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 Consulting guides executive directors and CEOs to generate the resources, boards, and support they need to make remarkable progress on their missions. As the award-winning thought-leader, advisor, and founding principal of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, Karen helps nonprofit leaders get answers, generate revenue, and grow their mission. Davis is known for her innovation and practicality based on her work with or visits to over 1,000 nonprofit organizations and her experience leading board and team events. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.