When The Donkey Sanctuary were looking for grooms, agricultural workers and veterinary staff for their sites in Devon, it was important to sell their brand. Whilst The Donkey Sanctuary has given a home to over 16,500 donkeys since 1969, their activities extend beyond giving a safe haven to animals in the UK.

Donkeys are often known for giving rides at the seaside, but did you know that they are excellent therapeutic animals for children and adults with additional needs? The Donkey Sanctuary gives over 50,000 donkey assisted therapy sessions per year.  Internationally, The Donkey Sanctuary host mobile clinics, community engagement and education with donkey owning communities.

The Donkey Sanctuary carefully chose the job boards and communication channels to promote their vacancies.  They selected EmptyLemon direct employer job board, which connects employers direct with candidates and promotes employer branding. From the outset, The Donkey Sanctuary wanted to communicate their strong brand, which educates about their work, into their employer brand.

Promoting opportunities to a limited candidate pool

Whilst many children dream of a career working with animals, a few actually forge a career in the sector and even fewer achieve the rigorous study required to be a veterinarian.  The Donkey Sanctuary were looking for grooms, agricultural workers, riding instructors and vets to join their team. Advertising on job boards alone would attract some active jobseekers to apply; it was clear that The Donkey Sanctuary needed to do more to build a talent pool of passive candidates.

Using employer branding to entice candidates

With such a wide remit of activities, The Donkey Sanctuary wanted to communicate what they do over and above giving donkeys in the UK a safe haven. It was also important to the Donkey Sanctuary to demonstrate the virtues and needs of donkeys, which are distinctly different from horses; a common misconception is to think that they are the same.

The Donkey Sanctuary included a full employer profile on EmptyLemon, including logo, images, a company description, live Twitter feed and even a video about their work. By extending their brand into the employer branding across the EmptyLemon job board, The Donkey Sanctuary could raise awareness of their activities and vacancies amongst potential applicants.

Social media contact with sources of relevant passive candidates

 In order to build the candidate pool even further, The Donkey Sanctuary vacancies were promoted proactively by a tailored social media campaign via the EmptyLemon

Facebook sponsored posts were a cost effective way of targeted users with an interest in animal care, donkeys and equine health within 20 miles of the Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth site. The Facebook sponsored posts were monitored over a seven day period and amends were made to the target audience age group and keywords in order to increase engagement from clicks, likes, shares and comments.

The campaign also included carefully selected hashtags and tweets on Twitter, specifically targeting nearby Bicton College students and alumni, who have studied agricultural related courses.

The Donkey Sanctuary have received an average of nine applicants for each role they have advertised on EmptyLemon. Some of these roles are extremely niche and rely on building long term talent pools over and above reliance on proactive job seekers.

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