You're always looking for more ways to get animals out your doors and into good homes, and creative thinking can get you to the next level. Take it from someone who knows — the ASPCA's Dr. Emily Weiss, Ph.D., CAAB, Senior Director, Shelter Research and Development, offers 10 proven programs and processes for your inspiration in her webinar "Saving Lives by Thinking Outside the Box."
Stats All, Folks!
To help you decide where to best focus your resources, all shelters should track these important data points:
Need Answers? Ask Questions
Want to improve your numbers? Ask yourself, "Where and what are the roadblocks?" Explains Dr. Weiss, "If your transition rate is low, for example, maybe you are doing less adoptions because of a particular policy. Once you've identified the roadblock, you can then work to modify it."
Although many agencies have traditionally done landlord checks as an attempt to ensure a pet stays in his new home, Dr. Weiss reports that agencies that have done away with this time-consuming, restrictive policy have seen positive results. "In most cases, return rates don't increase, while adoptions do," she says.
They Don't Choose, You Lose
Do you showcase all your available cats on your adoption floor? Too many choices can be overwhelming for folks, so consider simply decreasing the number of cats visible to adopters. It worked for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, where they saw their transition rate double after trying it.
Help 'Em Put Their Best Paw Forward
Ever thought about target training for cats? Teaching them to come to the front of their cage can be a big step toward getting them seen — and adopted!
Eye Spy Something…
…Furry! Want adopters to spend more time viewing your cats?
Adopters on Trial (in a good way!)
Many adopters are afraid to commit — "What if it doesn't work out?" they think. Take a tip from Humane Society of Boulder Valley and impose a "Satisfaction Guaranteed" policy. Let them know you'll gladly take the pet back if it's not good fit — and help them find another animal!
What? Give Them Away?
Check out our resources on fee-waived cat adoptions and find out why and how to run a promotion for free and low-cost adoptions at your shelter. One reason? Because cats will move through your facility quicker, there is less cost for care per animal.
If you're considering eliminating the fee for owners who come to pick up their lost/stray pets, to effect the most change you'll need to indicate your new policy on your voicemail message and website — and anywhere else you currently mention the fee.
Turn Your Foster Families into Adoptions Counselors
How awesome would it be if your foster families found adopters for you? Well, here's how it works. It's a great way to empower your volunteers — and this way, your most at-risk animals won't even have to enter your facility, freeing up some potentially valuable cage space.