COVID-19 Communications: Free Tools for Shelters & Rescues

For many of us, it feels like the past week has contained the emotions and activity of a year. So much has changed, and continues to change, about our daily life in general. And for shelters and rescues responding to the moving target of COVID-19 response, we know it’s been a series of pivots to keep lifesaving up, get animals into homes (both foster and adoptive!), respond to policies and procedural changes, and keep the community updated about each adjustment.

Our goal here at HeARTs Speak is to simply support you: and for our mission, that means trying to reduce any stress, wasted time, and resource-consumption around your communications and marketing response. Each of your organizations is going through something slightly different, whether due to your location, your size, your existing resources, etc. but what continues to be true of this entire experience is that we really are all in this together, and the best of what we’re able to accomplish comes from collaboration.

For that reason, we designed a series of tools and resources meant to provide flexibility, creativity, and customization (click to access):


Within many unexpected bright spots this past week, the common thread was community. Shelters moving all their pets into foster, drive-up and curbside adoptions, national spotlights on shelter pets and the calls to action for support. And many smaller moments of camaraderie that were no-less magical: Facebook groups dedicated to resource sharing; collaboration and calls to “steal this idea! it worked for us!”; crossposting of useful resources and just a general feeling of deep community and problem-solving within our field.

Our own internal moment of joy came when we reached out to artists who contribute to our stock photography project Images with HeART with a special request. Within moments, we had 10…then 20…then 30 responses, all with the same message: “I’m in! Please allow shelters and rescues to use my images for FREE”.

And even in the wider world, there are countless examples of support being shown from other nonprofits and even corporate agencies. Here is a list of other free communications tools and resources being offered up to support evolving needs:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud 2 months free
  • Loom upgrades to free video recording service
  • Dropbox free business subscription for 3 months
  • Go To Meeting Emergency Remote Work Kits for 3 months
  • Higher Logic free Event Engagement for virtual events through the end of the year
  • Slack free paid account/tools for nonprofits
  • Jamm free voice + video collaboration (integrates with Slack)
  • Google Tools free advanced capabilities for Hangouts & G-suite
  • Microsoft free access to Teams and other advanced Office365 capabilities
  • Zoom free accounts with upgraded options


How are you and your organization coping with the emerging communications and marketing needs around COVID-19? Drop us a line in the comments! 

Want more tips on language and examples of what’s working for other shelters and rescues? Check out this original guide to Coronavirus Communications & Marketing for Shelters



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Caitlin Quinn

Caitlin Quinn

Caitlin is passionate about working with shelters and rescues to reimagine the way they tell their stories and connect with new audiences. She has served in the animal welfare field since 2008 and early on had the honor of working closely with diverse organizations across the U.S. to maximize resources, redesign policies, and find life-changing marketing solutions. In 2015, she got her MPA with a concentration in nonprofit management and in 2021, she began teaching marketing + communications for the University of Florida Master of Veterinary Science, Concentration in Shelter Medicine program. She lives in NY with a petite brindle pit bull named Sally who owns her heart.


  1. Erin Erin on March 24, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    I think our staff and our whole community is stepping up now more ever! It’s very inspiring despite the grim news that’s all around us.