Internal Memos

As director of your shelter, you need to treat memos like you would on social media. I used to have a saying to never write anything that you don’t want to see on the front page of the Washington Post. If you think that is a silly saying, wait until that happens to you. Fortunately for me,  My memo allowed me to be welcomed by the DC news media.

When I arrived in Fairfax County, I discovered that most of the County’s agency directors feared the media. They avoided the media like the plague.  I used my newfound relationship with the media to further the cause of my animals.

The first thing you need to do when taking a new job running an animal shelter is to make friends with your local media. You can do that by being open and honest with them. That memo? Well, I no longer remember what the memo was about, but the news media recognized that I was being open and honest with my staff as I was with them.

The greatest side benefit of being friends with the media is during budget considerations. Your local council or commission is not going to defund one of their organizations that is a darling with the local media. I remember countless times when the County Commission stepped forward to save my budget when the County Executive was hellbent on defunding my budget when working in Florida. Next to the local news media, making friends with your council or commission can only have a good impact.