13 questions that will help you write great pet adoption bios

January 27, 2022

This is a guest post by Arin Greenwood. Arin writes for the Human Animal Support Services project. She was previously the animal welfare editor for The Huffington Post, and is author of the novel Your Robot Dog Will Die. Fido is an 8-year-old brown female dog who needs a home. But is that how you…


How to identify your animal welfare organization’s brand

January 20, 2022

When you think of the term brand, big companies like Coca-Cola, Apple or Google might come to mind. But brands aren't just reserved for huge corporations. Many are surprised to hear that we all have our own brands, as do the organizations we work for. Do you know what your organization's brand is? If you…


How lessons from 2020 can inform your marketing efforts now

July 20, 2021

This is a guest post written by Caitlin Quinn, Director of Operations at HeARTs Speak. Stay tuned for part two on Thursday! It is an understatement to say we've all heard enough about 2020. But it's also a year that revealed many important lessons that could help make a brighter future for the pets and people we…


Million Cat Challenge: Going Home

Dr. Sara Pizano, DVMSeptember 3, 2020

Learn how to take your matchmaking game from the adoption floor to the worldwide web.


Use these graphics to recruit foster caregivers

March 26, 2020

Is your animal shelter trying to recruit foster caregivers among the COVID-19 chaos? The Shelter Pet Project has created some light-hearted graphics to help you do just that. Feel free to use the graphics below on your social platforms to spread the word about fostering. (Just right-click, save to your device and then upload to…


Why shelters and rescue groups need to unstop the customer service bottleneck to save more lives

March 5, 2020

Customer service is a crucial component of pet adoption. Which is why we are rerunning this story from June 2017 on the very topic. Treating potential adopters with warmth and positive attitude can go a long way and will help increase lifesaving.  As pet adoption increases in popularity and social cachet, and national campaigns like…


Using Technology to Increase Return to Owner

Gina Knepp, National Shelter Engagement Director, Michelson Found Animals Foundation and Bobby Mann, Communications Manager, City of Sacramento Front Street Animal ShelterMarch 2020

Learn how to increase your organization's RTO and attain a higher return to owner rate through innovative, progressive and proactive programs.


Power Up Your Fundraising: Donor Management Systems

Maggie Lynch, Director of Development, Austin Pets Alive! and American Pets Alive!April 2020

This presentation covers why adopting a donor management system is important, when you should get one, how to choose a system that fits your organization's needs and what it can do to help your fundraising take off.


How to Get Your Story Told: Effective Engagement with Local Media

Sarah Collica, Director of Marketing and Communications, Austin Pets Alive! and Nikki Reck, Communications Specialist, Pima Animal Care CenterApril 2020

Learn how to cultivate relationships with news sources and tips and tricks from a marketing director and an Emmy-Award winning newscaster.


Adopters Are Out There! Market Your Way Out of Space Crises

Teresa Johnson, CEO/Executive Officer and Chief Lifesaving Officer, Kansas City Pet Project and Cheryl Schneider, Director of Animal Services, Williamson County Regional Animal ShelterApril 2020

Learn how adopters can be your biggest lifesavers when your shelter is experiencing space crises.


Statewide Advocacy

Ryan Clinton, Laura Donahue and Katie JarlApril 2020

Learn from expert advocates as they share their success stories for state-wide efforts to transform to No Kill.


Workshop: Marketing and Branding to Engage Your Community

Kasey Spain and Nikki ReckApril 2020

Learn from shelter branding experts how to identify steps to create and market your No Kill brand to your community.


Beyond Spay/Neuter: Models for Expanding Access to Veterinary Care

Jocelyn Kessler, MBA, Senior Director of Operations, Community Medicine, ASPCA and Lori Bierbrier, DVM, ASPCAJuly 2019

Join us to look inside organizations who have expanded their services to help remove barriers to care in their communities. This presentation was recorded at the 2019 ASPCA Maddie's® Cornell Shelter Medicine Conference.


Win-Win: Building Shelter & Private Veterinarian Collaborations

Katie Broaddus, DVM, CAWA, Chief Operations Officer, Austin Humane SocietyJuly 2019

This workshop helps viewers better understand and address the perspectives of shelters and private practice veterinarians. This presentation was recorded at the 2019 ASPCA Maddie's® Cornell Shelter Medicine Conference.


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 7: Getting to the Close and Creating an Action Plan

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 7 of 7: Getting to the Close and Creating an Action Plan.


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 2: Build Relationships

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 2 of 7: Build Relationships.


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 3: Setting Goals and Building a Team

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 3 of 7: Setting Goals and Building a Team.


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 4: Understand Your Prospects

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 4 of 7: Understand Your Prospects.


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 5: Who is a Prospect?

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 5 of 7: Who is a Prospect?


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 6: How to Ask For Money in Person

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 6 of 7: How to Ask For Money in Person.


How to Start and Grow Major Gift Fundraising for Your Non-Profit - Part 1: How Big is Big? Getting Your Board on Board and Identifying Prospects

Amy EisensteinMarch 2019

In this seminar you will learn how to ask and receive more major gifts this year. Part 1 of 4: Getting Your Board on Board and Identifying Prospects.


