Marketing and Public Relations

An animal shelter deals with more companion animals than any other organization or business. They shelter and care for over 100 animals at a time (on average) and do so while keeping the animals healthy and mentally and physically stimulated. Animal shelters field more animal-related question in a week than a typical veterinary office does in a month. They have worked through and succeeded at keeping diseases, viruses, and parasites at bay – even through
some of the most challenging situations and with extremely limited resources.

The staff of an animal shelter is faced with a multitude of challenges, often occurring at the same time, but again and again they find a way to put the animals first, solve the problem, and fund the solution. It’s really quite amazing, especially when you consider the limited training available, the fact that every organization is on its own, and that we’re only just getting population numbers to a manageable level.

What is an animal shelter, but a safe-haven for animals? A temporary respite until they can be reunited with their families or find new ones. It costs a significant amount of money to run, and like so many social programs, those most helped by it are the least able to afford it (or pay it back). An animal shelter doesn’t just care for animals, provide guidance, and set the standard; they also take on the responsibility of raising the money needed just to continue what they’re doing. An animal shelter is a sign of a progressive and enlightened community.
A community animal shelter is something to be proud of. And one of our biggest challenges right now is to change the public’s perception of local animal shelters. A media campaign is one of the tools to achieve that.
A media campaign, including events, PSA’s, advertisements, Press Releases, etc is a way to plan out an animal shelters messaging. It provides a framework to address issues, educate the community and increase a shelters value in a community.

Recommendations for Marketing and Public Relations

Calendar – A quick way to evaluate an animal shelter is to see if they’re working proactively or reactively. A progressive animal shelter creates a calendar at the beginning of each year to identify those subjects they want to focus on. It is a terrific way to ensure cross-messaging and have the biggest impact in the community.

PSA’s – Public Service Announcements, available to any organization or group with a 501c3 status are aired on every radio and television station. These free short clips provide groups with the opportunity to get their message out at no cost. Be sure to take the time to utilize this free service all year long.

Press Releases – Press releases are a crucial part in any media campaign. These structured one-page documents are the accepted form of news announcements to the media. They can be sent with announcements of upcoming programs, warm or cold weather tips, or anytime you’re looking to generate press or a story in the media.
Messaging – Messaging is the most important part of a media campaign. Instead of where you’re saying it, like above, it reflects what you’re saying. If a shelter is the go-to resource in the community, then they must set themselves up that way. General pet care tips, spay & neuter messaging and lost and found steps should be part of any active campaign and circulating on an ongoing basis.

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