ASPCA.org - The ASPCA has announced that it has granted more than $250,000 to nearly 100 animal welfare organizations in 40 states to help them launch local Adoption Ambassadors programs.
The Adoption Ambassadors program, originally developed at the Louisiana SPCA, empowers those who foster animals to become adoption counselors on behalf of their local shelters.
Once they complete program orientations at participating shelters, Ambassadors take home adoptable dogs or cats and pledge to help those animals find safe and loving homes through word of mouth, social media posts and emails to friends and family, or by hitting the streets with their foster pets.
Ambassadors can even process adoptions themselves, returning adoption application/surveys and any applicable fees to the shelter.
"The Adoption Ambassadors program leverages peoples' personal connection with their communities to put more vulnerable animals into safe and loving homes," said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker.
"When foster volunteers are encouraged and empowered to promote their animals and complete the process of adoption themselves, it dramatically increases the animals' chances for successful placement."
"The program enables participating shelters to increase their capacity, reduce overcrowding in their facilities, and reach a new market of potential adopters who otherwise may never have come through their doors," said B.J. Rogers, vice president of prolearning for the ASPCA.
"Our research has shown that adopters who obtained their pets from Adoption Ambassadors were less likely to have adopted from shelters in the past. Finding innovative ways to reach these untapped audiences is critical."
The grant funding will enable the participating shelters to purchase tools and supplies they'll need to run a successful program, including food, litter and other supplies for their fosters; marketing expenses to promote the program; and supplies to increase exposure, like 'Adopt Me' vests and leashes, t-shirts and more.
The ASPCA estimates that of the approximately 7.6 million pets who enter animal shelters each year, approximately 2.7 million are euthanized. Programs like Adoption Ambassadors are an effective way to raise awareness about pet adoption and shine a spotlight on the millions of wonderful animals in shelters across the country who are in need of loving homes.