This is the second in our ongoing series featuring the most innovative cat promotions we've seen from agencies all across the country.
The following events and adoptions specials were held in conjunction with Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month, but could be used as inspiration any time of the year.
San Francisco SPCA
The deal: Adoption fee cuts (including "Name your fee" for adult cats) and special deals on pairs and seniors
Successful practices: Cat-A-Palooza's promotional materials featured supercute graphics that look like little coupons. Although it was not specifically required, some adopters even clipped them out and brought them with them to the shelter.
End results: 261 cats were adopted from the SFSPCA in June 2010 — 66 adults, 10 seniors and 185 kittens. Compared to the previous month, that's an increase of 60% more seniors and 60% more kittens.
Added bonus: Many people gave more in the form of a donation than the adoption fee would have been-including the client who "named his fee" at $500! SFSPCA's average over-the-counter monthly donation total is about $2,500 — June's donations through the adoptions desk were over $8,000, thanks to funds generated with the "Name your fee" promotion.
Animal Rescue League of Boston
The deal: Discounted adoption price of $50 for all adult cats
Successful practices: The promotion was featured on Facebook, and flyers positioning the price as a special coupon discount were handed out at a neighborhood parade. "We had a great banner across our front fence, located on our South End headquarters at one of the busiest intersections in Boston," says ARLB's Susan Ruderman. "It was seen by thousands of pedestrians and motorists each day."
Next steps: 30 days hath Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month? Not in Boston, where ARLB extended the celebration to July and August.
Nevada Humane Society
The deal: An awareness-raising, supply-collecting event aimed at engaging the community's help during kitten season
Successful practices: Shower-goers were asked to bring an item from a supplied kitten wish list, which included nursing kits, paper towels, kitten formula and Snuggle safe warming discs. And since no kitten shower is complete without kittens, NHS decked some little ones out in pink and blue for a cameo (cameow?) appearance.
Timing is everything: Holding the event during kitten season was no mistake-when better to recruit volunteer foster families and offer foster parent training?
Cleveland Animal Protective League
Five. Five Dollar. Five Dollar Felines.
The deal: From June 1-June 6, adult cats ages 5 months and up were $5, while kittens under 5 months had an adoption fee of $25.
Successful practices: For folks who couldn't make it to the shelter, Cleveland APL brought cats and kittens for immediate adoption to 4 offsite locations during the week.
End results: 161 cats and kittens were adopted during the promotion week. "The same week the year before it was 63, so there was a 156% increase," reports Cleveland APL ED Sharon Harvey. "And the week before and after this promotion there were 43 and 62 adoptions respectively, so the promo definitely drove adoptions. Although adoptions revenue was down 5%, that was an investment we were more than willing to make to save nearly 100 more lives!"
Looking back, looking ahead: "By this time last year," adds Harvey, "our shelter hallways were lined with rollaway cages and we were treating lots of URI. Thanks to the success of this year's strategically timed promotions, to date there have been no rollaway cages, we have fewer cats in the building, and the ones who are here are being given more space so they have improved shelter quality of life and reduced incidence of URI. Adoptions are up, euthanasia is down…and yet we've taken in more cats!"
The 2010 Whiskers Awards
The deal: An online photo contest — a fun take on the Oscars-open to cats available for adoption from Petfinder shelters.
Successful practices: The public got to determine the top cats during the online voting period from June 1-21, but Petfinder also posted a link on the site to all of the nominees.
Don't miss: We're loving the Best On-Screen Duo category for helping to promote bonded pairs.