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It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn


English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller appears to be the first person to commit the notion that “It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth,” to print in 1650. The notion implies things often seem at their worst just before they get better.

It feels like we are beginning the darkest time of the pandemic. The dawn will likely align with the end of winter and the beginning of the first of several phases where at least 200 million people receive an effective, safe, and durable vaccine.


During these very trying times, you need to prepare your advancement strategies need to be prepared for the coming dawn. Your donors will self-isolate even more than before. Your coworkers will be trying to cope and be upbeat with the prospect of working from home for another six months. The holidays will be distracting and depressing because few families will risk congregating over dinner (hopefully).

All the while, you need to raise “now” money to keep the lights on and your team intact. Chin up mate.

Positive Momentum

To succeed during these especially trying times, I suggest doing all you can to create the feeling and reality of progress and an institutional sense of momentum. It starts with planning both for the dark time and the slow-motion dawning.

Involve as many stakeholders as you can. Your planning will be correctly perceived as progress and your stakeholders will feel valued and more likely to help you execute the plan and help you with current fundraising needs.

Even though you have probably made many changes to the way you do your work in this Zoom-a-thon environment, it is likely more adjustments will be necessary. Seek the wisdom of your “crowd” of stakeholders for the best plan for the dark and brightening months ahead.


Copley Raff’s mission: Every interaction is to help nonprofit organizations fulfill their missions by meeting ambitious goals, aligning their leadership, elevating fundraising, and activating the brilliance of their teams. It’s a bold promise but one that we know will serve you and your organization’s mission in a way that will deliver tangible and meaningful results – the kind of results that make a real difference!

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  1. Pingback:Revolutionary and Evolutionary Advancement Work in 2021 | Copley Raff

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