FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.09.2023

Get the scoop on the latest M+R benchmarks, a data divide between for-profits and nonprofits, myth-busting fundraising facts, how to say no, and Avalon’s Get Outdoors Challenge—all in today’s @AvalonFYI dispatch. Read it here!


Dear friends,

It’s warming up again in the mid-Atlantic, and (if you don’t have spring allergies) the flowers are beautiful. Last week was May Day, when the Annapolis tradition is for downtown residents and businesses to decorate with May Day baskets. I treated my dogs to an extra-long walk, so I could fully enjoy my neighbors’ creativity. A win-win for all of us!

In nonprofit news, Stanford Social Innovation Review published an assessment of “the data divide” between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. The authors cite a 2017 study by IBM which found that only 28% of nonprofits use predictive or prescriptive analytics for any purpose. Nonprofits who do use analytics enjoy a clear benefit: “78 percent of nonprofits with advanced analytics capabilities reported higher effectiveness in performing their missions.” The sector has a long way to go regarding impact data, but I am so proud of Avalon’s work to make fundraising analytics more accessible and actionable for our clients.

Speaking of data, M+R Benchmarks 2023 are out and available for consumption. They report an overall decrease of -4% in online revenue in 2022, including a -13% drop on two bellwether days, Giving Tuesday and December 31. Meanwhile, nonprofits leaned into digital ads by +28%, and search remains the most reliable platform to generate digital ad ROI ($2.75 per dollar of ad spend). On a positive note, monthly giving increased by 11% in 2022, and annual revenue per donor was $287 for donors making monthly gifts vs. $192 for those making one-time gifts. These numbers are a good reminder that recurring donations support resilience in times of economic uncertainty. To optimize your monthly giving strategy, ask your Avalon team about our sustainer dashboards.

Continuing the stats theme, Avalon Analytics VP Sarah Birnie shared a collection of myth-busting statistics from Jim Langley at MarketSmart. One myth he tackles is the assumption that people who earn less will give less. Here are the facts: people earning less than $50,000 give more as a percent of income than all other income brackets, except for the highest earners. Those earning between $100,000 and $500,000 donate the least as a percent of total income. Most of all, I appreciate Langley’s larger point: “Effective fundraising strategy is rooted in fundraising fact.”

In addition, Avalon has been discussing time management and how to feel more confident in choosing and sticking to priorities. One relevant skill is saying no gracefully—a challenge for many professionals! Senior VP Jackie Libby shared 5 words for saying no without overexplaining, which I agree are “simple, yet polite and effective.” The magic formula is “Appreciation + the No + Well Wishes.” For example, “Thank you for inviting me. I love your passion for this issue (appreciation). Unfortunately, I can’t make it (the no), but I know you will host an awesome event. Have fun! (well wishes)”

Finally, Avalon’s virtual gathering committee is hosting a Get Outdoors Challenge. Keep an eye out for the #AvalonOutdoors hashtag on social media and follow @AvalonFYI on Instagram, to join the fun!

A hand holds an Avalon travel mug in front of a sunny pond in Maine.

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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