Name: Kelci Sibley

Sponsor: Tad Odell

Category: Community News

Proposal: No-kill animal shelters are becoming an alternative to traditional shelters that euthanize animals when their facilities become full. While not all shelters have the funding to support this transition, the ones that do are still struggling to uphold their no-kill values. This is because they do not have enough funding to support the medical bills and living expenses for the animals they house. They are also forced to turn animals away because they do not have room or money to care for them. While these shelters have Facebook pages to show animals for adoption or foster, they are only reaching the people who follow on Facebook.

In order to raise visibility in the community as well as communication between shelters in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas, I propose a greater variation in social media usage. By creating a multimedia platform for shelters to advertise the work they are doing, they will be able to reach a wider variety of people. It would also be a good way for shelters to get ideas for fundraising, adoption events and rehabilitation efforts.

I will create a blog that features interviews with shelter employees and volunteers in and around the Baton Rouge area. There will be a hashtag generated (#NoKill225) for the shelters to utilize when promoting events and to post about animals. I plan to travel to adoption events and live Tweet about the process. Instagram and Tout will also be used to report on the work the shelters are doing.

Due to limited coverage of no-kill shelters, there is a hole in community involvement that can be remedied with a greater social media presence. I want to focus on reaching people outside of the no-kill community. I think that people do not know the multitude of options for helping the shelters, and that is why they are not getting involved.

Some of the shelters are active on social media, but many of them are not knowledgeable about the latest technologies available to promote their facilities and animals. To help teach the directors and volunteers the best ways to communicate with their followers and reach new people, I will host a media/technology training event in the Holliday Forum. The event would involve speakers from the Manship School giving the attendees advice on ways they can expand their reach through media.

Because many of the shelters are inwardly focused on fundraising and getting their animals adopted, communication between area shelters is limited. I would like to host a community adoption day for all the shelters to gather in one area.

I will measure my success by getting a starting point for monthly adoption numbers from shelters and existing community support, and tracking how the hashtag and blog affect these. My goal is to raise community involvement and to get shelters communicating to create a larger network of people working to save animal lives. The project will run through November, but I hope to sustain it after the given time table.

This Google map shows the no-kill shelters in the area with physical addresses listed on their websites.