Technology can be your secret weapon during Intake
We know how it is. A new animal comes into your organization and there’s a pile of paperwork to fill out, pictures to take, behavioral testing to perform and then comes the loading of profiles, posting to Petfinder and posting to your website. If you find that you do not have time for all of this, it’s time to look at your procedures to see how technology can help streamline the process.
Anytime you’re filling out paper forms, you’re setting yourself up for more work. In todays technology world there are a number of options to streamline this process to save you time.
Google Forms: Likely you’ve heard of or seen Google Forms before but if you have not, you need to put this at the top of your to do list. Imagine a custom web page builder (FREE of course) that allows you to specify what fields of information you are looking to capture and then stores this information electronically in an excel like format so you can use it for other things. And they have a bunch of pre-defined templates to jump start your data entry. So why not put your surrender forms, new adoption forms and other paperwork into an online format and make it available via your website? Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can fill the forms out right in front of you as well.
Evernote and Microsoft’s OneNote are both excellent choices for snapping a photo of a document and having it stored electronically. Both even allow you to have OCR or Optical Character Recognition done on the document so you can edit the information. The best way to do this is to download their mobile apps and take a picture of your paper forms. Make sure you have plenty of light or use your flash so that it’s very legible. You’ll be amazed how quickly the information from the app shows up in the computer based version of the tool allowing you to quickly drag and drop that information to where you need it.
High quality and fun photos are critical to building profiles for animals that get adopted. This usually involves a professional photographer taking some high resolution photos, and then compressing them and uploading them to your computer for eventual uploading to PetFinder or AdoptaPet or other websites. While some of the newer advanced cameras have WiFi built into them to automatically sync the photos to your desktop, the tried and true method of using the SIM card is still the defacto method. However if you’re simply looking to quickly snapshot some photos to be able to use for your own, internal purposes, your smartphone will work and FREE services like Doobert.com will allow you to use their mobile app to snap a picture, name the animal and have it automatically show up in your organization’s Doobert.com profile. Just like the Evernote and OneNote option it’s practically instantaneous to use the app and grab a picture that automatically syncs to the desktop, but the Doobert.com system is designed for animal rescue so it contains much more of the profile information needed and the app allows you to quickly build profiles while away from your computer. They’ll even let you attach YouTube or Vimeo video links to the profile so you can capture behavioral testing or other temperament videos for future reference.