Fighting Fires with Vision

Only You Can Prevent Nonprofit Fires

Fighting Nonprofit Fires with VisionWhen you became a nonprofit leader, who knew that so much of your work would involve putting out fires? Fires have pending deadlines and failure consequences, and some have pyrotechnic potential.

What’s on fire? Tasks, such as
  • preparations for your event
  • the audit team arrives tomorrow, and
  • filling vacant staff positions
We respond to fires by throwing all our efforts into whacking out the flames.
Instead, imagine reacting to fire with vision. You decide to make things better, not just extinguish flames. For example, you plan earlier, outsourcing logistics, and streamline your process to douse event-fires. The results? A relaxed event that charms your guests and gives you the outcome you seek.

How to Prevent Nonprofit Fires

To prevent nonprofit fires, counterintuitively, stop fighting them. Instead, work on your vision every day for at least fifteen minutes. That is, the future you want. Invest time to:
  • Install sprinklers systems. Assign your assistant to track and troubleshoot missed deadlines.
  • Prevent flames. Call a board member who got grumpy during the meeting.
Your investment in the future you want to extinguish and prevent fires.

Why This Won’t Work

However, investing at least fifteen minutes daily in vision won’t cut it. Without accountability, within 90 days, you’ll return to full-time firefighting. Why? Kindling and matches are everywhere!

What Works

To change your instinctive firefighting impulse, work with an accountability partner. Your partner hears your anxiety, explores options to get around roadblocks, and inspires you to solve challenges long-term.
My work challenges people to choose vision instead of fear. By selecting vision, clients grow income, community support and create mission results. One mentoring client worked with little success for years to stop fires. With mentoring in three months, she increased her key outcome by 87 percent.
You can lead with vision, not fear. Find an accountability partner and invest fifteen minutes or more each day in your vision. Start today because you can prevent nonprofit fires.

Get answers. Check out this collection of resources for nonprofit leaders about the sector’s common leadership challenges.

Karen Eber Davis

Before founding her firm, Karen Eber Davis developed the Sarasota County Community Development Block Grant Program. Under her leadership, this infant program received the National Association of Counties National Affordable Housing Award for the Down Payment Assistance Program. To date, the program helped over 1,800 families realize their dreams of homeownership. She also worked with the City of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, where she developed the division’s first audit program. In an earlier position at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tampa, she organized senior, youth, and children groups plus family activities. Her youth staffing work with the Florida Synod of the Lutheran Church in America supported youth ministries in 120 congregations in Florida.