With all the online content available for pushing senior pets, coming up with something original can be a challenge. For a unique promotion that shows seniors in all their lovable glory, look no further than your own volunteers and adopters. They have compelling stories to tell, and this month is the perfect time to give them a voice.
This wall of appreciation was put together over the course of a few days, using only volunteer power and contributions. After itemizing the effort in a proposal and gaining approval from administrators, a call for content was posted to the volunteer Facebook group. Those that had adopted senior pets sent pictures and stories via email.
Seeing their dearly departed get a moment in the sun brought contributors a priceless sense of peace. Visitors often stopped to look at the wall, and it stayed up for several months. Each pet’s story was given to the owner when they were taken down.
In the cat room, handmade tags were placed on seniors’ condos. Volunteers used them to share something endearing about their favorite cats to help potential adopters make a connection at a glance.
Cost & Time
- Scrapbook paper/cardstock: ~$15. Metallic cardstock was used to go with the shelter’s “Golden Oldies” theme.
- Photo printing: ~$1. 1-hour prints are available at most drugstores.
All materials were donated by a volunteer. Total cost to the shelter: $0.00.
This is a perfect weekend or short notice project. As a newbie scrapbooker, it took me a couple of days with the Cricut to get everything done and installed. If your shelter doesn’t have a Cricut (or Silhouette), I guarantee one of your volunteers does.
- Start earlier. Throughout October, many volunteers petitioned for something extra for Senior Pet Month. One savvy volunteer even offered to privately donate a $200 budget to remove the potential objection over cost. Because the bureaucratic ball can roll slowly, the formal proposal wasn’t approved until October 30th. This left little time for content collection and the physical assembly of materials.
- Engage the public. With more time, we would have made an effort to contact non-volunteers who had adopted seniors from the shelter. Featuring their stories would have been wonderful PR and guaranteed social media shares to an audience we likely wouldn’t have reached.
- Tap volunteer expertise. Your team is brimming with skills that might not seem useful at a glance, but have incredible potential for shelter enhancements.
For this project, a single person or small team can easily get the job done. You’ll need a…
• scrapbooker/papercrafter (cutting machine helpful, but optional)
• outreach/contact person & editor for contributed copy.
Giving volunteers an outlet for their creativity, skills, and sentiments can raise an internal debate for administrators; “it will make the volunteers happy and the shelter will benefit, but we don’t have the time/funds/interest to supervise one more thing”. Whichever side of that conversation you’re on, make it an easy decision by providing a concise proposal for the project and assigning positions to volunteers that can work autonomously.