How are You Engaging Your Public?
Look at the two images above and ask yourself which is more like the messaging your shelter or rescue is putting out to the public? If you answer honestly, many of you will likely say the one on the right, at least if my Facebook news feed is any indication. Now ask yourself which do you believe is more appealing to the average pet owner? If you answered anything other than the one on the left, I am concerned. All research on the subject, along with actual results from the field, suggests that fun, creative adoption promotions, like the one on the left, engage people, dramatically increase adoptions and save lives, while messaging like the one on the right turns people off and pushes them away. This sort of "all caps," habitually URGENT kind of marketing, in effect, costs animals their lives, because, frankly, other than die-hard animal rescuers, who would put up with looking at that kind of thing day after day? The answer is, naturally, practically no one. This fact recently resulted in one rescuer pointing out to one group of CONSTANTLY ALL CAPS, ALWAYS URGENT KIND OF RESCUERS that, while their intentions were noble, they were, in effect, screaming down an empty corridor because no one wanted to listen to them. Point well made. And, frankly, if I am the average American, I am going to adopt one pet every 5 - 6 years, maybe. Additionally, in order to save all of the healthy and treatable pets from every shelter, that is all we need them to adopt. We do not need to berate them with a nonstop stream of threats of violence against pets. Doing so not only turns them off, it could even desensitize them to the killing taking place in animal shelters. As I have previously written, Engaging the Public is one of the most important aspects of animal sheltering and rescue. Without doing that, you basically can't do anything else. Want the community to increase the number of animals that are spayed or neutered? Then, you need to reach out to that community, teach them and support them in doing that.