Ross Cellino — the Cellino of the famous legal advertisements — recently partnered with Bobbi and the Strays, an animal shelter with locations in Glendale and Long Island, to facilitate a win-win situation for strays and local businesses.
At the beginning of November, the Cellino Family Foundation launched its “Sponsor a Cage” program at the shelter, which provides businesses the opportunity to fund the daily needs of animals and receive marketing in return.
The model relies heavily on the innate human impulse to share pictures of cute shelter dogs online. Through the program, businesses pay $250 a month to pay for the needs of a specific animal. Bobbi and the Strays then posts about the sponsored animal and the business information on Facebook and its website.
Community members then share the posts, boosting the profile of the business and the animal along with it, making it easier for the shelter to find homes for the sponsored cats and dogs. Cellino’s role is to help boost the program by providing advertising.
“This is a program that hasn’t been tried before, and it’s really bringing businesses owners who love animals but can’t adopt them. Now they’re getting involved in helping in a way that gives them good exposure,” said Iris Berrios, assistant director of Bobbi and the Strays.
Cellino first implemented the “Sponsor a Cage” program in the Buffalo area, and was so happy with the success that he decided to find a shelter in New York City. Berrios said that the foundation plans to expand the program to other states as well.
Bobbi Giordano, the executive director of the shelter, said that they have about 200 animals between their two locations. So far, 11 businesses have signed up to sponsor an animal, plus the four or five others who have expressed interest.
“We’re having animals getting adopted quicker,” said Berrios.
They’re looking for more businesses to sponsor the ranks of Wing Bistro Sports Barr, who sponsor of Stevie Snowflake, a 1-year-old Maltese, or Maltese Home Sales, who are sponsoring Buddy Zu, an affectionate 10-year-old Shi Tzu.