Operating in the Dark & Fog, Succeeding in the Unknown

Man walking in the fogIn the fog, the cove was pitch black. I couldn’t see the radio tower across the bay, a star, or the shore. Earlier that afternoon, the tide caught us when we’d anchored too close to shore. Now at 10:30 p.m., the tide was rising.

We needed to move the boat or stay stuck until the following day.

It should have been easy. We just needed to putter 100 feet-the length of two semi-trailers or 40 steps. I’d seen the open water at dusk.

I turned on the engine, waited for my husband to pull the anchor, and put the engine into gear-a smidgen and watched us whizz forward. Only I was mistaken. My fog caused a lack of depth perception meant that what I perceived as a movement in feet was movement in inches.

With the current, we were moving toward the shallows. My spouse, with ten times my nautical experience, saw what was happening, took over the wheel, flipped on the chart plotter, and motored us to deep water.

You, like me, prefer to operate in bright light. Nonetheless, sometimes you must move your nonprofit in the fog at night. Here are some examples of the foggy situations where my clients and prospects are asking me to guide them to deep water:

  • A major funder ends a program after a year instead of the expected three.
  • Setting up a new program amid political land mines
  • Dealing with shrinking nonprofit revenue despite efforts to reverse the trend
  • Obtaining planned gifts when staff has limited donor access
  • Growing donations when the board, despite encouragement, doesn’t help

Where are you operating in the fog at night? When you can’t operate in the bright light,
get help. Don’t sail alone.

Email Karen to set up a time to explore your opportunities to move to deep water.

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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.