Fundraising for Animal Welfare Organizations - Part 1: Introduction to Fundraising

Kim KleinMarch 2019

This presentation is appropriate for quick-learning beginners as well as seasoned fundraisers who are eager to learn how to engage others in fundraising. Part 1 of 7: Introduction to Fundraising.


Creative and inexpensive fundraising ideas for your animal welfare organization

May 7, 2019

Have you struggled with coming up with new events to draw your community in and raise money? Julie Barger, Director of Development at Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS) has some ideas for you. We attended her session, Unique fundraising events to engage your community at Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Animal Care Expo in…


5 marketing strategies to take your shelter dog field trip program to the next level

April 30, 2019

Dozens of animal shelters and rescue organizations across the country are launching field trip programs as part of a groundbreaking nationwide study of foster care. By making it easy for their communities to participate and using innovative marketing strategies, multiple organizations have sent so many dogs on field trips that they've cleared their adoption floors…


Proactive Return to Owner Programs

Shyanne Schull, Director, Washoe County Regional Animal Services, and Paula Powell, Director, El Paso Animal ServicesMarch 2019

Learn about how two very large animal shelters reached higher live release rates by attaining Return to Owner rates over 25% - way above best practice!


The Modern Municipal Animal Agency

Sarah Aguilar, April Moore, Lee Ann Shenefiel and Mark SloatMarch 2019

Learn how modern shelters develop targeted neighborhood programs that serve the larger community's desire to be no-kill while serving the public safety needs of specific areas.


The Pet Resource Center: A Better Alternative to the Intake Department

Mark Sloat, April Moore and Bennett SimonsenMarch 2019

How "The Pet Resource Center" is a modern model for a successful alternative to traditional intake centers.


Building No-kill Culture Throughout Your Organization - panel

Shelly Thompson, Rebecca Guinn, Tawny Hammond, Marc Peralta and Makena Yarbrough, March 2019

In this panel discussion, animal welfare leaders discuss how to instill a positive, no-kill culture in our shelters, rescues, and service centers.


Social Science: Informed Animal Welfare

Katy Loughney, Economic Impact Advisor, University of Denver's Institute for Human-Animal ConnectionMarch 2019

This talk covers research aimed at connecting animal welfare policies and programs to human and community health.


Combatting Anti-No Kill Extremism

Debra Griggs, President, Virginia Federation of Humane Societies, and Davyd Smith, President, No Kill ColoradoMarch 2019

Watch this presentation to learn what anti no-kill extremism looks like and how to cope with it.


Effective Negotiation Skills and Techniques to Achieve Lifesaving

Saskia Boisot, MD, Founder of the No Kill Shelter Alliance and Co-Founder of Save More Kill Less, and Paula Powell, Director of Animal Services, El Paso Animal ServicesMarch 2019

Know when to stand your ground, when to compromise, and most importantly, how to communicate effectively so that people want to help you achieve your goals.


Save Rate: Upward Bound - Exceed the 50% Benchmark - panel

Marc Peralta, Sgt. Karl Bailey, Michele Figueroa, Teresa Johnson, Jose Ocano and Cheryl SchneiderMarch 1, 2019

This lively panel discussion will shed light on the experiences of the expert leaders who brought their communities past a 50% live release rate.


Keynote: The Transparent Shelter, Building Trust with Your Community

Kristen Auerbach, Director of Pima Animal Care CenterMarch 2019

In this session, no-kill leader, Kristen Auerbach, will tackle two separate but important topics in order for you to be one with your community.


Fundraising Fundamentals for Scrappy Organizations, Part 1

Ellen Jefferson, DVM, Executive Director, Austin Pets Alive! and Maggie Lynch, Development Director, Austin Pets Alive!March 2019

Join fundraising innovator, Maggie Lynch, and APA! Executive Director, Dr. Ellen Jefferson, to learn how to raise money and how to get scrappy when you need to!


Fundraising Fundamentals for Scrappy Organizations, Part 2

Maggie Lynch, Development Director, Austin Pets Alive!March 2019

What do you need to raise funds effectively as you grow your organization?


Maddie's® Lifesaving Academy: How Austin is Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders

Lisa Ward, Director of Education, Maddie's Fund and Jessica Powers, Maddie's Director of Education, American Pets Alive!March 2019

Success stories from students of Maddie's® Lifesaving Academy and how apprenticeships are helping shape tomorrow's animal welfare leaders.


Market your shelter pets like you would your dating profile

February 14, 2019

For animal welfare organizations, it’s often difficult to balance shelter pet marketing with adoption counseling. But with some forethought, these two vital parts of the adoption process can smoothly transition from one to the next. Think of marketing your shelter pets as your Tinder profile, says Monica Frenden, Maddie's® Director of Feline Lifesaving and Austin…


Unleashing the People Potential: How to Develop an Extraordinary Volunteer Culture for Winning Organizations

Gina Knepp and Bobby MannOctober 2018

Learn how a small municipal shelter attracted over 2,000 volunteers who give over 100,000 hours of service annually.


