5 Things 2020 Has Taught Us About Animal Welfare Marketing

Missed this past Tuesday’s webinar with Caitlin Quinn, “What 2020 Can Teach Us About the Future of Animal Welfare Marketing?” We got ya. Register for access to the full recording anytime, and here’s a little taste of the insights Caitlin shared during this Petfinder Pro Adoption Options session.

Keep People In The Loop

What’s best—posting (and re-posting) about programs and protocols that can change on a daily basis, or waiting to post until you have a more definitive answer? “Uncertainty is fine,” states Quinn. “People have a high tolerance for uncertainty, but the critical part is keeping your community in the loop. It’s okay to say, ‘We’re not sure what we’re going to do tomorrow, but this is what were going to do today.’” That goes for both external and internal communications.

It’s Okay to Be (A Little Bit) Funny

How to talk about COVID-19? “We can have both humorous and serious conversations with the community,” says Quinn. Light-hearted posts about toilet paper hoarding and quarantine hair are fine, she shares, “as long as you do not make fun of the virus itself.”

DEI Resources for Marketers

Quinn points to the following webinars and articles as valuable resources for communication and marketing teams:

Words Matter…Especially If No One Understands Them

Can you remember how it felt when you didn’t know what these words mean?


Like many fields, animal welfare has its own vocabulary of jargon and acronyms. As we make concerted efforts to be more inclusive in our hiring and adoptions process and organizational culture, it’s important to recognize the language we use. “We’re shutting people out when we use words that people don’t understand,” says Quinn. One of her favorite examples is TNR. It’s ingrained in our culture, but most folks in our communities have no idea what the acronym stands for—and if they do, they still may not understand what it entails. Quinn offers a couple other suggestions surrounding the issue of jargon and language:

  • Have you taken the time to translate your most critical materials into prevalent languages spoken in your community?
  • Hiring managers, how often do we discount candidates who don’t know our lingo? (Same goes for potential adopters.)

Rethink Facebook

As a field, we’ve gotten great at getting likes and shares. You may have noticed that with Facebook’s algorithm controlling reach, it’s hard (if not impossible) to maintain the level of engagement without “paying to play.” Some agencies are seeing more engagement with email campaigns, so it may be worth your while, says Quinn, “to consider investing in an email list.” 

Rest assured, you don’t need to break up with Facebook. But do think about what your goals are for your channel. Getting folks to click the Like button, or taking an action in real life?

Learn More

Upcoming Petfinder Pro Adoption Options Workshop, 10/27: “Everything I Know About Resilience I Learned From My Shelter Dog”
Blog: COVID-19 Communications: Oregon Humane’s Virtual Shelter Tour
Blog: Special Events Spotlight: Sacramento SPCA’s Virtual Doggy Dash


The Association

The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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