HOW LOCAL BUSINESSES CAN HELP SAVE SHELTER DOGS
Partner with a Doggie Daycare / Boarding Business
What rescue group has not received a desperate request to help save a dog from a high risk shelter? How often have you wanted to get a dog to safety but been unable to find an available foster home? What do you do?
In many communities rescue groups partner with dog daycares, dog boarding or traditional kennels to offer a temporary housing solution until a foster family is available. In most cases dog business owners will do this at no charge. Aside from almost certainly being dog lovers themselves why would a dog business owner provide services to your rescue group for free?
Because your rescue group can help promote their business, that’s why. Rescue groups are made up of devoted volunteers, foster families and supporters all of whom spend money on pet related businesses in your community. They are much more likely to spend their money at a business that supports your rescue group than at those which don’t.
What about dogs in foster homes who need a little socialization time? Doggie daycares are also often willing to offer free daycare in exchange for marketing through your rescue group. Foster dogs get to burn off a little energy and enjoy some often needed socialization and the daycare gets some priceless P.R. It's a win-win situation.
Who else can I Partner With?
So who else can act as a community partner to help your rescue or shelter increase adoptions? The answer: just about anyone! You may want to start by approaching businesses that cater to pet owners such as:
•Pet supply stores (not "pet shops" which sell animals)
•Obedience or dog training schools
•Pet yard pick-up businesses (poop-scoopers)
•Pet photographers and portrait artists
All of these businesses want to reach as many pet owners as possible in the hope that the new people they reach will turn into customers for their product or service. By partnering with a local rescue or shelter, pet related businesses earn themselves invaluable free exposure to YOUR volunteers, foster families and pet parents, plus a healthy does of priceless community P.R.
You don't need to stop there. If your community doesn't have a lot of pet related professionals (and even if they do) there are still business owners who likely love the chance to get free P.R. by working with your organization. The local bakery might want to "sponsor" your dogs by paying to have some "Adopt Me" vests made that also includes their name as the animal's sponsor. The local coffee shop might want to do a cross promotion and invite some of your volunteers to attend an event they are planning in exchange for a mention in your newsletter and on your website. They may even agree to give away a free coffee drink and muffin to anyone who adopts a black dog during the month of May. Or whatever - you get the idea. Have fun with it. Ask your community to get involved. And promote the heck out of it for the sake of the dogs.
What's in it for me?
Here are a few ideas of what you can offer to businesses in exchange for free services, mutually beneficial P.R. and great community exposure:
•Post a link to their business on your shelter website.
•Hand out their brochures and business cards at all adoption days, fundraising events and to new adopters.
•Regularly feature the business in your rescue newsletter.
•Feature the business in your blog or on your website. Share the stories of individual dogs who have been helped by their donation of services or generosity in including your group in an event.
•Offer the business owners the opportunity to promote their business in person at your fundraising events. Be sure to take the time to personally introduce them to those attending the event.
•At off site adoption events place a sign on each dog’s crate featuring the sponsoring business logo and contact number and state what type of support the business is providing for your rescue or shelter.
• Offer a discounted adoption fee to any employee of that business. Present "coupons" with this special promotion for the employer to hand out. Employees simply show their company I.D. at the time of adoption.
How Can They Help Us?
•Ask the busienss if they would consider featuring the dog(s) they sponsor dogs on their website, in their newsletter or in with a sign on their check-in counter (if applicable.)
•Link to your rescue group’s website from their site with an acknowledgement that they support groups working to help local homeless animals.
•Place your organization's business cards or adoption day details on their bulletin board.
•Invite your group top bring dogs up for adoption (pareticularly those they are sponsoring) to any community events where your pups can get extrra exposure to potential adopters.
•Offer a discount on a product or service to anyone adopting a black dog from your group. Along with any on-going promotions, you can create a "call to action" by offering a limited time "extra juicey" offer that only happens a few times a year.
If you’re not currently taking advantage of cross promotion opportunities in your community now is the time! Creative, free cross marketing with local business owners can help you rescue more dogs, increase adoptions and even help you attract more volunteers. The winners will be the dogs that you and your community partners helped save by working together.