The Yellow Brick Road: A Map to Fundraising Oz

Don Jennings, Consultant, Humane NetworkOctober 2018

This talk will put your feet on the path to practical and sustainable strategies that even the busiest nonprofit group can use (wizard not included).


Crazy Awesome Customer Service for Animal People

Sue Cosby, Director of Lifesaving Programs & Partnerships, Petco FoundationOctober 2018

Learn how to integrate great customer experiences into everyday interactions, developing not just a customer relationship but creating supporters, donors and even advocates.


Leadership Requires Attention

Gina Knepp, Animal Care Services Manager, Front Street Animal Shelter, City of SacramentoOctober 2018

Leadership takes a special skillset and mindset. How your staff and volunteers are managed is but one key to success. It takes courage, hard work and creativity but the pay-off is well worth every effort.


Leadership - The Who, How, What and When

Susanne Kogut, President and Executive Director, PetCo FoundationOctober 2018

In order to create a lifesaving community, our leadership needs to create a workshop of possibilities...the who is you, the how is together, the what is a positive attitude and the when is now.


Innovative lifesaving ideas to be awarded up to $400,000

December 11, 2018

The countdown to Petco's Innovation Showdown has begun! If your organization has an innovative lifesaving idea, now is the time to share it. The 2019 Innovation Showdown will be awarding up to $400,000 for your incredible animal lifesaving ideas, thanks to Showdown partners Petco Foundation, AnneNberg Foundation, Maddie's Fund®, the ASPCA®, the Jackson Galaxy Project,…


#FeelGoodFriday: Make way for the puppy cart!

December 7, 2018

What's cuter than five floppy-eared puppies? How about five floppy-eared puppies being wheeled around in a cart? Nebraska Humane Society found a way to keep their puppies safe, work more efficiently and provide joy with an impromptu puppy parade, just by creating the puppy cart. Now, the puppies can be brought to different areas in…


Accessible Veterinary Care: Service Learning Programs to Help Animals & People

Emily McCobb, DVM, MS DACVAA, Clinical Associate Professor, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University December 2018

This talk discusses the Tufts at Tech program and other aspects of Tufts Community Medicine that bring students from multiple training programs together to help community members access veterinary care and other services for pets.


Creating a Culture of Philanthropy

Jill Beckwith, Chief Philanthropy Officer, EmancipetDecember 2018

This presentation discusses the importance of creating an organization-wide culture of philanthropy that extends beyond the development team


Evolution of the Animal Welfare Movement

Jim Tedford, President and CEO, The Association for Animal Welfare AdvancementDecember 2018

In this presentation, you will hear thoughts on how animal welfare is changing, from a veteran in animal welfare.


Effective Communication for Staff and Volunteers, Part 2

Susan Britt, Senior Director of Shelter Training, Interim Director of Operations, ASPCA December 2018

This interactive workshop on honing communication skills in the shelter (or any) workplace continues from Part 1.


Engaging the Community: How to Make Your Organization a Vital Presence in Your Community

Bonney Brown, President and Founder, Humane NetworkDecember 2018

In this presentation, learn how to get the word out about your organization, develop strong relationships, ways to create memorable communication and how people become engaged, the pitfalls to avoid, and things you can do right away.


Grantseeker Best Practices: Getting Your Organization's Ducks Cats & Dogs in a Row

Michael Barrett and Adriana JiménezDecember 2018

Discover how following best practices is key to helping your organization have the most impact on the lives of vulnerable animals.


How to Make Your Board More Effective for Your Organization and More Rewarding for Board Members

Bonney Brown, President and Founder, Humane NetworkDecember 2018

This presentation helps address many common challenges and concerns and how to transform the board into a more effective high-functioning group.


Influencing Local Policy

Jill Beckwith, Chief Philanthropy Officer, EmancipetDecember 2018

This presentation offers a step-by-step process on forming strategic relationships with policy makers to help inform their decisions.


The Role of Public Health in Animal Sheltering

Jeanette O'Quin, DVM, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor, Shelter Medicine and Veterinary Public Health, Ohio State University College of Veterinary MedicineDecember 2018

This presentation discusses how sheltering practices in the U.S. are impacting public health internationally, in particular Ethiopia.


Maddie Monthly: Our top stories of November

December 3, 2018

Last month was a busy one (aren’t they all?), so we wanted to make sure you didn't miss some of the popular Chew on This blog posts from November. Here you go! Foster pet marketing guide Download, save, print or share our thorough foster marketing guide. This guide has everything a foster caregiver could possibly…


A trading post for shelter pet-helping ideas

November 27, 2018

Ever wish there was a place you could go to share your dog or cat wisdom with others? Or maybe you have an issue at your shelter or rescue organization and you'd like advice from someone who has been there before? Maddie's® Pet Forum is an excellent resource for organizations looking for encouragement and guidance.…


#FeelGoodFriday: There’s a new sheriff in town

November 16, 2018

We all know that police departments have K-9 officers, but why should dogs get all the glory? That’s no longer the case at one Chicago precinct. Gizmo the cat recently became part of the department’s community outreach program. The 8-year-old was living on easy street with his police family, but now he has a job…


Million Cat Challenge: Albuquerque Case Studies Going Big With Community Cat Programs

Desiree Triste-AragonThursday, October 25, 2018

Learn how the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department partnered with Petsmart Charities and Best Friends Animal Society to drastically reduce euthanasia and intake of cats and kittens coming into the shelter. Learn more about how the program works and how you can replicate it in your community.


