two people talk to a woman holding a puppy
Photo by Mark Stehle/AP Images for The HSUS

The Adopters Welcome manual and webinar series were designed to help you maximize adoptions by embracing members of your community, encouraging them to adopt and helping them succeed as pet owners. This step-by-step action plan will help you easily transition to the Adopters Welcome philosophy!

  1. Getting Started

    Adopters Welcome is more than just converting to open, or conversation-based adoptions—it's a fundamental shift in how your organization thinks about adoptions, and how it connects people with animals. That's why it's so important to be sure that your organization understands the philosophy and approach behind Adopters Welcome, and is committed to implementing it fully.

  2. Review your Policy

    Examine your current policy to see whether you are saying "no" when you could--and should--be saying "yes."

  3. Review your Procedure

    Take a look at your marketing techniques, community outreach, adoption procedures and more, to help ensure that your adoption process is as free of barriers as possible.

  4. Set the Stage for Success

    Adopters Welcome is premised on the notion that everyone on your adoption team will do their best to enable adopters to successfully adopt the pet they want, instead of judging, looking for "red flags" and saying "no." This can be a scary thought, especially if you're not confident every adoption team member is qualified to help an elderly man to adopt a rambunctious Jack Russell mix puppy, or assist a mother of three small children to integrate a shy boxer into her household. There's no denying that saying "no" in these scenarios is likely the easiest approach, but Adopters Welcome requires your team to find ways to say "yes" and offer the guidance needed to set these adopters up for success!

  5. Get Your Team on Board

    Time to bring your full team on board. This includes everyone who has a role in adoptions at any part of the adoption process: adoption counselors, team members who may field adoption-related questions, foster families, volunteers at pet supply store locations. Everyone who has contact with potential adopters needs to understand why you're asking them to think differently about how they approach adoptions and embrace the Adopters Welcome program.

  6. Train Your Team

    Get your team ready to engage and support more adopters. Everyone needs to be comfortable using the Adopters Welcome style that attracts adopters and offers them support if they need it.

  7. Celebrate Your New Program

    Now that your new policies are approved and in place, your procedures work to maximize adoptions, and your team is trained and raring to go, it's time to make sure your community knows that you have an Adopters Welcome program.

  8. Conduct a Self-Assessment

    As your team grows with your Adopters Welcome philosophy and program, you can have confidence that you are still maximizing adoptions by occasionally examining the policies and procedures you've put in place.

Step One: Getting Started

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Step Two: Review your Policy

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Step Three: Review your Procedure

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Step Four: Set the Stage for Success

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Step Five: Get Your Team On Board

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Step Six: Train Your Team

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Step Seven: Celebrate Your New Program

  • Explore every opportunity to celebrate this milestone in your organization's history. Here are some ideas:
    • Put website updates in place
    • Host an adoption open house
    • Take out ads in local papers
    • Ask your municipal officials to pass a proclamation

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Step Eight: Conduct a Self-Assessment

  • Take time to monitor progress, and make adjustments where needed by returning to these resources and celebrating ongoing successes.
  • When new team members join, have them start with Step Five and continue through the training process.
  • Continue to collect data to share the proof of your success. After a period of time, you'll want to compare your "before and after" numbers. Share them with your team and your community members.


Adopters Welcome manual
Adopters Welcome manual