Could your organization use some extra marketing help, for free? If you haven’t heard of HeARTs Speak, look no further. HeARTs Speak is a nonprofit organization whose work shines a light on animals in need and improves adoption rates by increasing the marketing capacity of time-stretched, under-resourced organizations. They offer free design tools, plug ‘n play photo templates and information to help make marketing as easy as it can be for animal shelter and rescue organizations, especially right now. They were also a winner at the 2018 Innovation Showdown!
“We’re a small organization in New York, and when Covid-19 hit, we saw the impacts very quickly. We were able to see our place to support the animal welfare community through those design tools,” said Caitlin Quinn, Director of Operations at HeARTs Speak. “We wanted to help organizations figure out how they could still fulfill their mission while being respectful of this moment impacting so many people.” They’ve put a lot of effort to creating tons more of those plug ‘n play templates knowing that shelters were dealing with their normal operations and huge changes within operations. “We wanted to alleviate some of the burden to make some of this messaging a little easier and keep the community involved.”
She continued, “Communicating with the community was clearly a role for shelters to play, from how Covid can affect pets, to how shelters will operate during this time. So that has been a big focus this year.” HeARTs Speak is constantly keeping tabs on how the situation is changing, and then adjusting content to reflect that. “It went from a lot of ‘our hours have changed, we’re closed during these times,’ to trying to support where operations are today. For example, many organizations want people to wear a mask, so how can we help communicate that in a positive way?”
When Hearts Speak started in 2010, it was very artist facing, trying to mobilize a group of artists around the world to show them that they could make a difference with shelter animals. “Cell phone photos weren’t cutting it at the time, and there was a need for people with that skillset to come in and help rebrand what we think of when we think of animals in shelters,” said Quinn. “We didn’t want to reinforce stereotypes of sad animals behind bars. We wanted to show them that adoption was a joyful experience.”
From there, they grew to offer workshops for shelters and rescue organizations that were focused on photography and marketing, and have since added in design tools that make it easy for those without any marketing experience to use. “We call it our EDU program because we’re working on video tutorials as well to make it more of a multimedia experience. But right now, we offer lots of photo overlays, Canva templates, etc.” said Quinn.
They’ve also started a stock library of images that were sourced from photographers that volunteer in shelters. HeARTs Speak gave the photos away for free for the first few months of the pandemic as another way to help marketing folks who couldn’t physically be in the shelter taking photos.
“We had to ask permission of the artists and everyone in our 500-person network was happy to donate their work. We had over 800 downloads and 15,000 images that people used during that time,” said Quinn.
While they’ve gone back to charging for stock photos, they offer 50% off to shelter and rescue organizations, so it comes out to $2 and change for most photos.
Quinn shared that they’ve also made requests for more diverse photos. “We feel it’s very important to represent the entire community and simultaneously facilitate our artist audience to help be that change. It’s been harder because people aren’t able to be out volunteering as they normally would, but we’re making progress.”
Below are just a few of the free tools you can find on the HeARTs Speak website:
Browse their website to find more templates and tools to suit your organization’s needs!