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Research points to social media as key tool for animal shelters, rescues

NEW YORK – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released the results of a new surveyy conducted by Edge Research, which reveals the positive impact social media has had on the animal shelter and rescue community.

According to more than 800 shelters, rescue and municipal animal agency professionals and volunteers surveyed, use of social media among this group is on the rise and communication tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have helped generate increased public support and make it possible for them to save the lives of more animals in need.

More than three quarters of respondents said their social media use has increased in the last year and 70 percent say it will continue to increase in the next year. Among the many positive impacts of social media use, those surveyed indicated it increased general awareness about their organization (86 percent), increased animal adoptions overall (66 percent) and increased adoptions of harder to place animals, like senior pets and those with medical issues (55 percent). Survey respondents also noted that with the pace of change in technology and limited staff, additional support and training would help them expand their use of social media and, hopefully, its positive impact.

With these new insights in mind, the ASPCA has focused the second year of its Adopt a Shelter Dog Month national campaign, #FindYourFido, on providing additional training and social media resources for the more than 500 shelters and rescues registered and on harnessing the power of animal advocates’ social media networks to help more animals find homes.

“This research validates how using social media creates new opportunities for shelters, rescue organizations and communities to help homeless animals find safe and loving homes,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “Through Find Your Fido and other programs, we’re committed to helping shelters and rescues take full advantage of these platforms – and encourage all animal lovers to do the same – to bring greater attention to local animals in need.”

The #FindYourFido 2018 campaign takes place throughout October (Adopt a Shelter Dog Month) and engages animal advocates across the country to adopt and – if they can’t adopt – step into the role of digital ambassador by using their social media networks to help find homes for dogs in their communities.Profiles of adoptable dogs from participating shelters and rescues can be easily accessed through the #FindYourFido map. Sharing information about dogs in need helps expand their exposure well beyond the shelter/rescue walls and increases their chances of finding a good match.

This year, the ASPCA has also enhanced its resources and trainings on social media tactics and best practices in collaboration with experts from Facebook and The Dodo. The Dodo serves as the official media content partner for the ASPCA’s #FindYourFido campaign and will be producing content around adoptable dogs across their website and social media channels.

Survey Methodology: The results of the survey commissioned by the ASPCA and conducted by Edge Research among their ASPCApro’s list of nearly 64,000 shelter, rescue, and municipal animal agency professionals and volunteers are available here. The survey included 827 staff and volunteers from those organizations.

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, visit http://www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Gary Lloyd is the author of five books: "Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History," "Deep Green," "Heart of the Plate," "Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South," and "Ray of Hope." He has been a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines in Mississippi and Alabama. He grew up in Trussville, Alabama, and graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School in 2006. He earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from The University of Alabama in 2009. He lives in Moody, Alabama, with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Abby and Sonny.

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