If COVID has made the animal welfare world understand anything, it is that animals flat out do better in foster homes than they do staying in a kennel. This makes your pet fosters one of the most valuable assets to your animal rescue or animal shelter.

To a new rescue or maybe a shelter that has not utilized a large number of fosters before, recruiting a successful network of fosters can sound like a daunting task. However, with the right plan and tactics, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people are ready and willing to help save animals’ lives! You just need to get in front of the right people with the right message! Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Use social media.

Use your social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, to get the word out that you are looking for animal foster homes. Post often that you are in need of foster homes and post content that will tug at people’s heartstrings. You want people to be drawn to your post. You can do this by writing emotionally appealing content. Tell a pet’s specific story and explain how having a foster for this animal will forever change its life for the better! Emotionally appealing content will receive more engagement, and in the long run, will help expand your rescue’s reach and awareness. If you can, use pictures of the actual animals that are in need of a foster. Make the connection between fostering and life-saving in your social media posts. It is a powerful thing when people understand that fostering really is life-saving work!

2. Alert the local press.

Many local news outlets will be happy to run a story about their local animal rescues and animal shelters needing help from the community. Write up a quick press release explaining who your shelter is and what help you can need from the community. Again, provide them with a specific story. Maybe you tell them about a litter of kittens and their mama cat that was just dropped off or maybe you tell them about the senior dog that needs to find a foster home to after spending too much time in a shelter. The news reporter will be able to create an engaging news story from this while also sharing your rescue’s or shelter’s information for potential fosters to reach out.

3. Work with other rescues, shelters, or coalitions in your area.

We’re all in the business of life-saving, so we recommend trying to reach out to other rescues and shelters in your area, or see about joining a pet coalition. You will be able to share foster networks while starting to grow your own foster network.

4. Use your current fosters to help recruit their friends and family.

Once you start building your pet foster list, use this list to keep expanding. Talk to your current fosters and let them know you are looking for more fosters to join the team! Ask them to mention your rescue to their family and friends, or even provide them with an email or flyer to send out to their network. Give them the tools they need to talk about your rescue to the other animals in their lives. The more connections from the great fosters you already know, the better.

5. Make sign up fast and easy.

When you starting bringing in potential animal foster homes, make it easy for them to start the foster process. Having your application online is one way to do that! At Pawlytics we have an application management system that allows you to receive, review, and store foster applications. You can use the online application on your website or send the application link directly to people inquiring about being a foster. The easier it is for the foster to sign up, the more likely they are to continue the process of actually fostering an animal.


We think this one is pretty self-explanatory! 😉  Read those applications and reach out to those people ready to save lives as quickly as you can. The animals are waiting!


Animals’ lives can be forever changed at a foster home. Stay motivated to keep growing your foster network!