Week 7: Living with Covid-19 and Not Knowing

It is week seven of the great shutdown and there is still so much that we don’t know.  We ended our post last week with the acknowledgement that we don’t know, but we were going to find out.  Well, having spent some time thinking about it, knowing is difficult to achieve.  We all believe we know certain things.  Many of us believe we know how to raise money to enable the missions of our organizations.  Our firm is now in it’s 55th year of our consultancy and that certainly suggests we know a few things.

FONK - Fear of Not Knowing
Does Living with Covid-19 and Not Knowing have you in a FONK?

But what is knowing really?  Why do we fear not knowing?  We seek knowledge to inform our decisions, to plan, to act, and to make changes.  When we are afraid of not knowing, our brains tend to search for negative things.  Have you been noticing more negative thoughts as you watch the news these days?  When our heads are full of negative thoughts we fail to act.  “How will I write this week’s blog post without knowing?”

It is fair to say that everyone now realizes our lives have changed mightily in the past six weeks.  And, most of us can acknowledge an increasing sense of fear about our uncertain futures.  FONK is upon us:  Fear of Not Knowing.  FONK can be debilitating, and lead to poor decisions, or even worse total paralysis.  It’s time to be honest: is your organization’s fundraising paralyzed by FONK?

What can we do to embrace not knowing?  We need to remember that we’ve been here before.  There was a great deal that we did not know this time last year.  In fact, we wake up and face everyday of our lives not knowing ­ something.  How did we get through our FONK yesterday? Is it because so many of us are struggling through this at the same time that things seem particularly difficult? 

Let’s turn FONK on its head. Have you ever noticed how joyous children are when they are exploring, and their sheer surprise of discovery?  We all need to embrace our FONK and the opportunity it presents to get comfortable with change and to discover something new.

Here are three quick thoughts for the week and for embracing your FONK:

1) Try something new

We wrote about this in week 4 (Adopt, Adapt, Improve) and now that you are embracing your FONK you can find the fortitude to act.  That special event fundraiser scheduled for this summer isn’t going to happen, so try something new.  Start smaller if you need to build your confidence, but embrace your FONK and act today.

2) Embrace your mistakes

When you do something new it is likely that you’ll make a mistake and when you do, embrace it as growth.  Realize your discovery and channel your new knowledge to act again.  Messing up is not failure it is a way to get better at something, at something new, to grow and to get stronger.

3) See the wonder and opportunity of change

Change can be scary, because it forces you to leave your comfort zone.  See it instead as a new opportunity to explore and to discover, to meet new people and to reinvent success for your organization and your donors.  Change has happened, now look for the wonder in it, and the new doors that can open.

We have some ideas about new approaches, and new ways to put our years of knowledge to work for you, so give us a call.  There is still a lot that we don’t know, and we are embracing the FONK.  Stay positive and focused, and rest assured that our work as professional fundraisers is essential.  Be smart, act smart, stay healthy, and give us a call.  Together, we will overcome these challenges

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