FiXiT has a mission to end companion animal overpopulation. We are conducting a case study in a closed population to demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy of targeted messaging and incentive-based promotions in increasing demand for spay and neuter. To this end, FiXiT began the Final Fix Project in St. Croix, USVI in summer 2010. FiXiT spent the first 6 months of the project conducting several research studies: a spay/neuter perception survey, an island-wide cat and dog census, and an advertising optimization survey. We have used these studies to inform our large-scale marketing campaign. During our spay/neuter perception survey, we sampled 2% of the St. Croix population. We learned that 66% of St. Croix pet owners have unaltered pets, and economic and motivational factors explain this statistic.
Using the patterns that we found in our preliminary research, we are implementing a diverse marketing strategy, including print, radio, television advertisements, for marketing our spay/neuter services. Each media and individual message are tracked to determine which are most effective for attracting calls and new clients. View our advertising here. This will be used to determine how to draw the type of pet owner that would typically not fix their animal.
In February 2011, we launched a low cost spay/neuter clinic under the name St. Croix Animal Welfare Network, a collaborative effort between FiXiT and private veterinarians on the island. Initially, we offered our service for a fee of $25. In July 2011, the offer changed: the cost stayed at $25 with an incentive of $25 worth of pet supplies. In October 2011, we began to offer spay and neuter for FREE. In January 2012, incentives were added to each free surgery, including fast food and rum. At each incentive level, we are tracking how our call and surgery volume change and the effectiveness of each media channel. This promotion has increased the surgery volume for the program 500% from the control $25 and previous incentive level with room to improve as word of mouth spreads. It is our goal to attain a volume in which the island’s animal population will no longer grow.
We then tested a more community-based strategy and partnering with the local St. Croix shelter. We used a mobile spay/neuter van with five objectives: reach a clientele that would not go to a private clinic, enter neighborhoods with the highest rates of abandonment, respond to the need for transportation, target feral cat colonies, and provide education to students and program participants. The addition of the mobile van has further increased demand for spay/neuter on the island so that we are servicing 200 dogs and cats per month in a human population of only 50,000!
In 2013, a decline in the St. Croix shelter’s intake was finally realized after a long period of increase. This exciting trend could be the first step toward long-term population decline.
Final Fix Moving Forward:
The St. Croix portion of the project has now been completed in January 2014. FiXiT will now be compiling our results to create a free webinar series — Spay/neuter Marketing and Research Training (SMART) — to aid other organizations increase demand for spay/neuter in their hard to reach pet-owning demographics. We anticipate a summer 2014 release of this program.
Help support this innovative project.
For a complete overview of the first two years of the Final Fix on St. Croix, read THE FINAL FIX – Oct 2012 Report. For further detail, read our June 2011, September 2011, December 2011, or April 2012 quarterly reports.
Interested in FiXiT helping implement our marketing strategies for your spay/neuter clinic? Contact Us for more information.