August 12, 2022

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

The Foster Plea Survey was launched and distributed in November 2021 by Maddie's Fund. The Survey's objective was to establish baseline data on how and when internal foster pleas are being sent to foster volunteers. Internal foster pleas are non-public queries to an organization's existing foster base to acquire foster homes for specific pets or groups of pets. This survey did not collect information on pleas directed to the general public (external).

Animal shelters and rescue organizations are interested in placing more pets into foster homes. Various methods have been used to communicate pleas and connect pets with foster caregivers, however no data exists about the which types of pleas are used the most, work the best, or the optimum frequency to use.

The Survey audience was comprised of animal shelter and rescue organizations that had active foster programs. A total of 355 eligible submissions were included in this report. Respondents filled out a 13-question, multiple-choice survey about the methods and frequency of their internal foster pleas.

One question asked respondents to indicate how often they used each method of foster plea using a 6-point scale, from "never" to "daily or more." The scale was weighted, with "never" equal to 0 and "daily or more" equaling 5 points. This way, we could measure the average number of methods used by low, medium and high-volume foster programs to see what, if any, differences existed.

The Survey asked respondents about the following general topics:

  • The methods and frequency of their internal foster pleas
  • To whom internal foster pleas are sent
  • Organization type, yearly intakes and foster placements
  • The information most often contained about pets in their pleas
  • How often they include photos or video of the pets in their pleas

The data collected was correlative, meaning one can correlate methods and strategies to organizations that have low, medium and high-volume foster programs, but it's not possible to determine if any of the methods cause increased foster placements.

View the survey findings & comprehensive report