70 Opportunities for Shelters & Rescues to Win

July 8, 2009

Sharon Fletcher, Director of Marketing & Communications

Maddie's Fund will award $50,000 in prize money over 10 weeks to Petfinder.com member shelters and rescue groups in the U.S. that demonstrate good customer service.

From July 13 through September 18 there will be three ways to win cash awards!

•Rescue groups - Check your inbox!
Each week, Petfinder.com Foundation will randomly e-mail three member rescue groups with questions about an available dog or cat posted on their website. If they get helpful information about that animal within 24 hours, the rescue group wins $500.

•Shelters - Answer the Phone!
Each week, Petfinder.com Foundation will randomly call three shelters with questions about an available cat or dog posted on the website. If a live person answers the phone and provides helpful information about that animal (or connects the caller to someone who does), the shelter wins $500.

•Be there live with a winning smile!
An "adopter" will randomly visit one selected shelter in a different state each week. If the "adopter" reports that the shelter experience was positive, pleasant and helpful, the shelter will win $2,000.


Why are you rewarding good customer service with cash prizes?

Maddie's Fund and Petfinder.com believe that good customer service saves lives. The first step in good customer service is to capitalize on the public's enthusiasm for adopting by responding right away when initial contact is made. The second step is to make a potential adopter's experience positive and helpful.

We hope our cash prizes will encourage shelters and rescues to assess their customer service and entice them to improve it if it is lacking.

Why now?

The timing coincides perfectly with The Shelter Pet Project, a national three-year public service Ad Council campaign sponsored by Maddie's Fund and The Humane Society of the United States in partnership with Petfinder.com and the entire animal welfare movement. Utilizing TV, radio, print, outdoor, and an interactive website created pro bono by Draftfcb Chicago, and with an annual commercial value of tens of millions of dollars, this campaign will encourage millions of people who are looking for a companion animal to make shelter and rescue dogs and cats their first choice for adoption. It is expected that shelters and rescues will be inundated with new adopters once the campaign launches in August 2009. The Shelter Pet Project can be significantly leveraged if shelters and rescues have good customer service programs in place.

How will winners be notified?

At the end of each e-mail, call or visit, organizations will be told if they have won. Funds will be distributed that week. Maddie's Fund and Petfinder.com will post the winning shelters and rescue groups each week and enumerate how many shelters and rescues were e-mailed, called and visited each week.

Shelters and rescue groups that were not successful in winning the prize will be contacted by Petfinder.com Outreach, informing them why they missed out on the prize money and offering suggestions on how to improve their customer service.

About Maddie's Fund

Maddie's Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to their inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today.

The Foundation has awarded over $275.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie's Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.