Adoption applications and requirements are often the first impression a potential adopter gets. During the 2021 Open Arms Challenge, several organizations made changes to its adoption processes and these changes brought about more adopters, foster caregivers and challenged staff to confront and talk about their unconscious biases.
Animal Harbor, Robust Program winner in Tennessee, made changes to its online application to make it easier to apply, which in turn made it less time consuming for both the applicant and organization to review. As a result, applicants received a response back in one day instead of three. Customer satisfaction was improved and it lowered the staff workload.
The staff at Animal Harbor did have one concern, and that was how to pronounce the names of its now more diverse applicants. They tackled this worry by being honest and politely asking for the correct pronunciation of their names.
Animal Harbor exclaimed, “big changes made big changes, without a notice of ‘more work’ on the staff’s behalf.”
Salem Friends of Felines (SFOF) in Oregon pledged to become Roadblock Free through the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Roadblock Free Program. The Most Effective Use of Open and Welcoming Menu Items winner removed questions regarding income, living arrangements and landlord permission. The SFOF staff have viewed multiple online webinars and podcasts put out by the Best Friends Podcast about inclusivity and touted the episode titled, “We’re not perfect, so why do we expect our adopters to be?” as a favorite. “The Open Arms Challenge was instrumental in me obtaining the support I needed from our Board of Directors, to make the changes mentioned above. Prior to this challenge the board did not recognize that there was a need in our organization to be more inclusive and equitable,” one SFOF staff member shared.
Veterinary checks, landlord checks and age limits are no more at Hands and Feet Pet Advocates in Tennessee. Previously, the organization only adopted between the ages of 24 and 70. Thanks to this change, one of their 19-year-old adopters is now one of its most reliable foster homes. What’s more, the winner of Most Effective Use of Open and Welcoming Menu Items, reached out to its senior community and gained six foster homes from people over the age of 70!
Read more on Maddie’s® Pet Forum about how three other organizations edited their adoption processes for a better experience for all involved.