A Simple Tip to Increase Pet Adoptions

Animal Shelters and Rescues: You May Be Losing Pet Adoptions

Everyday our social media news feeds are FULL of people begging for adopters for great shelter pets in danger. People see a post,  contact the shelter or rescue, often several times, interesting in adopting or rescuing the pet. But, with frequency, days or weeks pass with no reply or follow-up. Shocking, right?!

I know animal shelters are often understaffed with limited budgets. Many rescue groups are all volunteer, which means most of them have jobs and often families. But with pet adoption the key mission for both shelters and rescue groups, doesn’t it make sense to have one or more volunteers dedicated to receiving and responding to pet adoption inquiries or applications? When adopters are left wondering if the pet is still available, if they’ve been chosen from among several applicants, etc. they go into a holding pattern.

Lately I’ve begun to notice people doing everything required of them, but still left hanging. This doesn’t reflect well on a shelter, it doesn’t help the pet you post, nor does it help other dogs or cats who could be saved if the prospective adopters were not left on hold for a pet they may, or may not, get. I hear often that people turn to breeders because they find rescues and shelters difficult to work with … let that sink in!

Volunteers can make a great customer service team for shelters to answer phone calls, return emails, and collect adoption applications, and advocate for other pets who might be a good adoption match when there are several apps for the same pets. With passionate volunteers in place to handle adoption inquiries, this frees up staff to manage day-to-day shelter operations.

Animal rescue is not easy, but simple retail principles go a very long way for increasing adoptions and providing customer service. If you need help getting a volunteer application established for your shelter, let me know in comments below. If you are in need of a volunteer application and guideline, or need help knowing where to recruit volunteers, please let me know in Comments below. I have contacts at no kill shelters that happily share their resources with others that wish to improve their operations. This way, you don’t have to waste time creating one – and I’m happy to help you find what you need!

If you have a story of animal rescue or adoption to share, please click here to message me via the story submission form

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  1. I work with a very small rural shelter that could really use some help with a volunteer application. We’re limited on the amount of help we are allowed to provide to the staff, but the guidelines would be welcome as well.

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