FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.28.2024

It’s a meeting-free week at Avalon! In today’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, learn how this ties into our strategic goals—and why it’s great for our clients. You will also find conference news, professional development for new fundraisers, nonprofit KPIs, persistence in equity work, and advice for your younger self. Read it here:

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Dear friends,

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend! This week (May 28 – 31) is a meeting-free week for Avalon. The pause is part of a larger initiative to encourage and empower high-value strategic and creative work for our clients. In addition, it’s a tangible way to support rest and wellbeing for our staff. All teams will keep deliverables on schedule, and we are available by phone and email if you have an urgent need.

In other Avalon news, senior VP and director of digital innovation Mary Meredith and senior digital account director Catherine Wallwork traveled to Chicago for the Collaborative by Classy conference. They report that it was an energizing event with great insights at the intersection of fundraising, technology, and innovation. This year’s keynotes were given by Xavier Ramey, CEO of Justice Informed, technology strategist and futurist Crystal Washington, and I AM ALS co-founders Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya.

Mary and Catherine in front of a Classy mural on a brick wall.
Mary and Catherine at Collaborative by Classy.

Also, don’t miss Avalon’s latest publication on LinkedIn: “Telling the Whole Story with Nonprofit KPIs.” The article outlines our strategy for developing and measuring the key performance indicators that your nonprofit needs for a strong program. It all begins with your theory of change, followed by careful tracking and the right questions to support your organization for the long term. Avalon clients will be familiar with this approach, and we hope this outline is a good starting point for others. Please share it with your nonprofit friends!

In DEI this week, analytics VP Sarah Birnie shared Vu Le’s “The Brussels Sprouts of Equity.” In it, Le makes a metaphorical connection between equity work and getting children to eat their vegetables. He notes that it can take 8 – 15 exposures to a food before a child embraces it; however, many give up trying after 3 – 5 times. We also know this from marketing. It can take multiple touchpoints (often as many as 7) to motivate a person to buy or give. As frustrating as this is, given the urgent need for change, it is also a call to action. We must remain persistent:

You may think that bringing up an important equity consideration at a meeting or retreat, or passing along an article, or bringing in a local consultant, etc., and then nothing changing means you failed. But maybe you didn’t. You may have delivered the 4th or 5th or 8th exposure out of the 12 or 15 exposures that it takes for the message to be perceived and internalized.

Around the industry, the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association will host Direct Marketing 101 on June 27 in Alexandria, Virginia. VP Bill Tucker will lead the opening session on Fundraising Creative, and VP Nova Cohen-Prohow will teach an afternoon session on Multi-Channel Marketing. Other topics include acquisition list strategy, data hygiene and processing, production, database analytics, and telefundraising and text marketing. This training is designed for new fundraisers, and it is the only DM 101 planned for the DC area in 2024.

Finally, senior VP Jackie Libby circulated four rules for happiness and success from Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran. Asked what advice she would give her younger self, Corcoran answered, “Listen to your instincts…Don’t wait to try new things…Make time for fun…Don’t waste time on regret.” Jackie says she would tell her younger self not to sweat the small stuff. I would tell mine that balance looks different for everyone, so have faith in your choices. What about you? I would love to hear your wisdom!


Take care,
Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group