Susan Houser explains just how far we’ve come in animal sheltering and lifesaving

October 9, 2018

Take what you think you know about the history of animal sheltering and throw it out the window. Susan Houser, the author of the popular blog, Out the Front Door, recently published her book, Prodigal Pets, which dives deep into the history of animal sheltering and the origin of the no-kill movement. For example, in…


#FeelGoodFriday: When little girl meets shelter dog, it’s true love

October 5, 2018

One tiny dog all alone in the shelter… and then a little girl in a tutu wanders by. It’s love. We mean true love. Fireworks, roses, confetti, tiny angels flying around — the whole thing. The best thing. The thing we want to see come true for every single homeless dog or cat (and lonely…


Should animal organizations post the same content multiple times on Twitter?

October 2, 2018

No animal organization wants to come across as spammy. In fact, on some social networks such as Facebook, posting too frequently will work against you. But on Twitter, more is better, and so is repeating yourself. Two years ago, Twitter gave accounts the ability to re-post — known on the platform as a re-Tweet, or…


So, You Want Some Money? How to Apply for Maddie's Fund® Innovation Grants

Kelly Clardy and Amber EbyThursday, September 20, 2018

Do you have questions about Maddie's Fund® Innovation Grants?

During this informative webcast, you will hear a brief overview of the Innovation Grants, Maddie's Fund Grant Portal, and the application process.


LifeLine Animal Project's Pets for Life Program

August 31, 2018


5 ways to start and grow your animal organization’s mailing list

July 3, 2018

As animal organizations struggle with Facebook’s increasingly restrictive algorithm, the need to make sure all your eggs aren’t in Facebook’s basket becomes more obvious. One of the often-neglected but best ways to accomplish that is by building and growing your own direct email capability — but how can you do that? While it’s been easy…


#FeelGoodFriday: Harvey makes his own dog adoption PSA

June 29, 2018

Say you’re a dog named Harvey. Say you’re in the shelter. Say you want to grab the attention of adopters. Now, say you totally suspend all disbelief and imagine you’re a dog named Harvey who’s in a shelter and wants to grab the attention of adopters, and so you make your very own adoption promotional…


Maddie's Idea Lab: Saving Lives and Spreading Good Ideas

Sheila Segurson D'Arpino, DVM, DACVBMarch 2018

Maddie's® Idea Lab supports the implementation and assessment of innovative ideas that have a high likelihood of advancing lifesaving of dogs and cats, the utilization of foster care for dogs and cats or animal welfare leadership. Come to this lecture to find out what we've learned and how these ideas are saving lives.


Overcoming Obstacles: Wisdom of the Warrior with David Meyer

David MeyerMarch 2018

How can you better motivate the public to take the actions you need them to take? David Meyer shows you how to use the subtle principles of Jiu Jitsu to build support and overcome obstacles in all aspects of life in this presentation.


Shelter Pet Marketing is Not Adoption Counseling

Kristen Auerbach, Monica Frenden, Mike RyanMarch 2018

Marketing is about putting your best foot forward. Since pets don't know how to market, they need you to be the savviest marketer around to save their lives and give people the opportunity to fall in love. Come learn what works!


Venturing Past 90: Who are the Last 10% of Dogs and How Do You Save Them?

Mike Kaviani and Marian CannellMarch 2018

What should your shelter/community expect when you're ready to push past 90%? Come learn about "the last 10 percent", and the programs that are saving the dogs that have historically been deemed unsaveable.


#FeelGoodFriday: Adopted pit bull’s makeup tutorials take YouTube by storm

March 23, 2018

YouTube has become the land of the beauty guru, with channels boasting from hundreds to many millions of followers earnestly explaining how best to highlight and contour the face, conceal flaws, and create the perfect brow look. But they all may as well shut down and give up, because Malachi the rescue pit bull has…


Social media getting tough for animal organizations? Search may be filling the gap

March 22, 2018

The term “SEO” — for "search engine optimization" — has an almost outdated sound to it in an era when many animal organizations have shifted much of their focus from the web to social media, particularly Facebook, to drive adoptions, donations and awareness. But as Facebook re-conceives how it delivers posts made by nonprofits to…


#FeelGoodFriday: 6-year-old boy is saving all the dogs

March 9, 2018

This little boy is definitely every homeless dog’s best friend! Roman loves dogs and wants them to find homes. He wants that so much he makes adoption videos for them, showcasing their amazing qualities and explaining why adopting one of them would make your life better. In fact, we’re pretty sure if you just do…


This animal organization donor ‘thank you’ message is the cat’s meow!

