FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 03.22.2022

Cost strategies, crypto-philanthropy, radical candor, and a heartfelt message from COO Kerri Kerr—all in this week’s @AvalonConsultingGroup dispatch. Read it here!


Dear friends,

Last week was a vacation week for me, and it was nice to get away. My first time ever in the Tennessee mountains! It was beautiful. With so much going on in the world, I’ve been thinking about what a privilege it is to take time off—and to work in a profession I love. So much responsibility comes with that. I’m grateful for the break and ready to get back to work.

Here at Avalon, we are launching a comprehensive segmentation and cost audit for our clients. Postage and paper costs continue to rise, and that impacts the cost of fundraising. Our goal is to help you offset increased costs strategically. Avalon’s approach is twofold: First, we are finding every way to bring costs down, especially regarding upfront premiums and postage. Second, we are auditing segmentation strategy to potentially reduce mail volume (and expense), without suppressing net revenue. Your teams will keep you posted on findings.

We have also been talking about crypto-philanthropy. Our clients haven’t seen many of these gifts yet, but it’s smart to be aware of their potential. According to DonorSearch, 35% of younger investors hold cryptocurrencies, and half of those who don’t anticipate investing in crypto within the next year. Also, like stock gifts, donating cryptocurrencies avoids capital gains taxes. Nonprofits should consider whether they will accept crypto-donations and how to do so securely. To help with that, I recommend the New York Times primer on cryptocurrencies and this DonorSearch post on crypto-philanthropy.

In other news, our analytics team discovered an interesting pattern: younger sustainers. For one client, only 47% of sustainer donors are 70+ years old, compared to 56% of non-sustainers. For another, 32% of sustainer donors are 70+, compared to 60% of non-sustainers. If your leadership is asking how to acquire young donors, it’s a good opportunity to discuss your sustainer investment. Please reach out to your Avalon team if you would like to assess your file’s age demographics. It’s a great add-on to the Avalon Analytics sustainer dashboard.

Turning to teamwork, Avalon hosted a staff training on radical candor, a.k.a. the art of getting and giving feedback. The phrase “radical candor” was coined by Kim Scott, who was a leader at Google and has been a CEO coach for major tech companies. The big idea is to challenge others directly, while also caring personally—and to encourage and reward honest feedback. It’s a great framework for team communication.

Finally, on a serious note, Avalon COO Kerri Kerr shared an important, heartfelt message with our staff. Around the world, many people are experiencing mental health challenges after 2 years of pandemic stress, on top of many other crises. Though we work closely together, we don’t always know what happens “beyond the Zoom” in one another’s lives. So, I echo Kerri, who wrote:

Please hear me when I say that you all matter. And I don’t mean as colleagues—I mean as human beings and as agents of change for good in this world. Your lives impact far more people than you can imagine. If you’re struggling right now, please don’t suffer alone. Reach out to someone and talk.

Our work is important, but our people are more important. We’ve come so far and managed so much in these past two years. Please continue to take care of yourselves. Get out in the fresh air and enjoy the recent gift of longer light in our days. And lean on the people around you when it all feels too much.


Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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