FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 03.05.2024

Hello, March! We see spring on the horizon, but first we are celebrating the Avalon Town Hall, Allison Porter’s advice on DEI and rising costs, direct mail appreciation, self-awareness, client success, and more. Read all about it in the @AvalonFYI dispatch.

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Dear friends,

We made it to March! Daylight savings begins this Sunday, March 10. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the extra sunshine.

March is also Women’s History Month. As I mentioned last week, the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum will launch its first digital exhibition, “Becoming Visible”, on March 8. In addition, the museum will host an “Inside Look” at the exhibition with curators on March 14, and they will rally a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on March 27.

In other news, thank you to NonProfit PRO for featuring me twice in their publication, “40 Nonprofit Trends for 2024.” You can find my advice on DEI and rising costs at #5 and #10 on their list, respectively. The entire report is a great read, and I’m honored to be included.

Thank you also to our clients who participated in Avalon’s State of the Industry Town Hall! We had a great turnout, and it was good to connect with you on the 2024 fundraising outlook. Kerri and I enjoyed the far-reaching conversation, which covered the acquisition market, rising costs, DEI, age demographics, AI, the election, and more. (Avalon clients, if you missed it, check your email or ask your Avalon team for a streaming link.) Here are our big-picture recommendations:

Avalon 2024 Town Hall slide 2 - the impact of elections

For more on election fundraising, Names in the News shared data in their latest acquisition advisor, and Moore Group recently posted insights on LinkedIn. Industry findings are clear: charitable giving has not historically declined in election years, even though all channels are more crowded, which impacts timing and costs, and fundraisers must navigate evolving rules from big tech. Avalon agrees and will be reviewing your fall contact schedules to see if anything needs to be adjusted in light of the historic impact. We shared the following perspective at our Town Hall:

Avalon 2024 Town Hall slide 2 - the impact of elections

From the commercial side, vice president Nova Cohen-Prohow shared news that advertisers are returning to direct mail. Digital pressures like a more crowded market and new privacy barriers have led them to reconsider traditional media. As Nova said, “Welcome to the mailbox, advertisers!” Fundraisers never lost sight of mail’s strategic value. However, it is fascinating to see how ad execs approach the cost-benefit analysis:

“The cost of a standalone direct mail impression is 30 to 40 times more expensive than a Meta impression. People are still turning to it because it’s very qualified and targeted.”

From Avalon HR, senior director Melissa Ferrell shared a tool to improve self-awareness: the personal SWOT. For this exercise, “S” looks at self—what are your strengths and areas of growth? “W” is about world—how are you being influenced and impacted by the world around you? “O” stands for others and assesses the quality of your relationships. And, “T” means both time and treasure—how do your calendar and your bank account reflect your priorities (or not)? “‘Know thyself.’ For centuries, this has been the motto of great leaders.”

For podcast fans, Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice was a recent guest on USA Today’s podcast, The Excerpt. The episode covered the gap between crime statistics, which are improving, and the perception that crime is getting worse. Host Taylor Wilson reported that 77% of Americans believe crime increased last year, even though crime data tells a different story. Grawert provided helpful context and perspective on the data, how traditional and social media impact perception, the presidential election, and more.

Last but not least, let’s have a moment of silence for Flaco the Owl, who met an untimely demise after flying into a window on the Upper West Side. If you follow this dispatch, you know how much I enjoyed Flaco’s story, along with many New Yorkers who appreciated his daring and spirit of freedom. He will be missed.

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