Storytelling ProgramThe Storytelling Program (also known as Read and Relax Program) is probably one of the most common enrichment activities in shelters and for good reason! A lot of animals that come into shelters have experienced some sort of trauma and become aggressive or fearful of humans, but through this program, many of them are transformed into calm, sociable, and highly adoptable companions. However, with hundreds of animals entering shelters every day, the need for volunteer readers also increases. So if your shelter or rescue has a Storytelling Program, capturing the activity (and the volunteer application process) on video and turning it into shareable online content can help you get more people on board. Filming Tips: When making a video about this program, aim to show the difference that it makes to the animals. The best way to do this is to encourage volunteers to capture the experience from day one. This will show the changes in the behavior and demeanor of every animal involved in the program. To make things easier, make sure that all volunteers have downloaded the Doobert app and use RescueTUBE when filming. That way, everyone can use the same code (or you can generate a different code for each shelter animal, it’s up to you) and upload all their footage to a single bucket or folder.
Prison Pet ProgramAnother great enrichment program to capture on video is the Prison Pet Program. What’s so amazing about it is that it doesn’t only impact the lives of shelter animals but prison inmates, too. That reason alone makes it an excellent form of video content and one that’s definitely worth sharing with others. It’s educational and heartwarming at the same time. When it comes to online content, emotional videos gain the most attention and get the most shares. So creating a compelling video out of the behind-the-scenes footage of your organization’s Prison Pet Program can help attract potential adopters for your shelter animals. Filming Tips: When filming, show off every animal’s skill and personality. Do they know how to sit, wait, and rollover? Are they energetic, friendly, and affectionate? What’s their favorite activity, toy, or treat? The goal is to allow potential adopters to get to know the animals through your video so that they can see which one fits their family best. Interviewing the inmates about the animals under their care is really helpful, too. Since they spend a lot of time with the animals, they can give more detailed feedback about each one. Perhaps, you can ask them what they think about their temporary companion or which type of family they believe would match the animal well.
Zoo and Sanctuary Animal Enrichment ProgramOf course, shelter animals aren’t the only ones that need enrichment activities—zoo and sanctuary animals do, too! And since not a lot of people know what really goes into animal care in zoos and sanctuaries, there needs to be more informational video content about it online. What’s most interesting about enrichment programs for zoo and sanctuary animals is that every activity is specifically tailored to fit the requirements of each species. So your zoo or sanctuary’s process of evaluating animal behavior and the different ways you introduce enrichment items, as well as implement enrichment activities, will make for quality, educational video content. Creating videos that allow people to see the measures you take to improve the quality of life of the animals in your care will not only educate people but also help you build a connection with your viewers. This is important because once people trust you and understand the difference you’re trying to make, they’ll be more open to helping out and getting involved. That means you’ll have a better chance of gaining more volunteers, donors, or sponsors. In addition, you can use your videos to raise funds online. YouTube, for instance, has a feature that allows people to use videos as online fundraising campaigns! You can even collaborate with multiple organizations and raise funds together. All transaction fees are also covered by YouTube, so all funds go straight to the owner of the videos.
Filming Tips:People love watching videos of animals, especially wildlife, so make sure that they’re the star of the show. Film them doing fun things, like playing with other animals, reacting to catnip (for wild cats), swimming, or chasing toy balls around. Sharing a few tips and tricks for making feeding times more engaging is a good idea, too. Pet owners may find some of them useful and applicable to their own domesticated companions. To allow people to get to know you and build rapport, a representative from your zoo or sanctuary may also talk a little bit about your organization—how you started, what your mission is, and other related details. The exploitation taking place in some zoos has also tainted the name of others, so creating a video showing how you take care of your animals gives you the opportunity to clear your organization’s name and earn the trust of the public. Here’s a quick tip: add a personal touch and share the names, personalities, quirks, favorite activities, and rescue stories of your animals. It’ll make your video more relatable, entertaining, and most importantly, authentic, to your viewers and in turn, more likely to get shared and reach more people.
What other enrichment programs does your organization have? We’d love to know!