March 8, 2018

Every animal shelter or rescue organization could use more money, right? One of the most important tools for the care and cultivation of donors is one that comes after they make their first gift: the thank you. Here’s how you can knock yours out of the park. Making sure a donor “thank you” email is…


It’s time for animal organizations to give Google My Business a look

February 27, 2018

Is Google My Business a tool animal shelters and rescue organizations should explore? Absolutely, says Lindsay Layendecker, Senior Manager of Education and Outreach at the Jacksonville Humane Society. Google My Business is a free service that allows businesses, as well as nonprofits, to create customized information, posts, events, hours, and other features to accompany their…


What animal organizations can do as Facebook makes changes

February 1, 2018

Shelters, rescue organizations, and other nonprofits are asking about changes on Facebook. What can animal organizations do to keep getting their message out? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has expressed concern that people are made unhappy when they’re bombarded with endless news stories and announcements from brands, media outlets and businesses on their personal Facebook feeds.…


#FeelGoodFriday: Who will #ADOPTABACHELOR, and who will go home?

January 26, 2018

Are you looking for love? Obviously, the answer is to adopt a pet! Are you an animal shelter or rescue organization looking for homes for your pets? Obviously, the answer is to get more people to adopt a pet! It’s a total win-win! And that’s the secret to the guilty pleasure that is the dog…


Cast of Broadways’ CATS sings out for shelter cats: ‘Let the memories begin today!’

January 16, 2018

It’s easy to believe the stars of Broadways’s fifth longest-running shows ever (and the only one about cats) love cats. After all, without that feline inspiration, the iconic musical and the book of poetry it’s based on wouldn’t exist at all. Now they’ve partnered with the Shelter Pet Project to sing out for shelter cats!…


This New Year, resolve to start a ‘Dogs Day Out’ program at your animal shelter

December 28, 2017

A dog named Feathers at Southern Pines Animal Shelter (SPAS) in Mississippi kept getting overlooked by adopters. That is, until she went on a day outing with a volunteer. The organization thought she'd be the perfect dog to trial their new "Dogs Day Out" (DDO) program, and it turns out they were right. "Feathers is…


Facebook announces it’s no longer taking a cut of donations made through the site

December 19, 2017

If you were hoping Facebook would put a nonprofit advertising program in your animal organization’s stocking this Christmas, you’ll be disappointed. But there’s a lot to love about what the social media behemoth just did to help charities, including animal nonprofits, raise money. Prior to last month, Facebook took a cut of 5 percent off…


#FeelGoodFriday: Save your marriage. Adopt a cat today!

December 15, 2017

Every relationship has its ups and downs. Love grows cold. The toothpaste cap gets left off. It happens. What can you do? The Nevada Humane Society has the answer: CATalis, the cat adoption cure for romance that’s lost its spark. Side effects include euphoria… because cats are awesome. Once you know that adopting a cat…


It’s a new era on Facebook; is your animal organization ready?

November 28, 2017

It’s not your imagination: Facebook is getting tougher for animal welfare organizations, nonprofits, and anyone else who operates a Facebook page. While over the last several years Facebook has emerged as a vibrant platform for promoting pet adoption and reuniting lost pets with their people, recent and long-term changes on the service are making it…


How starting from scratch and thinking outside the shelter can get long-stay dogs adopted

October 26, 2017

In this guest post, Kelly Duer, Maddie's® Foster Expansion Coordinator at Austin Animal Center, shares how The Ventura County Animal Shelter is getting all of their long-stay dogs adopted. Read the post, and then try some of the creative ideas for yourself!  The Ventura County Animal Shelter was in a tight spot: The busiest time…


Research: Why people adopt shelter pets, and recommend adoption to others

October 3, 2017

In 2014, the Shelter Pet Project, an Ad Council public service advertising campaign promoting pet adoption and funded by Maddie’s Fund® and the Humane Society of the United States, conducted a research survey of 1,402 people to understand how to increase the number of pets acquired from animal shelters and rescue organizations. What can we…


How to get your community emotionally attached to your animal organization’s mission

September 5, 2017

There is no animal shelter or rescue group that couldn’t use more fosters, volunteers, adopters, donors, board members and other supporters. Without them, the amount of lives these organizations can save is severely diminished. So, how do you break through the clamoring voices demanding people’s time and attention, and get them to choose you to…


Are your emails to supporters getting deleted or ignored? Here’s how to fix that

May 18, 2017

Animal shelters and rescue groups need to communicate with their supporters. That’s how you get more volunteers, foster homes and donations. While social media has taken a big slice out of the communications pie, direct email remains a powerful tool to reach people interested in your organization and its work for animals. But just as…


Up your animal organization’s social media game with free guides from Nonprofit Technology Network

May 4, 2017

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) has teamed up with nonprofit social media expert Debra Askanase to develop three free workbooks designed to help mission-driven organizations develop and implement a social media program for their organization. Askanase is the founder of digital consulting firm Community Organizer 2.0, specializing in online strategy and digital engagement for mission-driven…


Little dog helps big football star have a #FeelGoodFriday — and forever, too!

