Power of Storytelling | Transparency, honesty, and the legacy of Snooty

September 5, 2017


In late July, the South Florida Museum lost one of its beloved manatees, Snooty. At age 69, he was one of the oldest manatees in captivity. Still, there was immediate evidence that Snooty did not die of natural causes. An investigation was launched to officially examine Snooty’s cause of death. SFM, keenly aware of its connection to the community, felt obligated to keep them informed. They felt obligated to remain honest, regardless of the outcome of the investigation. They let the community know what was going on every step of the way. Highlights of the report are clear, specific, and honest.

This report takes the form of a blog post, but SFM also provides a link for people to request the official report in entirety. Throughout the post, the transparency is unmistakable. In explaining how they navigated the investigation, acknowledging what mistakes were made, improvements for going forward, and offering a heartfelt apology, SFM provided the community with closure. And ended by inviting them to a special memorial open house. Read the post here.

“Transparency, honesty, and genuine caring, done the right way,” a supporter stated on Facebook. “I’m glad they continued with the investigation and weren’t afraid to be totally upfront with the results. This is the way to learning and improving and working toward a better future.”

I’ve talked about the importance of transparency many a time. When creating and maintaining the kind of vital supporter relationships that are built to last, your organization can’t survive without transparency. You owe it to yourself, and to your donors. End of story.

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