I love dogs. I have two mutts I’m crazy about and for as long as I can remember I’ve been an advocate for rescue animals. A couple of years ago, I decided to use my expertise in public relations to help raise awareness for animal adoption and found a volunteer PR position with Dallas Pets Alive, a volunteer-driven, nonprofit animal rescue group with the goal of making Dallas a “no-kill” city.
Dala gives each full-time employee the opportunity to use one work day as a volunteer day. I feel very grateful to work at a company that allows its employees to not only volunteer as a group once each quarter but gives each employee a day to give back to the community on their own.
Through my volunteer position as director of PR at Dallas Pets Alive, I recently got the chance work with WFAA to help raise awareness of the need for fosters. WFAA’s David Schechter reached out to me to find out what Dallas Pets Alive is doing to make Dallas “no-kill” and if the organization would consider being on a panel for a Facebook Live video on the need for fosters in Dallas.
As more and more Americans get news online and via social media, WFAA has adapted by running Facebook Live interviews either separately or in conjunction with a broadcast segment. A recent survey from Kagan U.S. Consumer Insights states that approximately half (49%) of internet adults watch local TV news programs and 40% acquire news online.
What started out as a request to be part of a Facebook Live panel on WFAA’s Facebook page, quickly snowballed into an incredible opportunity for Dallas Pets Alive. The organization was featured in three separate broadcast stories about Dallas Pets Alive’s mission, a before/after of a rescue cat named Bob Marley and a feature on a foster family. This broadcast coverage reached a total potential audience of 350,154 people and had a calculated publicity value of $123,150. The Facebook Live video also had more than 18,000 views.
Dallas Pets Alive received $11,000 in donations and 21 applications to adopt or foster an animal as a result of the broadcast coverage and Facebook Live video.
Here’s how this opportunity went from a Facebook Live video request to multiple broadcast segments, planned social shares and an in-studio phone bank.
David Schechter has a segment on WFAA called, “Verify” where he takes questions from viewers and brings them along on his quest for the answer. One viewer, Anissa Perez, asked if euthanizing animals for space at Dallas Animal Services was still necessary.
David took Anissa to Dallas Animal Services to take a tour and talk with them to find out why Dallas is still euthanizing animals for space in the city’s shelter. After they toured the Dallas shelter, David and Anissa went to Austin, the largest U.S. city to ban euthanasia as a means of reducing overcrowding. They met with leaders at Austin Animal Center, who explained that they were able to get Austin to “no-kill” status with the help of their community partners like Austin Pets Alive.
When David got back from Austin, he contacted Dallas Pets Alive to find out what the organization is doing to get Dallas to “no-kill” status. After learning that Dallas Pets Alive’s fosters and supporters played a key role in helping Dallas Animal Services increase their live-release rate from less than 50 percent in 2012 to 81.5 percent in September of 2017, David wanted to know what his viewers could do to help.
Over the course of a few phone calls with WFAA, we planned three separate stories about Dallas Pets Alive that would air on Nov. 14 on the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. broadcasts leading up to the Verify segment during the 10 p.m. broadcast; an in-studio phone bank where viewers could call in with questions, foster applications and donations for Dallas Pets Alive; brought adoptable dogs to the studio to promote the need for fosters, volunteers and donations; had volunteers make videos that WFAA could edit and share on social throughout the day; and planned a Facebook Live video that would run directly after the Verify segment with Leslie Sans, executive director of Dallas Pets Alive, Ed Jamison, director of Dallas Animal Services and David Schechter.
Leading up to the air-date, I helped WFAA get interviews/b-roll for the three separate stories on Dallas Pets Alive; managed the volunteer videos for WFAA to use on social; created a document with key messages and prepared answers to questions that phone bank volunteers might get asked; and prepped the executive director with a briefing book for the Facebook Live interview.
On Nov. 14, I went to WFAA to help staff the phone bank, manage logistics and help manage questions from the Facebook Live video. After each segment aired and they cut to the phone bank, our phones rang non-stop for 30 minutes or so. It was a great to see the immediate positive response from viewers who called in to help Dallas Pets Alive.
This post was written by Krystal Morris