FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 03.26.2024

The first quarter of calendar year 2024 is winding down! In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, learn how we’re taking stock and get the latest on the TikTok ban, AI, trauma-informed messaging, introverted leadership, Avalon team building and more. Read it here:

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Dear friends,

We are winding down the first quarter of calendar year 2024. Wherever you are on the fiscal year calendar, it’s a good time to pause and reflect: How is the year going for you and your team so far? What wins deserve celebration? What lessons or improvements will you implement next quarter? I liked this advice from on how to take stock.

You are probably aware that the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill banning TikTok unless there is a change in ownership. The bill must clear the Senate, but President Biden has indicated that he will sign the ban if it lands on his desk. The marketing impact is just beginning to ripple, starting with commercial brands: AdWeek reports that brands have continued investing in TikTok, while also planning to diversify social media presence. “Meta’s Reels and YouTube Shorts are the runners up.” According to Inc., small businesses and creators are looking to Instagram as their primary backup. Nonprofits with TikTok presence should also be prepared to diversify if the ban goes through.

Also in tech, The Nonprofit Alliance posted a guide to Harnessing AI Responsibly. Authors Amanda Nelson and John Robichaux, who spoke at DMAW and TNPA’s Nonprofit Fundraisers Symposium last week, encourage leaders to use AI strategically and ethically. One challenge for the sector is “the executive expertise gap, with many leaders trained in the pre-AI era…exacerbated by an exodus of top talent to the private sector.” We must all show up to improve AI literacy and advocate for strategic and ethical use. Avalon’s AI task force is working to develop parameters that meet these needs.

For copywriters, marketing VP Barb Perell shared a New York Times article that considers the language used to describe opioid deaths. At issue is the word “overdose,” which places blame on victims of the opioid crisis. An alternative is “poisoning,” which better incorporates systemic concerns and calls drug manufacturers to accountability. The story is a good case study for trauma-informed messaging, an approach pioneered by our clients at Bread for the City.

Barb also shared expert advice on how introverts can enhance their visibility, while staying in tune with their true nature. Writing for Harvard Business Review, Melody Wilding recommends that quieter folks who prefer to work behind the scenes make an impact with strategies like “leverage asynchronous methods of communication” and “show gratitude.” I particularly liked her suggestions for meeting participation:

  • Build on a colleague’s point.
  • Ask a clarifying question.
  • Reflect on a previous discussion.
  • Suggest a resource.

On a client note, the National Museum of the American Indian highlighted “Bell Bird,” a stunning dress by Jontay Kahm, in the latest issue of American Indian Magazine. The Plains Cree designer was profiled in Vogue last August, and he graced their pages again last month when Killers of the Flower Moon star Lily Gladstone wore his feathered top, “Migration.” I am awed that Kahm creates his dresses by hand, without drawing them first: “I never draw illustrations of my dresses, because that takes away from the creativity of actually assembling the dresses. I see it in my head, and I just go for it.”

In addition, our clients at Trust for the National Mall are celebrating the 2024 cherry blossoms. Avalon VP Dara Igersheim, senior account director Kristin Dlesk, and program manager Rachel Wigglesworth attended a viewing event and report that the blooms are beautiful. They also shared an amazing fact: there are only 3 arborists at the National Park Service responsible for all 3,700 trees around the Basin. Wow! If you can’t get there in person, you can still appreciate the view, thanks to Trust for the National Mall’s #BloomCam.

A photostrip from the cherry blossom viewing event, with Trust for the National Mall's logo on the left and three women with long hair holding blooms and smiling in front of a cherry blossom backdrop on the right.Kristin, Dara, and Rachel at the cherry blossom viewing event.

Finally, DC-area Avalonians met in person recently for team building at indoor mini-golf. We also kicked off our annual NCAA men’s and women’s bracket contests. Playing and friendly competition are great ways to foster collaboration and connection! For more inspiration, here are 12 reasons why team building is important for your organization.

Two groups of smiling people in casual clothing at an indoor mini-golf venue.Avalonians teeing off at mini-golf.

Take care,
Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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