North Shore Animal League, a large and respected no-kill shelter in Port Washington, New York, has been finding homes for needy cats and dogs since 1944. While the people there know how to rescue puppies and woo celebrity donors, online video was more of a challenge. The shelter’s early video efforts were scattered around the site, and often involved hosting videos on YouTube.
While looking to create a more unified approach for the shelter’s videos, Sue Draddy, North Shore’s senior vice president of marketing and development, was tipped off to Magnify from a friend. She liked the idea that Magnify lets customers display their own videos, accept uploaded videos from supporters, and create a library of related videos from sharing sites like YouTube.
“One of my friends had heard about them and sent me a link. I also saw that they have a lot of other clients like New York Magazine. I always look in the fashion shows and I saw it being used for that, and it seemed like a very exciting platform that had a lot of different capabilities,” Draddy says.
“So we spoke with them and they were very kind to us in terms of how they worked with us. Their rates were very good. Our sponsor, Purina, has helped us develop this, so we’re very excited about that,” she adds
Since Magnify’s price was right and the system seemed easy to use. North Shore moved ahead with it. Magnify powers the new Animal League TV area of its website, which launched October 25.
“We have a channel called Animal League TV, where we actually have our own host that will go to different locations and create videos. We certainly are an animal rescue organization, so an important channel for us is the Animal Rescue channel,” says Draddy. “We have different events that we do with celebrities, that really help us spread the word about animal rescue, so we focus on some of those videos. We have about six channels now, so we’re very excited about that.”
The shelter also uses videos to promote animals they’re caring for.
“We found it really successful if we can take a video of a pet that’s up for adoption, maybe even an older pet that’s a little harder to adopt, and by doing a video those animals leave the shelter much more quickly. It’s really great in terms of getting those animals into wonderful permanent homes,” Draddy says.
The supporter channel, where people outside the shelter can upload videos, isn’t complete yet, as North Shore is still getting used to the new system.
“We probably have about a dozen user-generated videos so far. We’re kind of new to user-generated content. Now we’re in the process of vetting the video, and once we do that we’ll start posting,” says Scott Makufka, North Shore’s Web director.
North Shore hasn’t done much with Magnify’s curation feature yet. What the staff has done is organize all their videos into one place, with an attractive interface for the viewers. The video area is already showing results by getting pets adopted.
“This week alone, because of the video work we’ve been doing, we were able to find a home for a couple of animals that had been here a little longer than some others. It gives our supporters a really unique and interesting way to see these wonderful pets,” adds Draddy.
For the people at North Shore, that makes it all worthwhile. Online video helps people bond with the animals before they even get to the shelter.
“Coming in to adopt an animal is really about the connection you make with the animal. When people can look at an animal and see how special they are and see the personality you get in a video, those kinds of things can be really great,”