Having more adopters than animals to adopt out is an opportunity in disguise. Capitalizing on your ability to pre-approve adopters helps ensure that they have a good experience and reduces the length of stay for the animals coming into your care. To make sure you have cat, dog, and equine adopters waiting in the wings, follow these three tips.
Nail Down Your Processes
If you plan to use your typical adoption survey, consider modifying it in order to get as much information as possible about their desired animal, since they won’t be completing it based on a specific animal in your care. You may even consider replacing your survey with a telephone conversation—this way, you can gather more information from the potential adopter while building a personal relationship.
Be sure to think about how pre-approved adoptions will be completed when you do have animals available. Will it be first come, first servedor is there another process that would work better for your organization?
Keep Communication Open
If there aren’t a lot of animals available at your shelter, you’re bound to get the question, “Why don’t you have any animals?” Be transparent about why your population is down, and while pre-approving adopters, give them ideas about how they can help—by doing things like fostering, volunteering, or donating—while they wait. You don’t want to lose an adopter, so it’s important to keep them engaged and connected in any way possible.
Once they’re pre-approved, make sure to touch base with the adopter once a week to provide a status update. This not only lets them know where your organization stands and what your population looks like, but it also ensures that the adopter doesn’t think you’ve forgotten about them.
Try Promoting Animals You Do Have
How many times have you thought you wanted one thing, but when presented with another option that also met your needs, you changed your mind? Some adopters have a clear-cut vision of the type of animal they want to bring home, but you may not have that specific animal available. For example, you may have an adopter who indicates that they’re interested in a one-year-old male poodle mix, but all you have is five-year-old hound mixes. Think about how you can help that adopter transition to consider an animal you do have. You might be able to share with the would-be poodle adopter that a hound mix can provide the same type of companionship, and perhaps may even be a better fit if their family is active, enjoys being outdoors, and doesn’t want to provide frequent grooming.