FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 03.08.2022

This week in the @AvalonConsultingGroup dispatch: how fundraisers can be sensitive to the Ukraine crisis, early data visualizations, Equal Pay Day, “headline stress disorder,” and (finally!) daylight savings.


Dear friends,

It was good to see bipartisan support for Ukraine during last week’s State of the Union address, although it’s sad it takes a war to make that happen. With these events on my mind, I’ve spent a lot of time delving into Ukrainian history. My friend Jennifer Eremeeva, a travel/food/history blogger who lived in Russia for many years, suggested this reading list. Another friend sent this animated history. In addition, here is NPR’s list of organizations to support. My thoughts are with the citizens of the Ukraine, and I am hoping for a swift and peaceful resolution.

Many nonprofits are wondering how to approach fundraising during this time. Jeff Brooks at Future Fundraising Now cautions strongly against canceling campaigns, and I agree. We have learned from crises of the past not to assume that your donors stop caring about your cause. Not asking only guarantees that they won’t give. At the same time, it is reasonable to expect a short-term impact on response rates. According to Brooks, “They don’t go down to zero, but they drop. The slow-down in giving is usually not huge, and it doesn’t last long.”

In addition, Avalon is reviewing copy for sensitive language. Phrases like “fighting a battle” take on added meaning that we may not intend. To do this, we are pulling forward lessons from the early days of COVID, when images and language around gathering were highly sensitive. And, we are applying insights from our DEI work around trauma-informed fundraising. If you have any questions about this, please reach out to your Avalon team.

As the situation unfolds, it is normal to feel stressed by uncertainty and bad news. Thank you to senior VP Jackie Libby for sharing these suggestions for coping with “headline stress disorder.” She specifically highlighted the APPLE technique: Acknowledge, Pause, Pull back, Let go, Explore the present moment.

For some positive energy, marketing VP Barb Perell shared a fascinating article on how early data visualizations helped save humanity. They give three examples: Florence Nightingale’s 1854 diagram of the causes of mortality, John Snow’s 1854 cholera outbreak map, and the Washington Census Office’s 1861 demographic distribution map of enslaved persons. I second this conclusion:

It is not enough to merely provide raw data to your stakeholders if you want to persuade them. It is critical to present the findings in a logical and accessible manner and data visualization will come in handy in this case. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words, indeed!

Speaking of infographics, the Equal Pay Today campaign has a great one on why women are paid less than men. This year, Equal Pay Day in the U.S. will be March 15. It’s a great opportunity to honor women’s history month and advocate for intersectional equity. This year we can celebrate the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team’s recent victory in this struggle. Their success helps level the playing field (pun intended) and sets a great example for other organizations.

Finally, this weekend is Daylight Savings. Thank goodness! I love outdoor recreation and am eager to have more time after work for my favorite activities. If you need motivation, here’s a round-up of nature’s health benefits, from the medical director at AllTrails (a cool app to help you find trails). Enjoy the sunshine!


Take care,


Allison Porter headshot

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