Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shelters Doing Good

It is easy to find nice, compassionate things shelters are doing to make life better for the nonhumans in their care! Some are obvious, others are creative; some require a lot of money, some need none. But all should serve as examples that even at shelters covered in darkness, a little smudge here and there will let the light shine through.

Other ideas (some may be repeats)

Make it easier for disenfranchised citizens to participate...AND double-whammy, talk about your program on the local radio station! The Humane Society of Huron Valley recently went on their local radio program in Michigan and talked about a neat program - Senior-to-Senior in which senior citizens are paired with senior dogs (8 years and older) and the adoption fee is waived! There's a senior Basset Hound mix there right now named Rooster, and that's maybe not because he crows in the morning! I don't know why that's his name but let's just go with it.

Have a message, get some kids to design it for you! So say you have a really important message you want to get out to the public. Like maybe you want to promote your low-cost spay-neuter program or your vaccine clinic or your Rags to Riches (made that up, use it someone) make over. Do what the Clay County Humane Society in Orange Park, FL does each year and ask local school kids to design a poster that will be placed on a real, honest, billboard for one whole month. But please share the poster on your website and at the news article, cuz I want to see what that genius kid came up with. Now the Clay County Humane Society does not have an actual shelter, but that doesn't mean other shelters couldn't do this too.

Work with local businesses: The Belfair PC Shop in Kitsap, Washington takes in older, unwanted computers and refurbishes them, then sells them. The profit they make (outside the cost of parts) is given to local charities, including their local humane society. Shelters don't have to do any of the work, except to build and maintain relationships with your local businesses!

Go Social:: It behooves every single shelter to have a social media presence. At the very least, set up a Facebook page for your shelter, and just hook it up to a twitter account so you don't need to be updating two sites at once (unless you have a dedicated social media person). This is one of those investments that costs very little to maintain (and if you're lucky, a good volunteer can run it and cost you nothing) and the return for relationship building is great.

Market your dogs with pizzazz! Like the Halifax Humane Society who is pleading with the public to help find Star a seeing-eye human! That's right, little Star needs a service human to be her eyes! My only suggestion to the Halifax Humane Society would be to update your "adopt a companion" page to include some biographical information on the adoptable animals. Like Star's page does not mention she is vision-impaired(!) and I would like to know about her personality.

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