February 18, 2019

Red Tide and Fundraising | A Lesson from the Oysters

A shell resting on a beachAfter months of rotting fish, ghastly odors, and irritated throats, biologists have declared Florida’s epic Red Tide bloom over.

Earlier this month, we went on our first-post Red Tide boat outing. The first stop was our “secret” oyster beds. Donning water shoes, carrying bucket and hammer, we climbed over the stern and waded toward the exposed bars.

Usually, the beds are alive with birds feasting and oysters clacking. It was eerily quiet. Arriving first, my husband minus his hearing aids, declared the beds killed by the Red Tide and bee-lined to the nearby flats to search for clams.

I, more reluctant to climb in icy water, followed. I waded into the middle of the beds and crouched. As the waters calmed, I heard a single clack. Then, a second, a third, and more. What once had been an orchestra was now an ensemble of survivors.

Heartened, I turned to explore the flats, knowing that despite Red Tide, the oysters and I had a future.

What Does This Teach Us About Fundraising?

In fundraising, even when others declare a relationship dead, you don’t. You continue to listen, keep the door open, and watch for life. You know that even though little moves on the surface, passion for your work often still grows below it.

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Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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