Technology Resources for Virtual Meet-and-Greets and Adoption Processing
By design, virtual adoptions require online access and technology. We’ve compiled an overview of different types of technology that may be useful for completing no-contact adoptions.
Most of the major shelter software companies like PetPoint, Chameleon, Adopets, and Shelterluv have created tips on how to use all the platform’s features to conduct virtual adoptions. For example, Shelterluv provides instructions for using the application manager and text to check out features to complete an adoption remotely, making online payments easy. To find tips on your platform, do a search for “virtual adoptions” or reach out to the company’s help desk.
Additionally, Doobert recently launched a new platform that allows shelters to manage foster applications, send and receive text messages to volunteers right from the dashboard, and handle each individual foster animal's calendar of events. You can invite a potential foster to a meet and greet, schedule them for an appointment or communicate with them via text or email in one application. Doobert also provides an easy way for foster volunteers to upload videos of adoptable animals outside the shelter environment.
Using an online tool to schedule meet-and-greets makes the appointment easy to share with potential adopters and track across the organization. Shelters have had success using a variety of tools, including SignUpGenius, Waitwhile, Calendly, Acuity and CiviCore. There are many other platforms available—do your research and find one that works for your organization.
Some shelters prefer to communicate with foster families via text messages. Technologies like ZipWhip allow shelter staff to send and receive texts, videos, and photos from foster caregivers through one phone number, making it easy for everyone to have access to the same information. Team members can take turns responding to and sending messages, see the history of all previous communications on one thread, and set up auto-replies for after hours. These technologies also support telemedicine efforts since medical staff can be included on the messaging thread.
Online Payment Processing Services
If you don’t have shelter software that allows you to process payments electronically there are many online payment services that you can use. Do your research and select one that makes the most sense for your organization. GuideStar lays out a helpful list of things for nonprofits to consider when choosing a payment processing service.
There are dozens of free and reasonably priced video conferencing apps, including Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, WebEx, and Talky. Review the different features and prices and choose one that works well for your organization. Be sure to consider the ease with which foster families can use the platform to conduct virtual meet-and-greets.
Electronic Document Signing
Adoption contracts require that the adopter sign the agreement, which clearly can’t be done in-person with a virtual adoption. The solution? An electronic signature app like DocuSign, HelloSign, PandaDoc, or AdobeSign. Some of these services are free or offer nonprofit rates.