A free adult cat adoption promotion results in record adoptions.
Faced with the annual challenge of an overwhelming influx of cats during the spring litter season, Charleston Animal Society (CAS) and the ASPCA teamed up to organize "Feline Frenzy - Spring 2009," a campaign aimed at:
The results exceeded all expectations. Read on to see how they did it, and be sure to check out the photo slide show (.swf) of the event.
Planning for Success
With the assistance and support of the ASPCA team in Charleston, CAS staff identified and addressed key elements needed to make sure the promotion would be successful, including:
A key marketing strategy included a "sticky note" on the front page of The Post and Courier (community's largest newspaper) on the Thursday preceding the weekend. In addition, Kay Hyman, CAS Director of Outreach, promoted the campaign during her regular television and radio appearances that week.
The majority of visitors cited these sources when asked how they heard about the adoption event.
Overcoming Philosophical Resistance
CAS gathered employees and volunteers the Tuesday before the event to make a formal presentation that:
Joe Elmore of the ASPCA met with the other Charleston partners to discuss the campaign rationale and address their concerns. Although not all partners agreed with the strategy, every partner indicated they would not oppose it because they understood the rationale and were committed to the partnership's fundamental principle of collaboration.CAS and the ASPCA team were able to effectively use the "free cat" information and case studies on ASPCApro.org to educate internal and external stakeholders about the promotion and dispel myths about the quality of free adoptions from a shelter.
A Nice Problem to Have
The event was so popular with the public that CAS ran out of "campaign cats" on the first day. Staff quickly reached out to area shelters and rescue groups, some as far as 100 miles away, to help those agencies alleviate their overcrowding challenges - and to meet the demand for adult cats during the promotion. Groups ranging from the largest shelter in the state to local rescues welcomed the invitation. CAS staff traveled to these locations to pick up 73 additional cats.
The Fabulous Numbers
The adoption numbers, not only for cats but for all other animals, were significantly more than the three-day weekend one month before the event. Revenues associated with the event were also significantly greater.
In addition, several anecdotal indicators of success, such as the number of "happy faces, both young and old" and a celebratory attitude and heightened morale among employees and volunteers were evident throughout the event. All are eager to host more of these promotions.