interact with your visitors!
  • Twitter. This is another must-do social media concept. With thousands of Twitter followers just waiting to Tweet about your organization, this is the new word-of-mouth concept that you can’t afford to miss out on!
  • Yelp! The oldest marketing trick in the book is word-of-mouth. When you do great work in your community, let the community do a little marketing for you by bragging about how much they love you. Some people think that Yelp! is simply a forum to rate great restaurants, but this is quite the contrary. Yelp! is a forum where your community can brag about you and tell everyone else about the great work you’re doing!

While navigating the “no budget” budget can seem overwhelming, if you give it a little time and effort, the community is here to do some amazing marketing for you. Let the people that love your work do a little work for you, and embrace the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp! Your animals will thank you for it!