April 21, 2017

When the now-Los Angeles Rams were still the St. Louis Rams, star player Rodger Saffold let his soft side show in a heartwarming pet adoption PSA for the Animal Protective Association of Missouri. Co-starring with Saffold was Popeye, a little dog who gave the big guy some advice on acting — and a whole lot…


Advances in pet databases can help your shelter or rescue group get more pets adopted

February 8, 2017

The technological revolution of the last 25 years has had a profound impact on the animal welfare industry. Things we now take for granted, like websites that display our organizations' services and adoptable pets, pet-search databases such as and, more robust and easy to use animal sheltering software solutions, and the rise of…


One easy way to reduce a pet’s length of stay at your shelter

February 2, 2017

What can reduce a pet's length of stay in your shelter or rescue from 43 days to 14 days? A great adoption photo. Maddie’s Fund® has just launched Maddie Talks, a series of short (less than 10 minutes) motivational "Ted Talk" like videos created by animal welfare professionals and meant to provide inspiration and equip…


Shelters and rescue groups: Do you know the ideal length for increasing reach of a Facebook post?

January 25, 2017

Animal adoption organizations can add this to the “conventional wisdom is often wrong” list: Shorter posts aren’t always better on Facebook — at  least, depending on your definition of “short.” Facebook is a powerful tool allowing shelters and rescue groups to get pets adopted, recruit foster homes and volunteers, reunite lost pets with their families…


Photos of Shelter Pets are Their Voices - Make Them Sing!

Tim YeaglinJanuary 2017

Taking a great adoption photograph and giving your homeless pets a voice isn't difficult or time-consuming and doesn't need expensive gear.


Need fresh ideas for your animal welfare communications? Go talk to a neighbor!

January 19, 2017

Ever wonder why your pet adoption listings fail to generate the interest you expect? Why your fundraising appeals fall flat? Why you aren’t getting much traction in social media for your shelter or rescue group? Maybe it’s time to get out of the animal welfare bubble and understand how your messages are coming across to…


3 apps to help your shelter or rescue create more sharable graphics

December 15, 2016

Working with a shelter or rescue group, you likely know the power of a good, sharable photo or graphic on social media. But most people in the animal welfare industry do not have a background in photography or graphic design. If you can find a volunteer or staff member with the skill, fantastic — but what…


Is your pet adoption group making this terrible website mistake?

December 8, 2016

Forget where’s Waldo; where’s your shelter or rescue group? If you’re like most people, you have Facebook and other social media connections all over — former colleagues, people you went to school with, connections you made online, friends who moved away, family in other states or even other countries. Now, consider these questions: Does your…


Pinterest analytics for animal shelters and rescue groups

November 17, 2016

Does your animal organization use Pinterest? If not, it might be time to try. And if you try, be sure to use Pinterest’s analytics to make sure you’re getting results that will make your time on the site worthwhile for your organization and for the animals. Most rescue groups and animal shelters use Facebook, and…


Shelter Photography: Creating Pet Celebrities

Nicole Del CastilloFebruary 2017

Learn the importance of good quality images and how easy it is to create these images using these techniques.


Getting a Busy Journalist's Attention

Arin GreenwoodJanuary 2017

Hear tips on how you can get your shelter or rescue stories told.


Using Social Media to Maximize Your Lifesaving Potential

Kristen AuerbachJanuary 2017

In this session, you'll learn 15 must-know rules for maximizing your lifesaving potential with social media.


Lifesaving Animal Control Policies

Lee Ann Shenefiel, April Moore, Maria AlvaradoFebruary 2017

Learn how to leverage limited resources to engage the community in animal welfare and keep people and pets safe.


Getting more press coverage for your shelter or rescue organization

September 20, 2016

Does your shelter or rescue group struggle with getting press coverage? If so, you’re not alone. Competition for journalists’ time is fierce. Knowing a few tips on how to stand out can help you and your animals get time in the public spotlight. The first step is having a solid press list. This is a…


Back to school and football season adoption promotion ideas to use, adapt, and share

August 11, 2016

Looking for some Fall adoption promotion ideas? Back to school season can be hectic even if you don’t have kids — as anyone who’s ever tried to get their shopping cart down the school supplies aisle at the local supermarket in August can attest. And it can also leave the house just a little too…


Put long-stay pets in the witness protection program

August 4, 2016

You’ve tried sharing, you’ve tried begging, you’ve tried making them laugh — but that one long-stay pet is just not getting interest from adopters. What’s next? Putting them in the witness protection program, of course. What we mean is that you need to start from scratch by wiping them clean of their current identity and…


Digital Tactics: Building Email Campaigns that Bring in the Money

Sue CitroJuly 2016

It's not email - it's experience. Learn how to create eye-catching, impact-boosting email campaigns that people love to follow.


