FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.30.2023

A new benchmark for LGBTQ+ nonprofits, the evolution of direct marketing, mental health and social change, solstice at the Smithsonian, and more—all in this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch. Read it here!


Dear friends,

I hope you enjoyed the long weekend; I had a wonderful start to the summer in Boston. I always love the turn into summer—and all the anticipation of both fun extracurriculars and work milestones like the annual Bridge Conference, a new fiscal year on July 1 for many nonprofits, and, of course, kickoffs for year-end campaigns. It is such a great energy.

This week also marks the beginning of Pride Month. Let’s get things started by celebrating LGBTQ+ nonprofits! Last week, the Equitable Giving Lab at the Lily School of Philanthropy released The LGBTQ+ Index: Measuring Giving to LGBTQ+ Organizations. This new report establishes a baseline on 2015-2019, when revenue growth for LGBTQ+ organizations was +46.3%, and 2019 funding totaled $560 million. Transgender-specific organizations saw even more growth during this period, expanding by nearly +200%. The report does a nice job of outlining how cultural and political changes intensified both the need for and philanthropic commitment to this vital sub-sector of nonprofits. THANK YOU for all you do.

For marketers, Forbes recently published an article on the evolution of direct marketing. This history lesson will sound familiar to most of us, and, of course, we already know that direct mail isn’t dead! However, I’m always interested to hear how commercial marketers are approaching our field. In this case, it’s gratifying to read that current for-profit best practices incorporate what fundraisers have long understood about connecting with donors:

The key is to stay focused on the customer and their needs, providing personalized and relevant messages that resonate with their interests and behaviors. By doing so, businesses can build lasting relationships with their customers and drive long-term growth and success.

In mental health news, Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) outlined The Case for Mental Health in Our Social Change Worlds. They argue that mental health is not only an individual concern, but also a building block for collective change. The article is part of an SSIR series on the connection between mental health and social change, which will present global perspectives on four areas: climate justice, peacebuilding, gender equity, and the workplace. “The good news is there are many pathways to integrating mental health as a critical ingredient in lasting social impact.”

On a fun note, mark your calendars for the Smithsonian’s Solstice Saturday on June 24. Smithsonian museums will be open and hosting programs and performances to celebrate the summer solstice. The event will take place in association with Hofstra University’s Astronomy Festival on the National Mall. If you can’t attend in person, check out the digital experience of the sun in Smithsonian collections on the Solstice Saturday website.

Finally, a very important update: You may remember that Avalon’s animal whisperer, COO Kerri Kerr, hosted a nest of baby birds in the wreath on her front door this spring. Those birds have fledged, and now a second nest of bird parents has taken roost. So, it is only fitting that Kerri shared this Washington Post article on the benefits of paying attention to birds. Kerri, you continue to amaze us!


Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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