No Kill Advocacy via Media Outreach in Huntsville, AL

Following the recent news that the city of Huntsville, AL is researching the No Kill Equation for possible implementation at the pound, the group No Kill Huntsville is engaging the community by putting up some digital billboards:

No Kill Shelter astronaut
Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh
No Kill Shelter salon #2
Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh
No Kill Shelter girl  dog
Image courtesy of Aubrie Kavanaugh

Aubrie Kavanaugh of No Kill Huntsville writes:

No Kill Huntsville continues to push local elected and appointed officials to embrace no kill programs and to end the destruction of healthy and treatable pets using tax dollars. John Hamilton, the new city administrator, told a media outlet recently that the city is exploring the possibility of becoming a no kill community. This is a degree of forward progress in a city which has known about, but chosen not to implement, the No Kill Equation for more than five years.

Although the city’s recently stated position is seen in a positive light, the members of No Kill Huntsville plan to continue to push the issue in the community and to be the group which seeks to hold city leaders accountable. A huge part of that is reaching the public, many of whom either don’t know what happens at the local shelter or may not realize that there are other ways to function. The latest tool in the toolbox is a digital billboard campaign which is set to run during the months of July and August (thanks to some help from a local sponsor and an animal-friendly advertising company) and a new television PSA (below) getting air time on the local network stations. Although the group has a fully developed web site and is very active on social media, the members acknowledge that the key to change is connecting with the very people who can be educated on what is taking place using their tax dollars and then encouraged to speak out to local officials in support of change.

The hope is to reach a wider audience using visual content which goes beyond the computer screen. No Kill Huntsville is using a degree of humor to reach the community, but there is a method to the madness. Since Huntsville is home to the Marshall Space Flight Center and does, in fact, have a host of rocket scientists living in the community, the group is taking advantage of that. Here in Huntsville, we call ourselves the Rocket City and the Star of Alabama. This region is smart, proud, progressive and creative. If we can support the space program and the international space station, surely we are smart enough to learn from successful no kill communities and stop killing healthy and treatable pets.

Thank you Aubrie for the update. Keep going.


5 thoughts on “No Kill Advocacy via Media Outreach in Huntsville, AL

  1. Thanks to Shirley for the coverage.

    We looked at print advertising and it was cost prohibitive. Digital billboards are computerized and we were able to connect with a local company which essentially cut us a deal so good we aren’t supposed to talk about it. We got some financial help from a local donor and then added some cash from our supply on hand from selling magnets we had produced by Magnet America (in North Carolina). The company guided us on word limits, the art of “the hook” and how to cause an emotional reaction that would resonate with our community.

    The TV PSAs are not difficult. If you have some software, some good images, and something compelling to say in less than 30 seconds, you can put together a PSA and connect with TV stations in your area for air time. You have to be a 501c(3) and be able to provide your IRS determination letter, but the process isn’t complicated. And while PSAs are like the spackle of TV, they do get air time and it is free.

    We tell ourselves things will change for us once more of the public knows what is taking place using their money. And so we keep looking for new tools to make those connections.

  2. So proud of what you all are doing! I remember you from the old Best Friends network, I was a regular poster on there and I think you stay in touch with my sister. So I have been following what you are trying to accomplish. I just have to say – YOU GO, GIRL!

  3. I used to work for a newspaper and there is space called “remnant” space that can go for very cheap, it is usually last minute drops from someone whose payment didn’t go through or just space that is open due to the ad layout and not enough to fit an article in. They will typically try to minimize it as much as possible. Newspapers sometimes will donate those ad spaces (it gets run of press, there is no preferential placement , just wherever there is free space) and they will write it off for tax purposes. Otherwise, they will run House Ads, which will just say things about the newspaper.

    Typically it helps to have an in with the newspapers head people, because they don’t want to take away from revenue stream (ads) by donating space, but a tax deduction usually trumps placing house ads (unless it is an event sponsored by the media organization.) That and they are ones who can make those decisions and justify it.

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