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How one idea can spark a national lifesaving network, #ThanksToMaddie

What do you get when you combine live reality TV, cute animals and one innovative lifesaving idea? The MaddieCam Network!

Behind all of the adorable cuteness is a multitasking marketing tool for shelters and rescue organizations on a local and national level.

As a network of dynamic animal welfare organizations live-streaming from their locations via webcams, we could never have anticipated that, less than a year after its launch, the MaddieCam Network would consist of 11 organizations across the country. And it continues to grow, thanks to Maddie! For those of you who don’t know, Maddie's Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, Maddie, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat.
We live by this mission so naturally the organizations on the MaddieCam Network share one main goal—to find a loving space for America’s homeless pets. As we all know, technology has proven to help enhance our lives in ways we could never have imagined. We wanted to see how creatively we could use technology for lifesaving—to connect adoptable pets with people who might never have seen them otherwise. Our technology and marketing teams put our heads together and the result was the MaddieCam Network, which now spans time zones across the nation. Can you believe it all started out as a way to celebrate National Cat Day?!
Yes, it’s true. We really just wanted to do something fun and different so we teamed up with Cat Town Café in Oakland, California, and streamed live from their café for the day. Immediately we saw the positive engagement and interaction on social media and decided to take it a step further for Adopt-A-Senior-Dog month by streaming live from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco. As you can imagine, the viewers fell in love with the fun programming starring the senior dogs, such as one-on-one interviews, “dogs on desks,” and “doga” (dog yoga). We knew we were onto something.
We invited a few more organizations, one of which reported a 70% increase in adoptions over the previous time period along with success with increased web traffic, exposure and interest in their adoptable pets. We challenged ourselves to reach a larger audience. We identified and reached out to groups across the country that were doing innovative and amazing work for shelter pets and turned the MaddieCam into a broadcasting platform for the world to witness that incredible work. From live surgeries at Oregon Humane Society, to Yoga with Cats at Fearless Kitty Rescue in Arizona, to seeing the famous Caitlyn (who survived someone taping her muzzle shut with electrical tape) at Charleston Animal Society, and a momma pit bull giving birth live from Austin Pets Alive!, variety may be an understatement!
We can’t forget about Jo-Paw, the famous black cat who made national news at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) in California. You’ve probably heard about her. She’s the one who ran across the ice during a Sharks hockey game and won the hearts of the team and spectators, so HSSV put her on the MaddieCam so people could keep up with her story until she was ready for adoption. Not only did she break records on the MaddieCam, she also caught the attention of the National Hockey League network which wanted to broadcast what their “adopted” mascot was up to while she waited to be adopted by a wonderful family. It didn’t take long for a viewer to scoop her up, along with another cat!
Putting Jo-Paw on the MaddieCam was genius. And, I must say, it’s so easy to fall down the rabbit hole … watching adorable kittens or waddling puppies waiting to see what antics they will get into! I may or may not be guilty of this…
But the MaddieCam isn’t just another guilty pleasure. Behind all of the adorable cuteness is a multitasking marketing tool for shelters and rescue organizations on a local and national level. Nationally, we hope this tool will inspire organizations to collaborate with each other across the country and try some of these innovative activities at their own locations. All you need is a webcam and Internet access! Locally, it’s the obvious way to increase community engagement—to showcase adoptable pets, recruit more volunteers, provide on-air staff and volunteer training, announce events, solicit donations and promote transparency by giving the public a behind-the-scenes look at what happens at their local shelter or rescue organization. All of which lead to the same destination—saving animals so each one has a healthy home or habitat.
Don’t just take our word for it. Tune into the MaddieCam and see sharing ideas can save more lives!


About the Author

Sharon Fletcher brings over 30 years of experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors to her role as Director of Marketing and Communications for Maddie's Fund®. She has knowledge in strategic planning, brand strategy, marketing, communications, creative services and art direction, advertising, investor relations and sales. Sharon helped to found the animal education nonprofit Open Paw, whose mission is to educate and help pet families develop lifelong relationships.