FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.17.2022

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch: handwritten notes, a new generation of managers, and the best time to show leadership in meetings (you might be surprised). Also, we’re hiring!


Dear friends,

We spent last week struggling to reconcile the implications and historical context of the Supreme Court leak. This past weekend, the horrific shooting in the name of white supremacy in Buffalo was overwhelming and devastating. I’m struggling with my own very emotional responses to these different situations, and I know you all are as well, each in our own way. Give yourself grace this week and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.

News like this makes me grateful for our work, especially where we can impact the issues we care most about. So, I’m glad to report that Avalon has been busy—with several staff attending the AMMC in Detroit, many clients in the middle of budget season, and everyone preparing for summer. We’re all systems go, and we are hiring. Current openings include assistant program manager, program manager, digital program manager, and senior program manager. Please send your favorite fundraisers our way, and be sure to mention our best-in-class benefits. Thank you!

I smiled to hear that commercial brands are revisiting a tried-and-true technique from the nonprofit sector: the handwritten note. AdWeek covered the trend, which they described as “reviving the lost art of letter writing to drive loyalty.” As you know, nonprofits never lost the art. But what’s old is new again in the commercial world, as brands rediscover the power of direct mail.

For fundraisers, I recommend this Future Fundraising Now post on “4 ways you might be excluding your donors.” These are good reminders for accessibility and effectiveness. Specifically, you should avoid hard-to-read designs and type sizes, jargon, talking too much about yourself, and getting too abstract.

In leadership news, Fast Company reports that Millennials are increasingly stepping into management roles. This represents a significant shift, from Boomer leadership that favors loyalty and tech adaptation to Millennials who are digital natives and more open to disruption. Author Sophie Wade considers how to enact a “positive transfer of power” and calls for generational inclusivity. “No single generation, executive, or manager has all the answers.”

Ironically, Wade did not have much to say about my generation, Generation X. Senior VP Jackie Libby also noticed this—and made the point that Gen X and Millennials are sometimes lumped together in consumer and workforce analysis. Other analysts break out micro-generations, like Xennial, which sits on the cusp of Gen X and Millennial. On a fun note, if you think you might be an Xennial, you will enjoy this nostalgic quiz.

For your next Zoom, senior VP Margot O’Leary shared an interesting post on the most impactful times to demonstrate leadership in meetings. Specifically, moments of transition between speakers are critical. Because transitions are less structured, you can lose people to distraction. A good leader knows how to gather and then transfer attention. When it’s your turn to present, start and finish strong.

Finally, I was delighted to see the Kennedy Center’s 2022-2023 season announcement. Congratulations on an exciting lineup! It’s a dream for someone like me, who loves musicals—especially after the long COVID dry spell. 1776 is at the top of my list, and Les Misérables is a family favorite and will be a must-see.

Take care,


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