WHO THEY ARE
Animal House is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), No-Kill shelter for all breeds of dogs and cats. Since opening in June 2002, they have rescued, rehabilitated and placed over 15,000 dogs and cats, to date, into their loving forever homes.
Animal House Shelter, Inc. rescues abused and neglected dogs and cats and rehabilitates them mentally and physically in order to place them with the best new family. They rescue 98% of their dogs from high ‘kill’ shelters, pounds and various animal control facilities in which they are usually listed as strays, and almost always scheduled to be euthanized.
THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
For Animal House Founder Lesley Irwin, the challenge is find dogs and cats homes and to build awareness of the adoptable animals at the shelter. They do this through donations to feed, care for and provide medical care and keep the shelter maintained. The shelter is non profit and relies solely on donations.
“When animals come to our shelter, we often need urgent help from foster families who can care for these dogs and cats until permanent homes can be found,” said Lesley Irwin. “Phone trees and letters through the U.S. Post Office are costly and time consuming. There is also a need to connect with pet product or services companies and other rescue group and shelters.”
Volunteers are needed to care for animals. All dogs are walked 4-5 times a day and socialized with each other and volunteers. The cats are housed in a large ‘free roam’ cat room so they can interact all day with each other, staff, volunteers and potential adopters.
SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFITS
Alexis Williams is the social media/marketing manager for Animal House Shelter. She created an official Facebook page for the shelter, a YouTube Channel and a Twitter account. In addition, she manages and maintains these social networking accounts.
In the first three weeks since they launched these accounts, they have seen a great response. On Twitter they have 2,000 followers and have had lots of engagement from over 1,000 “fans” on their Facebook page. Fans have been posting pictures of their animals adopted from Animal House Shelter and giving updates on how their pets are doing. They also receive lots of supportive comments and words of encouragement. Animal House Shelter has found Facebook to be a great place to also post events, news, and requests for assistance.
Animal House Shelter is using YouTube to post video of dogs and cats available for adoption.
Alexis says, “One of my favorite videos is of Kyrpto, a puppy who was very shy when he first came to us. In the video you can see how he warmed up to the team due to his therapy with our staff.”
CYBERLIFE TUTORS BENEFITS
“Working with CyberLife Tutors, we learned how to build an effective Facebook business page for Animal House and engage supporters through the use of multimedia content, said Alexis Williams. “They encouraged us to create a Twitter account and added us to the McHenry County Business Daily news increasing our visibility throughout the county. We used CyberLife Tutors “Build Your Twitter Following” tips to grow our followers to nearly 1500 in a month. April M. Williams shared best practices to leverage automation tools to reduce our time investment while demonstrating social networking business etiquette. She helped us communicate to supporters about upcoming events increasing attendance. By working with April, we understood how to use video, pictures and links to engage with others and build a larger community.”
What is Alexis Williams advice to business owners?
“Twitter has also proven to be an exciting outlet for us! We met many other great animal rescue groups who are pursuing the same work. We assist each other by re-tweeting each other’s tweets. Twitter has also become a source of meeting companies who are offering donations. By simply being on Twitter and meeting some pet product companies, we received several companies offer to provide donations of products. We have been given donations of collars and dog skin care products.
It is exciting and we look forward to continuing to use the social networks to not only help our animals find loving homes and bring awareness to our shelter, but to also connect with supporters, pet product companies, and other rescue groups/shelters. “