FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.03.2022

In this week’s issue: good news for the paper supply, digital benchmarks, the next frontier of branding, and a big congrats to Avalon’s newly minted vice presidents!


Dear friends,

Last week’s Avalon gathering was wonderful—full of team bonding and celebrations. One special moment was our surprise champagne toast for Lisa Caldwell and Rebecca Shapalis, who were just promoted to vice president. Lisa and Rebecca both provide exceptional leadership on their accounts, stewarding their clients through transitions, growth opportunities, COVID closures, and so much more. They handle complex challenges with confidence and calm which is a model for all of us. Congratulations and welcome to the VP team!

Since it’s normal to feel rusty after so much time behind a screen, I shared a few resources with our team to ease nerves around small talk and networking. FM Magazine had these tips, including “share something small but personal about yourself.” The NYT had a funny take, including “you’re more likeable than you think,” and “don’t panic, it’s almost over.” In fact, the NYT published a whole How to Be Better at Parties guide. No surprise, everyone at Avalon did great.

In paper news, a welcome development: the strike in Finland has ended. Over 2000 paper workers who touch 7% of global supply can now return to work. Hopefully, this will help to loosen the backlog of materials needed, particularly label supply. We’ll keep you posted as we feel the impact downstream.

On the digital side, last week’s big news was Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. This Atlantic article has an interesting analysis of Musk’s history and what to expect. Many individuals and organizations are reassessing the tool in light of concerns around how Musk will manage bias, bullying, and misinformation. The situation is a good reminder that email lists remain essential. When tech companies experience disruption or implement an unfriendly algorithm, your email list gives you options—and a direct line to your audience.

Fortunately, nonprofits are doing a good job with this. M+R’s recent digital benchmarks find that email lists grew by +7% in 2021. I thought this stat was interesting too: “For every 1,000 email addresses, nonprofits had an average of 736 Facebook fans, 229 Twitter followers, and 141 Instagram followers.” M+R reports that total online revenue grew by +3%, with increases for all sectors except hunger/poverty. For those of you in hunger/poverty orgs, the report has good analysis on your sector’s unique pandemic pattern.

Outside the box, Fast Company calls satellite imagery “the next frontier of branding” and points to major companies with solar panels that promote their logos. Disney built an array shaped like mouse ears, and other companies like Tesla, Target, and Comcast are getting in the game. The technique is a natural evolution of painted rooftops, which originated by airports and expanded with the arrival of Google Earth. It can also be an opportunity for companies to offset the expense of solar investments through marketing ROI. Fascinating.

In other sustainability news, if you didn’t catch it on Earth Day, I recommend this NYT feature on plastic recycling. It explains what plastic is, what the “chasing arrows” logo means, how to recycle better, and system changes that could make a big impact. I was also interested in the article’s design; it’s a good example of how layout and illustrations can simplify complex issues.

Finally, I want to share a few thank you notes. To the Avalon team, thank you for showing up in a big way last week. You traveled, you juggled, you brought your A game, and you were so fun to be with. I am especially grateful to the planning committee and each person who helped with logistics. It was a huge endeavor, and it turned out beautifully. To our team’s families, thank you for sharing your people with us. We know it isn’t easy to be without them. Finally, thank you to our clients and partners who made a point to connect and express friendship. We love working with you and are so glad you’re in the Avalon community.

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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