Showboating: The act of showing off.

In spite of my staff wanting their social media to go viral, they all seemed to express a fear of dealing with live media. Anytime that the news media showed up at the shelter, my staff would disappear. Unless you have a staff position to deal with news stories, as the Director, you’ll become the face of your organization. Not necessarily a bad thing.

If the media is at your shelter to highlight the available animals, your staff will shine. Animal shelter staff can’t help but take an interest in the animals that they care for. It is like asking a mother to show off pictures of her children.

I have watched my staff come out of their shells when telling the media about their favorite shelter animal. When addressing the news media, I tell my staff to tell only the truth about an animal. Staff and volunteers are guilty of making up stories to help sell an animal. So telling the truth is the most important item. Next is to only show animals that have shown no signs of aggression. And finally, show a mix of breeds. This rule is important because pit bulls remain in your shelter longer, so your staff will spend more time befriending them.

When animal shelters show only pit bulls, people will associate your shelter as the pit bull shop. That is easy to understand when 70% of your animals are pit bulls. You need to throw in other breeds to convince your community that you have more than pit bulls to offer. It is like the way auto dealers bring in people to their sales lot by showing a flashy car on television and then once they are on the lot, they can show them their entire inventory. Animal shelters have to work the same way.