The 2022 Animal Shelter Crisis & the Social Media Solution

Prior to COVID-19 and the world-wide pandemic, animal shelters across the U.S. faced hardships due to the sheer number of animals in their care.

Today, however, sans outreach events or walk-in adoptions, our shelters are facing unprecedented challenges that have led up to the 2022 Animal Shelter crisis.

Best Friends Animal Society recently shared an urgent call to action stating that 100,000 animals were now at risk all across the US as shelters are coping with overcrowding and staff shortages. And the National Animal Care & Control Association published an alert that animal shelters are full.

Families all across the US are facing financial hardships, evictions, and mental health crises. Their beloved pets are being surrendered to shelters in numbers never before seen.

The delay associated with appointment-only adoptions vs walk-in adoptions is also increasing the amount of time an animal stays at a shelter, increasing animal stress levels and potentially causing behavior or medical issues. The cost of care for animals in a shelter at this time is overwhelming. And don’t forget there is a veterinarian shortage.

What’s the solution? How can we save these precious lives?

Shelters can apply for grants, but funds are limited. Volunteers can foster, but capacity is limited. Staff can continue working day in and day out to care for hundreds of animals, but time is limited.

What can animal shelters do?

They can turn to social media; the resource that has the potential to provide unlimited benefits.

Being stretched too thin, it’s challenging to imagine doing one more thing, or hiring a new full time employee or contractor. But investing in a social media position is one of the most important solution-based measures at this time.

People are still adopting animals. Volunteers are still supporting shelters. Donors are still donating. And because we’re not able to meet face to face at this time, social media is the only way to reach out and connect – saving thousands of lives.

Think about it like this. You have a part-time social media person. Another shelter has a full-time social media person. Your audience can tell the difference because that difference is consistency. And consistency creates familiarity which creates trust. It seems logical to conclude that adopters, donors and volunteers will support you, but only if they trust you.

Social media marketing is no longer a ‘side job’ done when you can get to it. It’s a full time effort to ensure your online reputation gains strength through positivity, transparency and consistency.

It’s a holistic approach, creating unlimited benefits – but only if it’s taken seriously as a full-time position. It’s an investment in the relationship between your online community and your organization consisting of talking (or posting content) and social listening.

Through social listening creating an awareness and understanding of what followers show interest in, you can create a recipe for success by folding your content into the online conversation. But this takes time – time invested in learning who your community is and what they need.

Reciprocity is the benefit of a healthy dynamic – and that equates to decreasing the length of stay for animals in shelters through adoptions, transfers, fosters, etc.

And could be the solution.

Social media marketing, unlike any other time prior, is the most significant tool to help more animal shelters reverse the effects of the shelter crisis we are facing.

Interested in learning more about social media for animal shelters?

Check out our low-cost upcoming webinars by visiting: or subscribe to our YouTube Channel for tips/tricks.

Online Media Solutions was created to help more animal shelters, help more animals in need. We are here to help – Send us an email for a free consultation at

Register for our FREE upcoming Social Media during Disaster Related Events (including the 2022 Shelter Crisis) webinar from the Justice Clearinghouse.

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