Case Study: Rescue+Dog

  • Alen BubichJuly 9 2012
Saving more animals in need faster through the power of social media

Saving more animals in need faster through the power of social media

Rescue+Dog is dedicated to matching dogs from shelters with caring owners. The organization and its volunteers identify dogs that are in urgent need of rescue and help fund temporary shelter until a permanent home is found.

Using SocialHP software, Rescue+Dog sends out “blasts” of adoptable dogs to pet owners and animal lovers (also called “Rescue+Doggers”) who have dedicated themselves to the team and the cause. Once a week, an alert (similar to an “Amber Alert”) of a dog in need is blasted out to each and every Rescue+Dogger’s Facebook page, where it can be viewed by thousands of like-minded people in hopes that a new home can be found for the animal.

A typical Rescue+Dog Blast

Challenges: Reach potential adopters, build awareness

Pet adoption and rescue organizations have historically struggled with placing pets during the limited time period available before they are put down. Each year in North America, between 8 and 9 million pets are taken in by animal rescue shelters. However, due to the inability of shelters to find enough homes, approximately 4 to 5 million of these shelter pets are euthanized annually. Rescue+Dog acts as a community notification system that harnesses the power of Facebook in an attempt to dramatically reduce this number.

The biggest challenge for organizations like Rescue+Dog is exposure. People are far more likely to adopt a dog based on pictures and descriptions, rather than vague statistics like the one cited above. But the typical methods of publicizing shelter dogs, neighborhood flyers, community contacts, and friends telling friends about available pets, obviously have a limited reach.

National shelters like the SPCA have expanded that reach through the use of more traditional mass media advertising like newspaper, television, and billboards. But these types of national promotions take time to organize and execute, and rollout cycles can be as long as 6 to 8 months. While these campaigns are effective from an awareness standpoint, there is often very little impact on individual animals, as the typical shelter time is 7-10 business days*.

On the other hand, smaller shelters are able to effectively target the short-term health and welfare of each individual animal, but their limited size and budgets means they are unable to reach a large number of potential long-term adopters.

A look at Blast engagement

Solutions: Create a branching network through common interests

Through the use of “blasts”, Rescue+Dog meets the challenges of both exposure and awareness. The easy-to-implement blasts, powered by SocialHP software, are designed to reach a large number of potential adopters quickly, through what is essentially a one-click process.

Rescue+Dog administrators blast a geo-targeted adoptable dog every week by logging onto the SocialHP dashboard. Once there, user-friendly tools help them compose content that includes images and a description of the featured dog, along with an invitation to join the Rescue+Dog network and help spread the word on Facebook. Once the message is entered, clicking “Blast” sends the content to hundreds of Rescue+Dogger’s Facebook pages.

This type of social media “advertising” is far more effective than traditional community methods, or even Internet strategies like banner ads or email campaigns. These blasts expose the adoptable dogs to thousands of potential new homes, and more importantly, the people who view the content are either confirmed pet lovers or their close friends.

Rescue organizations typically rely on email newsletters. The challenge is that even under optimal circumstances, the newsletter can only be opened and viewed by the individual who subscribed to the newsletter. With the average open rate of an email newsletter hovering around 38% and the average Click Through Rate at about 3.75%, it’s clear that this outdated communication method is ineffective in engaging your audience and fails to grow your subscriber base.

By opting into the Rescue+Dogger team, Rescue+Dog advocates make their social networks available to the community, so that each blast is amplified by 271 times* (the average number of friends per user on Rescue+Dog). The average Click Through Rate for a blast is 168% — an incredible 3,260% higher than with an email newsletter blast. To really hammer home this point, if you sent out 100 emails in a newsletter blast, you could expect 5 people to click on the call-to-action in your email. If you updated 100 Facebook walls with your blast, you could expect 168 clicks from your call to action. It would simply be impossible to reach more than 100 people via your equivalent email newsletter. More importantly, notes the industry has seen a continued decline in email open rates. while engagement on Facebook continues to explode (75% of Americans have used Facebook)

Declining Email Marketing open rates

SocialHP a new type of customer engagement

Rescue+Dog began implementing blasts through SocialHP in April of 2012. At first, they had just seven members, but the first blast still received 12 clicks per message, for a click-through rate of 171%.

With only one blasts of adoptable dogs a week, Rescue+Dog reached a total of 449 members in just two months, for a membership increase of 784%. Their content has reached more than 115,000 potential adopters, and their current average click-through rate is an incredible 168%.

“We’ve saved 15 dogs in just 2 months of operation”, says James Kupka, co-founder of Rescue+Dog. “Without this incredible technology, there’s no way we could have made such a profound impact in such a short period of time. There is no question in my mind that we will be able to rescue a lot of needy pets in the coming years, and hopefully we can make a real impact on the lives of our four-legged friends”.

Ramp up your social network reach with SocialHP

The rapid increase in exposure and engagement for Rescue+Dog—over just a two-month period—demonstrates the power of social media to influence people and enlist them into worthy causes like animal rescue.

Through the use of SocialHP, charitable organizations can exponentially increase their exposure, build awareness for their cause, and create a network of like-minded people willing to help promote their charity. By plugging into this previously untapped natural resource, charitable organizations can spread the word farther and faster than they ever could alone, all with just a few clicks and, more importantly, on a shoestring budget.

The SocialHP blast process is ideal for any company seeking to solicit volunteers, donations, and other calls to actions (like adopting shelter pets). With SocialHP you should expect to create a wide-reaching social network with just a few clicks. It’s simply a matter of tapping into the audience who already loves what you’re doing.

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