Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Whether you volunteer for a small animal rescue or work for a large open-admission shelter, it is becoming more popular for animal organizations to regularly attend offsite adoption events. These types of adoption opportunities are often seen in front of large pet stores on the weekends, or at large animal related events. While it is great more people are becoming involved, it also means more animals are getting out of the shelter, put into rescues, and awaiting their home. For an organization to help more animals, they have to get the animals they currently have adopted.
I've personally been to numerous animal adoption events over the years and have participated in them trying to get these pets a forever home. While it is great more people are attending these events as they increase in popularity, the animal organizations involved can still improve their strategy to get these animals adopted faster. Here are my 3 top tips for increasing your organization's offsite adoption rate.
1. Only showcase what your volunteers can handle
I can't count the amount of times I've been to adoption events and the volunteers/employees are overwhelmed about what is going on. Only have your organization choose a limited amount of animals per the amount of volunteers you have. One may think to showcase as many animals out there so they have more of a chance, but if people can't effectively talk to who is running the event and just stand around waiting they will move on. Having volunteers/employees more informed on the animals they are presenting, trained and prepared for adoption questions will also be beneficial and only increase the chance of one of your animals in becoming adopted.
If you want to show more animals, try rotating them instead. According to Stanford Graduate School of Business, when people have already made the decision of wanting to commit to something, having too many options makes the task harder. As someone wanting to help animals get adopted, we want to focus on the potential adopters who have thought about this thoroughly and are ready to adopt a pet, not the people who are wanting to do it as a spur of the moment decision.
2. Showcase your brand professionally
People that are interested in adopting a rescue animal now have multiple options in where to get their pet from. What makes your organization stand out from the rest? When you go out to animal events and offsite adoptions, put your brand information and logo on everything you hand out. Let the public know what your organization does and how they do it. Having your volunteers/workers wear matching branded t-shirts, hand out brochures with information about your organization and be color coordinated. Make sure all your forms and folders are nicely organized. Have this done before the event and have an idea of how everything will look from the public's perspective.
3. Have all information prepared and ready for each animal
This to me is one of the most important aspects of offsite adoptions that I feel many organizations aren't utilizing to their full potential. I can't list the number of times I've asked people at events about animals for adoption and they barely know who it is, what their health status is or any personal information about the animal. According to the ASPCA, the public is more responsive to personal information about the animal for adoption and how they are inside a home instead of basic knowledge obtained from a shelter. Always showcase an animal in a positive light and show what the animal would be like in a potential home. Have your foster parent fill out a "cheat sheet quick personality form" on the animal to have handy at adoption events for people that are interested. Another option is to make business cards for each pet with information on who they are and how to adopt them. Some people need time to think about a big decision like adopting a pet and having a quick informative card might be exactly what they need to remember the animal when they get home.
There are many other resources out on the internet currently to help rescues and shelters improve their adoption rate. If you feel you are stuck and can not get animals adopted out faster than you are getting them in check out, ASPCApro: Adoption & Placement. Here there are numerous webinars made to help organizations improve their adoption rates and get animals into their forever homes faster.