Eugene Nonprofit #4 – Greenhill Humane Society

Everyone likes animals. This is Charlie, my golden retriever.

Greenhill Humane Society, the subject of today’s blog, is a private, 501c(3) non-profit animal shelter. Funded entirely by charitable donations and service fees, their mission statement is to “provide safe shelter for animals in transition, serve as advocates for animals and their people, work to end animal overpopulation and educate the public about compassion and responsibility towards all animals.” Programs provided include adoption services, education, domestic violence assistance, senior assistance, on-site volunteer opportunities, and foster care. They appear to operate independently of other state, federal, and international level organizations.

Greenhill uses Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and YouTube for its social media. Of these, only Facebook and Twitter are featured on the webpage, on the left sidebar. However, Greenhill updates both pages on a nearly daily basis, often with multiple postings in a day. Their last post on both pages links to The Animal Rescue Site, where people can vote for their favorite animal rescue organization in their state to win a grant worth up to $5,000. 13 people liked their Facebook post, with three comments confirming votes.

While the positive reception of their messages is good, what’s more important is their engagement with their fans. For example, one of their Facebook fans wrote on their wall last Thursday:

I tried stopping by today but you were closed 😦 I bought a bag of cat food and a few cans of wet food along with a kitty house for the cats. I’ll see if I can stop by tomorrow!

Greenhill took less than three hours to respond:

Thank you Ashley! There’s a donation bin outside the front door for days that we’re closed.

On top of that, they also “liked” a link posted on their Facebook page by one of their fans. This constant interaction with their audience and willingness to accept and respond to criticism shows a willingness to engage in two-way communication. Because of this, they secure an already loyal following attracted to their mission of rescuing animals.

A little more puzzling, however, is their Foursquare and YouTube usage. Neither appear to have been updated this year. The last tip left on their Foursquare occurred on April 3, 2011, while they uploaded their latest YouTube video on December 23 that same year. Since their webpage features neither website, this is probably worth discarding as social media attempts that failed to deliver the same results as Facebook or Twitter.

Perhaps it is their recognition of what social media websites work that helps contribute to their strong ZMOT. A Google search for Greenhill produced the following results:

Also worth noting are links to reviews found on the right sidebar from Yahoo!, Insider Pages, and GreatNonprofits. Despite relatively mediocre reviews from Yahoo! and Insider Pages – notably, each only features a handful of reviews – on GreatNonprofits Greenhill is distinguished as a Top-Rated nonprofit for 2010. They also enjoy an average rating of 4.5 out of 31 reviews. Pages advertised as “similar to” include the Oregon Humane Society, S.A.R.A.’s Treasures, Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis, and Willamette Humane Society in Salem.

With such a strong ZMOT, Greenhill is able to effectively communicate its message to its audience and maintain a positive image of itself. In fact, this positive image is so strong that it help Greenhill maintain its reputation in the face of criticism. For example, while the most recent Google review gives the organization a rating of 1 out of 5, only 2 out of 4 people found the review helpful.

By engaging with their target audiences through social media and channeling their message, Greenhill maintains a large following that helps them carry out their mission of giving all animals a home. Their work pays off in their winning second place in Best Nonprofit, losing out only to FOOD for Lane County. If there is room for improvement, it probably lies in their eliminating social media they don’t use, such as Foursquare.

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2 Responses to Eugene Nonprofit #4 – Greenhill Humane Society

  1. Chris,
    Good overview/analysis. We have found that more and more people’s decisions about adopting an animal come from on-line research and social media activities, and therefore it’s extremely important for us to be present in the socai media environment – being connected with our community of pet owners and potential pet owners enables us to fulfill our mission of finding homes for homeless animals.
    You’re probably right about Foursquare – it just really hasn’t taken off in Eugene, like it might have in larger, perhaps more metropolitan communities.

  2. cmckee2 says:

    Thanks for the feedback! While I didn’t mention this in my blog entry, I also believe that your sponsorship of local events such as “Pints for a Cause” is helpful for serving your mission.
    As for Foursquare, none of the other nonprofits I’ve written about have a strong presence there. Either they don’t have one or they’re inactive. Honestly I haven’t heard of Foursquare taking off anywhere, although I could be wrong about that.

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