FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.15.20


Dear friends,

As I write this, the Electoral College is convening across the country to elect our next president. I thought NPR captured the moment well with this sentiment from first-time Pennsylvania elector Nina Ahmad: “I’m feeling excited. I’m feeling glad that the day is finally here and we can do our duty and move on.” I too am eager. I can’t wait to see what the nonprofit sector can accomplish with the Biden administration in office.

As I reflect on this election, I am particularly grateful to the League of Women Voters of the United States for their work to combat misinformation and disinformation around voter fraud. They were proactive on this prior to the election, and since November 3rd they have been equally strong in supporting a peaceful and constitutional transfer of power.  Looking ahead, they are working hard to support fair redistricting through the multi-year People Powered Fair Maps project. All in all, they offer a powerful example of advocacy that is both in the now and for the future.

At Avalon, amid the flurry of year-end activity, we are also looking ahead. In particular, I am focused on a strategic response to 2020’s changing donor patterns. Many organizations, particularly those offering outdoors programming and direct services, experienced an uptick this year. Others, especially those with ticket-buyer and onsite acquisition models, saw key revenue streams dry up. What they share is a need to understand their 2020 donors, so they can steward them to deeper engagement and subsequent giving. In last month’s DMAW Advents, I explained that your donor data holds the key. (Scroll down to see Avalon senior account director Rebecca Shapalis in the Member Spotlight!)

On a similar theme in The Agitator, Kevin Schulman recently explained the behavioral science behind “goal attainment” messaging. Long story short, goal attainment motivates giving by addressing donors’ psychological need for competence. What stood out to me, however, was this call to action: “Fundraising done well is about decoding humans and if an outside agency is to warrant getting paid in the hard-earned currency of your donors’ dollars, you should require them to really raise the collective bar on your decoding journey.”

I couldn’t agree more, and this is exactly why I am thankful that our clients and staff have the Avalon Analytics Dashboard at their disposal. I am so proud that we can offer such a powerful and easy-to-use tool to inform our clients’ “decoding journey.”

Of course, the most important thing we can do right now is stay strong in our COVID precautions. Hopefully, after Thanksgiving we have a decent playbook for how to enjoy the holidays safely. If you haven’t seen it, SNL did a funny and sweet skit on the difficulty of telling family members that we can’t visit – and here is a reminder from our favorite celebrity scientist to wear a mask.
Take care,