How To Build a Good Pet Foster Care Program or Humane Society
Pet foster care programs create opportunities for humane societies to free up space in their kennels and allow pet lovers to enjoy pet companionship without committing to long-term pet ownership. While these are often dog-fostering programs, there are also opportunities to put cats and other animals in foster homes.
Here are some tips on creating a successful pet fostering program for your organization.
- Make the application process simple. Put a simple application form on your website and keep one on your counter for walk-ins. Collect basic contact information as well as information about the type of pets your applicants are willing to foster and the type of homes they have.
- Publicize requests to foster. Market your pet fostering program on your website and on social media, as well as in your business. Consider posting pictures and information about potential foster animals there as well. You never know - someone might just fall in love with that cuddly cat who need a temporary home.
- Offer emergency- and short-term foster situations. While it’s great to have pets fostered out until they’re adopted, that’s not always possible. Accept the time and effort people are willing to give, even if it’s just one night. You can use these short-term foster situations to help assess how a pet behaves in a home and/or free up space in your kennel when pets come in unexpectedly.
- Provide necessary orientation and training. Many people are interested in fostering but need more information about how to care for animals and how the program works. Conduct regular training sessions on caring for animals, such as bottle and syringe feeding, and orientations that talk about your mission and fostering program. You can even record some of these sessions so those interested can learn from their own homes.
- Market benefits of fostering. Keep in mind the reasons people foster, and work those into your marketing messages. Remind people that if they’re not willing to commit to adopting a pet, they can provide short-term care for one while you find the right forever home. Senior citizens who may want companionship but not pet adoption are a good demographic to target, as are individuals who want to volunteer but don’t have time to come into the shelter.
- Provide a point of contact. Give the foster program a single point of contact who can respond to questions and concerns. This will make people much more likely to give fostering a try and to foster multiple times.
- Focus on retention, appreciation. Keep good records and nurture your base of fosters. Send thank you cards and regular communication about your program. You might even consider an annual foster appreciation event at your business. This will give your program a good reputation and bring more potential fosters into it.
Positive Impressions can help you keep in touch with your foster base. Check out our business cards and wide range of occasion cards for communicating with fosters. You might even consider using attractive postcards to send updates on pets who need temporary homes and more.