Puppy Power: BarkLoudly Promotes Animal Shelters, Rewards Volunteers
Software development consultant and dog owner Anupam Kundu is a regular volunteer at his local animal shelter. Getting involved was great, but he noticed a hole in the system. Plenty of sites serve animal shelters from the pet adoption side: Petfinder, Adopt.a.dog.org, and Adoptapet.com all help potential pet owners find a pet to adopt in their area.
But the shelters still need volunteers, and they aren't connecting with that audience in the best possible way. Most people don't know how to engage with their local shelters and rescue centers, he says. So he built BarkLoudly, a for-profit site that will aim to create an entire community around animal shelters by connecting volunteers, local pet owners, potential adopters, and local businesses.
The site is live as of this week. Interested volunteers can sign up and learn about their local shelters. Any action, like volunteering, donating, adopting or fostering a dog, earns them rewards in the form of "PAWRKS" (yeah).
Meanwhile, local businesses can sign on to donate rewards to the volunteers. Right now the PAWRK-related rewards are a box of swag called a "Wag box." They're mostly dog gear donated by dog gear retailers. The idea is that dog owners often give up their animals because they can't afford to care for them. If local businesses hand out dog care-oriented rewards, it might offset the costs ever so slightly. In the process, volunteers get a gamified experience that encourages them to stay involved.
Meanwhile, the service acts as a CMS for shelters. Using the Petfinder API, Barkloudly pulls in information about the dogs in each shelter and the adoption requests. Shelters on Barkloudly can additionally manage their volunteer schedule, see details for adoption requests, and eliminate paperwork.
BarkLoudly is simple and sweet in its intention and execution. Done right, it could make the animal shelter experience that way too.