FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 04.30.2024

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find advice on team culture, the latest on TikTok, an encouraging giving outlook, client success, and more. Read it here!

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Dear friends,

Avalon kicked off our Spring staff retreat today in Annapolis. We have a good mix of learning and social time, along with space for spontaneous connection and downtime. Tonight is our all-staff dinner, which I’m hosting at my home (!)—and I’m grateful for the beautiful weather. Beyond sunshine, thank you to COO Kerri Kerr and marketing and operations manager Mollie Bensen for bringing this incredible gathering to life!

Ahead of the retreat, Kerri encouraged each person on our team to see themselves as a driver of culture at Avalon. “We all have a role to play,” she wrote, “to support a culture in which we all want to work.” Leaders have a clear responsibility and unique influence, but, at the end of the day, team culture isn’t about hierarchy. Seth Godin wrote about this recently on his blog:

Each of us builds culture every time we interact with anyone else. Opting out isn’t possible, all we can do is decide what sort of impact and contribution we’re each going to make. It’s tempting to say, “they” build culture, and to see that some have far more leverage than others. But it’s actually a “we” thing.

In other news, President Biden signed the TikTok ban. The legislation is part of the foreign aid package that cleared hurdles in Congress last week. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has 9 months to find the app new owners—a window that President Biden can extend by 90 days. Experts at MarTech advise a wait-and-see approach for marketers, while the legislation is challenged in court. They also call for national rules on data privacy:

The problem — and what’s driving marketers crazy — is the absence of a national law protecting Americans from having their data exploited by any entity. Instead, we have a patchwork of local laws that leave most of the population without protection.

In our sector, NonProfit PRO shared an encouraging outlook from the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. In a new report, they project total giving to increase by +4.2% in 2024 and +3.9% in 2025. Not only would this reverse the downward post-pandemic trend, but it would outpace average growth in the past decade (+1.9%). For individual giving, the numbers are also positive, but slightly tempered at +2.6% in 2024 and +3.4% in 2025. While this is good news, it’s important to stay in the zone of cautious optimism. Most of all, remain aware that every organization is unique, and your data is the most reliable predictor of your nonprofit’s future.

Looking ahead, The Nonprofit Alliance (TNPA) will host its quarterly membership briefing on May 7. The online event includes a 30-minute briefing and a 15-minute Q&A. I always appreciate these updates on legislative and regulatory issues that affect nonprofits, so you can count on Avalon to be present.

On a client note, kudos to Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), whose emergency campaign was picked up by local DC news station WUSA9. The campaign supported HRA’s recent, dramatic rescue of 31 dogs, all of which required urgent veterinary care. This campaign was a great example of successful cross-collaboration between communications and fundraising—and it went a long way to covering the expense of the rescue. Best of all, 22 of the dogs have already found new homes. The remaining pups will receive behavioral supports at an HRA shelter until they are ready for adoption. Well done to everyone at HRA! Avalon is proud to support you.

Finally, thank you to Abby Graf at TNPA for adding to our collection of font comedy. Last week, I shared SNL’s Papyrus skit, and she replied right away with “Fonts Hanging Out,” a hilarious reel by humorist Elle Cordova. Enjoy!

Take care,
Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group