November 6, 2014
Categories: Adoption

IMG_8198Does your adoption group have a pet who just hasn’t been adopted even though you’ve got great photos, a terrific description, and they’ve been shared a lot on social media? It’s probably time to start again from scratch.

That means a new name, new photos, a new bio and new channels of promotion, says Christie Keith, social media manager for The Shelter Pet Project. “If a pet hasn’t been adopted after you’ve given them your best efforts, don’t just keep doing the same things over again,” she suggests. “Step back, take a fresh approach, and see if you can reach different adopters with different methods.”

Keith offers these specific suggestions for long-stay pets who need some extra PR:

1. Change the pet’s name. Some pets are very attached to their names, and it may not be a good idea to make the switch, but many were given their name by the shelter, and barely know it. “A new name creates the feeling that this is a different pet, not just for potential adopters, but for the shelter staff,” says Keith. “It can have a powerful impact even when you know he or she is the same pet formerly known as (fill in the blank).”

2. Write a new bio focusing on a different aspect of the pet’s personality. “Adopters aren’t really interested in the pet’s backstory,” Keith said. “They want to know about his or her personality. And most pets have plenty to inspire more than one biography and description!”

3. Get new photos. “I think too many shelters and rescue groups think only professional photographers can take great photos,” Keith said. “While there are certainly some wonderful pros who generously give of their time to help homeless pets, an effective photo only has to be compelling and attention-catching, not perfectly composed, lit, and focused.” So get out the phone and start shooting!

4. Explore new channels. “I was trying to help a group find a home for a pet, and everything we’d tried just didn’t seem to work,” Keith said. “So I reached out to a Facebook page with a huge following but nothing to do with pets, and used a photo and description I thought would appeal to the average person rather than established adopters. They had dozens of calls in a few hours, and the cat was adopted within two days!”

What strategies have worked for you when it comes to getting long-stay pets adopted? Share them on our Facebook page!