Increase Your Donor Base: New Ideas for Building Your Base of Support

Barbara Camick and Kelly PrestonJuly 2016

Knowing how to leverage traditional and new media methods to connect with your donor base can make your job much easier and more successful.


From ‘terrible’ dog to therapy dog, Eddie proves he is the least boring dog in the world

July 20, 2016

He became famous as “the most terrible dog in the world.” Now he’s a therapy dog. How did that happen? When you're transformed by love, it seems anything is possible. Even for Eddie the Terrible. In celebration of National Anti-boredom Month, we're dubbing Eddie (now Teddy) the least boring dog in the world! Now happy…


How your animal organization can grow its email list

July 7, 2016

What’s wrong with how your animal organization is using email? Even in the age of social media, email is the most effective way to communicate with your supporters online. But  email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5 percent every year, because people have unsubscribed or because they’ve changed email addresses. How can you fight…


Putting on a successful 5K cat rescue fundraiser, record heat and all!

June 30, 2016

Why in the world would anyone run a 5k in record setting heat in Arizona? To help homeless cats, of course! The first annual Fearless Kitty 5K run/walk on June 5 of this year was a huge success, surpassing both the registrant goal of 300 and fundraising goal of $10,000. "This turned out to be…


A deeper look at Facebook groups for animal organizations

June 23, 2016

The last thing you may want is another social media account to manage, but Facebook groups can help shelters and rescue groups do things Facebook pages can’t — or at least, not as easily. Facebook groups are typically organized around an interest, theme, or project. In animal welfare, they can be used to work collaboratively…


The social media hashtag: If all you do is build it, they won’t come

June 9, 2016

Probably the worst advice ever given in a major motion picture is this: “If you build it, they will come.” At least, it may work on ghosts of old-time baseball players, but it doesn’t work in social media. Just because you have a Facebook page or Twitter account doesn’t mean you’ll get results. You have…


Don’t miss out on this great pet adoption idea!

June 7, 2016

You love pets or you wouldn’t be reading this. Ditto, supporting pet adoption. And you probably also love chocolate chip cookies. What do these things have to do with one another? In a classic marketing study conducted back in the 70s, researchers are Columbia University offered their test subjects jars of chocolate chip cookies, and…


How shelters and rescue groups can use the Facebook Pages management app

May 26, 2016

Have you ever tried to manage your shelter or rescue group’s Facebook page via your smartphone and find yourself frustrated that you couldn’t do what you needed to do? With Facebook’s Pages management app, you can — or at least, mostly. The free app is available for both iPhone and Android, and gives you most…


Maddie Talks: Aha Moments - Inspirational Speakers Getting it Done

May 2016


The people have spoken: Shelter pets rule!

April 20, 2016

We all know shelter pets rule, and now we know thousands of people agree with us. They proved it when they voted for our funded Shelter Pet Project’s “Anthem” as Ad Council’s public service ad of the year! This victory serves to shine a powerful spotlight on pets in shelters and rescue groups. The response from…


The Force will be with homeless pets on the MaddieCam April 16

April 14, 2016

Can Star Wars characters help get pets adopted? In a land far, far away they can – and do! On April 16, in Kansas City, MO, the newest MaddieCam Network member, KC Pet Project, will celebrate its Third Annual Star Wars Day. No, this isn’t just a really early “May the 4th Be With You”…


3 things pet lovers need to know about helping pets on Facebook

April 7, 2016

It happens all the time. You come across a photo of a pet on Facebook who's looking for a home, and you want to help. What can you do besides adopting him yourself? If you're thinking, "Share the post!", you’re right. But despite your best intentions, you might not know the most effective way to…


Better photos and profiles for long-stay shelter dogs

April 6, 2016

Can one photo save the life of a long-standing pup? Absolutely, says Summer Huggins, volunteer photographer for Austin Pets Alive! But not just any photo will do. How about beginning a dog's profile with an abbreviation? Not likely, says Elizabeth Doyle, senior creative copywriter for Best Friends Animal Society. At the American Pets Alive! 2015…


Social media help for veterinary practices that are fostering orphaned kittens

March 10, 2016

Would you like local veterinarians to help foster orphaned kittens for your rescue group or shelter? Would the clinics be more willing to participate if they were offered some PR support? Or are you a veterinary practice that is already fostering kittens, or would like to, but could use some help getting them adopted, as…


May the Force (and social media) be with your pet adoption promotions

February 25, 2016

Can Star Wars excitement get pets adopted? Yes; just ask Kylo Ren Cat. When the Monmouth County SPCA noticed one of its available cats resembled the actor who played villain Kylo Ren in the most recent Star Wars film, they quickly renamed him “Kylo Ren” and hit Instagram with his photo, asking, “Tell me this…


What the MaddieCam Network can teach you about marketing your pets and your organization

February 24, 2016

Is reality TV entertaining? How about addicting? Most people would say yes to both. But while this might explain the popularity of ‘The Bachelor,’ we think something else entirely is going on when it comes to the MaddieCam Network! The MaddieCam Network is your go-to destination for watching cute pets and fun activities at shelters…


Pet adoption and the science of cat videos

January 21, 2016

Science has spoken: Watching cat videos is good for human health. It reduces stress, boosts energy, and makes us happier. So how can you turn all those positive benefits to getting cats adopted? In an Indiana University Media School press release for a recent study conducted by researcher Jessica Gall Myrick and published in Computers in…


Shelters and rescue groups can get a head start on planning with this free tool

January 7, 2016

This tool can help you find great animal welfare events to attend, create interesting social media content, and get a jump on budgeting, kitten season, and preparing for fire, flood, mud and storm season. It’s the 2016 ASPCAPro Planning Calendar, and it’s free for you to download! How’s that for a Happy New Year tip?…


Does using the language of retail devalue shelter pets?

