FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 01.09.2024

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find leadership resolutions, advice on pacing your work, top drivers for nonprofit employee satisfaction, AI insights, and more. And don’t miss the Avalon Dispatch 2023 Top Five—last year’s most-clicked links!

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Dear friends,

I hope your year is off to a strong start! Avalon will be closed on Monday, January 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a great resource for connecting to King’s legacy—and for appreciating the long road to establishing a federal holiday and day of service in King’s honor. The museum will host its annual community program, The People’s Holiday, on Monday, January 15 from 11am – 4pm.

January is a planning month for Avalon, and next week our senior team will gather to discuss agency strategy, department goals, and how we can best support our clients and the Avalon team in 2024. I’m excited for the in-person collaborations and, when we return, to share and execute our plans.

Related to this, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of pacing our work for long-term success. Nonprofit Hub has a great take on this. Comparing work in the nonprofit sector to running a marathon, they recommend that professionals take on a big challenge, “train” consistently over time, “run” at a sustainable pace, have fun with the experience, prepare for adversity, and, of course, celebrate every win. Count me in.

In other resolution news, Forbes suggested 9 leadership resolutions for 2024. Are any of your goals on this list? I especially like the advice to “help more, by helping less,” by which they mean using questions and coaching to help your team solve their own problems. “Inquiry-led” management requires us to slow down in the moment, which can be hard for busy leaders. However, ultimately it strengthens productivity and performance. Notion CEO Dominic Ashley-Timms explains:

Every time we offer to help there’s a risk that this reflex response may actually be robbing team members of valuable learning opportunities, had you encouraged them to do the thinking themselves. Learning to sense when a question might be more helpful to someone’s thinking means that they retain ownership for resolving problems themselves, which, in turn, builds confidence, resourcefulness and resilience.

Speaking of leadership, The NonProfit Times re-circulated research on being a great nonprofit employer. One key finding is that “training, development, and resources” and “corporate culture and communications” logged the lowest satisfaction among the seven categories they tracked. However, the nonprofits honored in their 2023 Best Nonprofits to Work For stood out, with 90% overall approval in each of these areas. The NonProfit Times’ ten top drivers for employee satisfaction in 2023 were:

  1. I feel I am valued in this organization.
  2. I have confidence in the leadership of this organization.
  3. I like the type of work that I do.
  4. At this organization, employees have fun at work.
  5. Most days, I feel I have made progress at work.
  6. This organization treats me like a person, not a number.
  7. Overall, I’m satisfied with this organization’s benefits package.
  8. I feel I can trust what my supervisor tells me.
  9. This organization helps me pursue a career path that aligns with my skills and interests.
  10. The leaders of this organization care about their employees’ wellbeing.

For our fellow consultants, analytics VP Sarah Birnie recommended a new webinar on artificial intelligence from Salesforce: Establishing Ethical AI Standards in Consulting Firms. The on-demand event features speakers from Salesforce, IBM, and Cognizant, and it specifically covers the topic of trust. I’m encouraging the Avalon AI task force to review it, along with Venable LLP’s Nonprofits and AI: Important Legal Considerations Amid Ongoing Developments. We will continue sharing relevant ideas and resources as we progress.

Finally, marketing VP Barb Perell compiled a Dispatch, Wrapped! report that maps this email’s most-clicked links of 2023. We have learned that Dispatch readers value industry content, particularly benchmark data, and that you enjoy ideas for simplicity and wellness. DEI is also important to you, and we appreciate the attention you have given to Avalon’s Choice Points initiative. With no further ado, here are the Avalon Dispatch 2023 Top Five:

  1. Clear the Decks Bingo
  2. Names in the News Acquisition Advisor
  3. Virtual Bubble Wrap
  4. Giving USA Panel Sheds Light on Longer Term Trends
  5. Capital Pride Alliance

I especially love that bubble wrap made the highlights! Cheers to embracing the FUN in fundraising, one link at a time.

Take care,
Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102