- AHS launched its Online Foster Hero Orientation in March of 2017 that allows potential foster parents to complete training online, rather than attend an in-person orientation.
- Foster Heroes can choose to take further training to learn about specific foster cases, such as how to care for bottle baby kittens.
- Since the program’s launch, 252 people have taken the online Foster Hero Orientation, and they have collectively fostered 851 animals!
Increase pet foster placement by 50 percent in six months? Yes, you can!
Can you use technology and innovation to increase your foster placement and gain more fosters? Absolutely. Just ask the team at the Arizona Humane Society (AHS), who applied for an Innovation Grant late last year. Their idea? To create a new online foster portal to help streamline their foster engagement as well as encourage more people to foster. Judging by the response from the public and the increase of foster placement by 53 percent from November to April – we’d say it worked!
“Thanks to the generous support of Maddie’s Fund last year, we surveyed our volunteers and used their feedback in order to upgrade our foster portal and improve the user experience,” explained Sharon Kinsella, Director of Volunteer Engagement at AHS. “During this time, we also decided to make our available foster pets viewable to the public in order to share with our community more about the lifesaving work we do rescuing sick, injured and abused pets through our Emergency Animal Medical Technician and Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital programs. We hoped that by featuring our foster pets front and center we would inspire more people to become foster heroes.”
And that they did. “In recruiting new foster heroes, we found that a picture is worth a thousand words. People love how accessible the foster pets are and enjoy seeing all the information on the foster pet, including how long each pet will need to stay in a foster home in order to make a full recovery,”said Kinsella. “This helps potential foster parents determine if they feel that a pet is a good fit for them before they contact us.”
The new portal came at just the right time. AHS had recently launched a number of programs and initiatives that helped to keep pets in homes and prevent unwanted litters, contributing to a 57 percent decrease in their intake and an 84 percent decrease in their euthanasia rate – which allowed them to now focus on rescuing pets who desperately needed fostering.