November 5, 2015

When animal shelters and rescue groups talk about “promoting” pets available for adoption, or adopting “two for the price of one,” does that choice of language reduce pets to the level of a commodity? At a daylong workshop presented by Maddie’s Fund® at Animal Care Expo several years ago, Bonney Brown, then Director of the…


One fast, easy tip to get more comments and reach on pet adoption Facebook posts

October 1, 2015

You can give your shelter or rescue group’s Facebook posts a big jump-start on reach and engagement by posting the first comment yourself. And yes, you can even do that on scheduled posts! Facebook’s algorithm analyzes activity on every Facebook post, and uses that activity to increase or decrease the number of your followers they’ll…


Webinar: The science of social media for nonprofits

September 9, 2015

If your shelter or rescue group needs to improve its online fundraising and cause awareness — and who doesn’t? — then they can’t afford to turn their back on the science of social media. If your only exposure to social media is sharing pets who need help, family photos and rants about issues of the…


Changing how you post ‘urgent’ pets to Facebook gets more lives saved

September 8, 2015

Is your shelter or rescue group’s “urgent pets” page on Facebook doing more harm than good? That’s what Don Jennings wondered when he took over as Executive Director of San Antonio Pets Alive! (SAPA!), and saw the chaotic, often disruptive nature of the comments on the organization’s “SAPA Urgents and Adoptables” page. “SAPA! was formed…


Create a Blazing Hot Brand: More Mission, Members, Media and Money

Julie CastleJuly 17, 2015

Brand your organization, stand out from the sea of nonprofits in your community, attract more donors, volunteers and community support.


Maddie's Pet Adoption Days 2014 Adopter Survey Results

May 2015

In December 2014, Maddie’s Fund conducted an online survey that asked adopters who participated in the 2014 Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days Event about the pet they adopted, the organization they adopted from and their event experience. Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days has supported the adoptions of more than 31,000 homeless dogs and cats since the program’s inception in 2010.


Beyond Labels: Advocating for all Dogs, with the Love-A-Bull Team - Part 3

Lindsey OrtizFebruary 2015

Take a look into the ways that advocacy on individual and community levels can have a positive impact on treating all dogs equally, eliminating breed-related stigmas, abolishing outdated policies and improving the chances for targeted breeds to find homes and their families access to resources.


Effective Dog Marketing for Adoption

Elizabeth Doyle and Summer HugginsFebruary 2015

Marketing dogs, especially hard-to-place dogs, is an art form as well as a systematic process. Learn how to create a winning system utilizing a volunteer force, as well as how to write effectively about those dogs to get adoption applications coming in.


Cat Marketing

Ashley FerryFebruary 2015

There is no more powerful way to get cats adopted than through good marketing. Austin Pets Alive! Cat Marketing Team discusses how to save cats by increasing their chances of adoption.


Cat Adoptions 2.0 High Volume Cat Adoptions

Monica FrendenFebruary 2015

Too many cats, not enough adopters? Supersize your cat adoption program! In this Level 2 seminar, you'll learn how to manage a population of hundreds of cats in varying stages of your organization.


Marketing 2.0

Diane BlankenburgFebruary 2015

How do you get name recognition on a limited budget? What image do you want to create? What puts you on the map? What is the purpose of your marketing materials?


Why Creative Writing is Essential to Saving Lives

Elizabeth DoyleFebruary 2015

Learn how to get more pets adopted through better marketing and advertising using online venues and volunteer photographers.


Facebook for Beginners

Melissa MillerFebruary 2015

This session focuses on the basic concepts of Facebook and how you can best use the social media channel to save more animals in your shelter or rescue.


Twitter for Beginners

Melissa MillerFebruary 2015

This session focuses on the basic concepts of Twitter and how you can best use the social media channel to save more animals in your shelter or rescue.


How to Keep Your Newsletters Out of the Spam Folder

Amy StarnesFebruary 2015

Email management and marketing is much more than simply opening a free Gmail account. You need a strategy and an email marketing platform.


The Adoptline Team: Virtual Frontline of Austin Pets Alive

Patty Lepley Alexander and Gerri KapplerFebruary 2015

Austin Pets Alive!’s (APA) Adoptline Response Team provides email and phone mail responses to inquiries 365 days a year, 14 hours a day and has been critical in increasing APA's adoptions.