Every year, over 1.5 million unwanted animals are euthanized in the US. When someone adopts, they save the life of one of the many dogs who are waiting in rescues and shelters for someone to love them. Their choice also makes room for another animal to be saved. In rescues, you will find dogs of different ages, breeds, sizes, and temperaments waiting to be adopted.
For my assignment this week, I will be taking a look at the social strategy of a local non-profit organization. I chose to examine Companion Pet Rescue located in Southbury CT. This organization is very close to my heart. We have fostered a couple of dogs for CPR in the past and I have on several occasions donated my time as a designer for their promotional materials. I find the dedication of the volunteers inspiring. Although our dog is not from CPR, the importance of fostering and adopting means a lot to me and my family and we do all we can to promote and donate.
CPR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, registered with the states of Tennessee and Connecticut. They have been in business since 2004 rescuing over 2,000 dogs each year. 75% of CPR’s dogs come from high kill shelters in Tennessee and Mississippi. The other 25% of the dogs come from the public who ask for assistance. The main goal of CPR is not adoption but to end the cycle of unwanted dogs through spay/neuter programs which will end overpopulation.
CPR has fundraising events, local get togethers and adoption events on a monthly basis. The amount of time and love that goes into saving all of the CPR dogs is heartwarming and contagious. We are no longer able to foster because our family dog gets very nervous. I remember feeling so guilty when we made this decision to end our fostering; then one of the volunteers told me we still need you. She continued to tell me how important it was to share the posts, donate to their Amazon wish list and continue the conversations among friends about adoption. Helping the animals goes beyond adoption, it encompasses using all the channels that make a rescue work.
CPR website and social media channels
According to the 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey pet owners have an incredible amount of love to give and rescue efforts need to be able to extend their reach to tap into this love.
Key personal statements:
• 85% of owners believe pets are a good source of affection
• 82% agree that interacting with a pet can help them relax
• 81% are aware that owning a pet can be beneficial to their own health
• 81% feel unconditional love for their pet
CPR uses a website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with potential adopters and donors. By using these channels they are able to raise awareness, promote current and future events as well as encourage people to volunteer their time.
CPR has a newly designed website which communicates their mission, adoption process and application, calendar of events, how to help and how the transport from down south works. The website shows available dogs for adoption and how to get started with volunteer opportunities. The blog has tips on how to introduce a pet to a new home as well as meet and greets with pets already residing in the home.
• Link to blog
• Link to wish list on Amazon
• Calendar of events
• Getting started as a volunteer
• Link to partner organizations
• Adoptable dogs
• Adoption application
CPR’s Facebook page has the most traffic and updated information of all their social media channels. They are able to share adoptable dogs and their upcoming events which will in turn increase traffic to their website. Not everyone is able to take in a new pet but many online are eager to promote, share and donate. The more times a post is seen or shared, the more chances of a dog being adopted.
The CPR Instagram page is a social way to promote adoptable dogs and current events as well as funny meme’s through images. The images help give a face to their organization and encourage adoption as well as donations to help their cause of saving lives. The event posters are posted on Instagram to provide dates and locations of the events.
• Current events posted
• Highlighted dog of the day
• Funny dog meme’s
CPR’s twitter account is used for current events, adoptable dogs, events and successful transport from down south to the Southbury CT location. Twitter can easily be shared on Facebook for ongoing promotion of the organization.
• Current events
• Adoptable pets
• Transport success
I think overall CPR does an amazing job at creating awareness for their organization as well as helping elevate awareness about adoption. Locally I see their name in pet stores and hear their name among social groups. I think the biggest issue that I saw, when looking through all of their channels, was that the channels don’t link to one another. I had to do a google search to find all of their channels, where they could easily have links on their website to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Creating social link buttons would increase traffic which in turn would increase sharing of their events and adoptable dogs.
Being consistent across all channels will help create awareness. I noticed that an event might be posted on Facebook but not appear on Instagram for several days. Their blog hasn’t been touched since 2018; it contains helpful information and could be shared across social media. Creating increased visibility across all channels will keep CPR in the forefront of users’ awareness. This will lead to more shares and increased traffic.
Adding gamification to social channels will help increase traffic. This could be having a contest on Pet Halloween costumes, to a poll on best names for a new CPR adoptable pet. Prizes do not have to be costly, they can be a simple shout out or a window cling sent to the winner. Additionally, highlighting foster homes and volunteers would show their support matters and in turn encourage others to do the same. Creating a goal infographic and updating it daily as to where you are in achieving that goal can be shared on social media. This will encourage others to donate to meet the goal.
YouTube is a popular social media channel. Taking videos of adoptable dogs as well as showcasing successful events and transports will increase online activity. People love to see dogs in action especially around other dogs and kids to show the CPR temperament. This will help show prospective adopters how the dogs might fit into their home with kids or other dogs.
I know how hard it is to get all the work done for a non-profit organization in a short window of time. I think CPR does an amazing job and the volunteers go above and beyond. It’s hard to find people with the required skills and available time to dedicate to the cause. Don’t be shy to ask for help on social media as well as the website. People want to help but aren’t sure how they can. College students are always looking for jobs to add to their resume and volunteering is the perfect way. Keeping active online is the best way to reach people for adoptions, donations and the hard part of encouraging and obtaining volunteers.