7 Ways To Increase Pet Adoptions During Holidays

13 December 2013

Home for the Holidays … Pet Adoption Tips

During the holidays, local animal shelters often fill up. Instead of accepting the defeatist “over-population, nothing we can do” attitude, creative shelters get busy with innovative marketing campaigns to let people know they have pets in need of a home.

How To Increase Adoptions Immediately:

1. Public Relations: Ask the local media to do a story on your shelter’s pets in need of a home for the holidays … and forever! And be truthful; tell the public these pets will be killed if no homes are found for them.

2. Convenient Shopping Hours: A business would fail if it was open only during the hours that people worked. Shelters committed to increasing adoptions and owner reclaims offer hours that match their “customers” lifestyles and open late on weekdays and on weekends when people are off work.

3. A Photo is Worth a Thousand Words: Invite local photographers (pro, hobbyists, and college students) to come to the shelter and take beautiful photos of your homeless pets, then make them available online by using social media. It’s a proven fact; pets shared online have a much greater chance of being adopted than ones who are not! Include a great photo, information about the pet (age, breed, personality, weight, etc.), contact information, and city and state. People care and will share.

4. Offer Low Cost Adoption Specials or Value Added Adoption Fees! Take a lesson from Black Friday … there is a reason people camp out for days in frigid temps and shop amidst the crowds. People want a bargain! They don’t value their purchase any less if they pay less than full price. For a value-added adoption special, consider offering an adoption starter kit such as pet collar, leash, water/food bowl, bag of dog food, training tips, etc.

5. Promotional Flyers Around Town: The local pet stores, fast food restaurants, gift shops, vet offices, and places where people sit and wait like auto repair/oil change shops, doctors and dentists offices, and the DMV, are just a few of the local businesses that may support local pet adoptions by allowing a cute designed pet adoption flyer displayed (on the front door, drive-through window, in the waiting room, etc.)

6. Take the Pets to Where the People Are: Not everyone can go to their animal shelter, where they feel like they are making a “Sophie’s Choice” pet adoption decision. However, when pets are taken to off-site adoption events, they will show their personality responding to the attention they’ll receive and the relief of being out of the shelter. People can make the instant love connection and adopt their new family member. Places to consider: the mall, holiday parades and festivals, pet stores, feed stores, coffee shops, … your city is full of possible adoption partners!

7. Create a Fun & Entertaining Pet Adoption Video: This pet adoption video from Little Traverse Bay Humane Society in Harbor Springs, Michigan is both fun and entertaining and will be seen and shared by pet lovers near and far. Just as auto dealerships promote “year end specials” animal shelters can too. Click the arrow below to enjoy!

Little Traverse Bay Humane Society. Harbor Springs, Michigan

Pet Adoption Video by Little Traverse Bay Humane Society. Harbor Springs, Michigan

What are your favorite adoption promotions and tips?

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  1. I help out at our local “no kill” shelter in a small rural town in west Texas. I follow your postings on PawsitivelyTexas.com I recently order a T-shirt from you for your fund raiser.

    Keep up the GREAT work. I’m looking for ideas to help out at the shelter with community exposure and awareness about adopting our animals and spay/neuter program.

    • Thank you Dana! There are lots of great articles here on the blog to help increase pet adoptions (see right column for post categories); soon, I will launch http://HomelessPetProject.com that has a lot of great resources to help shelters and rescues increase their save and owner reclaim rate!

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