Hey, All Those Cat Videos Have Helped Nonprofits Serving Animals!

catOne of the biggest questions currently on the minds of nonprofit development staff is, “How do we effectively use the Internet and social media to get our message out?” (See Nolo’s articles on Nonprofit Fundraising for more on this topic generally.)

Sometimes, just getting heard amid all the noise is nigh on impossible. Email open rates, for example, reportedly declined 4% from 2012 to 2014, such that only 13 people out of the hundred on your list will so much as view what the email contains. (Poof! Gone.)

So, let’s take a moment to celebrate some actual good news, an indicator that there is a way through the noise, or at least a benefit to the volume of what can be found online: According to Terrence Petty of the Associated Press, “Cat adoptions leap with help of Internet.” That is, the popularity of cute cat videos (hey, did you see the one with the German weather broadcaster?) have not only helped nonprofits place cats for adoption, but have RAISED THE LEVEL OF ADOPTIONS OVERALL, as people develop a greater sense of affinity with felines.

No comprehensive statistics yet exist, but one study cited by Petty found a 111% rise in cat placements. (What happened to the cats who weren’t placed? Uh oh, better not ask that.) Equally significant are the anecdotal accounts of shelters who have successfully used the Internet to place cats who were elderly or otherwise hard to find adopters for.

Okay, but not every nonprofit helps something that’s cute and easily videotaped. But surely this is also a reminder of the importance of visuals in our ADD-addled world. I’ll be every nonprofit can, with a little creativity, come up with some visuals.