FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 06.04.2024

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find insight on TikTok’s new ad solutions, advice on choosing the right analytical tools, support for working parents, privacy legislation, belonging, and a very exciting client announcement! Read it here:

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Dear friends,

We made it to June! I know that many families are navigating a transition to summer routines. My boys are both in college now, so we’re on a different schedule—but I remember how hectic it can be. According to Forbes, stress upticks in summer for many working parents. Employers can help by encouraging paid time off, offering flexibility, ensuring that managers set a good tone, and pointing staff towards mental health benefits.

Turning to fundraising, thank you to the Direct Marketing Association of Washington for reprinting my 2018 article on predictive modeling in their latest Marketing AdVents. Modeling continues to be an essential tool in a smart marketer’s toolbox, including machine learning/AI models. Avalon’s philosophy has been consistent: don’t chase the hot new thing, but don’t dismiss it either. Instead, be intentional, test opportunities, and invest strategically. The right mix of analytical tools will:

  • Be firmly rooted in best practice,
  • Fit the nuance of your file, your program and your campaigns, and
  • Deliver actionable information to improve your strategies and drive return on investment.


In social media news, Avalon Digital shared insight on TikTok’s new ad solutions. Big picture, the tools are meant to enhance marketing through trend data, creative resources, and AI. The app’s future is uncertain in the U.S., but for now they are courting advertisers—and many nonprofits are experiencing growth. According to M+R, TikTok audiences for nonprofits increased by 112% in 2023 (far outperforming other social media). And, Classy reports that Millennial and Gen Z users gave $27 billion through the app in 2022. Avalon is working with clients on testing TikTok as part of a robust paid media strategy.

The NonProfit Alliance (TNPA) published a legislative update last week, including news on comprehensive federal privacy legislation. On May 23, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce recommended a draft bill to the full Committee; however, a bill number has not been assigned. TNPA supports a single national standard that preempts state privacy laws, but the current draft allows some existing laws (California, Illinois) to continue without federal preemption. Advocacy for a sensible outcome that protects donors and strengthens the sector is needed, and TNPA is leading the way. You can support their efforts by joining them June 11 – 13 for the first ever TNPA Advocacy Week.

On a leadership note, one of Avalon’s 2024 themes is belonging. This is central to our efforts to enhance remote work, deepen trust and collaboration, and deliver on our DEI vision. Last month, Stanford Social Innovation Review excerpted a new book on the topic, Belonging Without Othering. In it, authors john a. powell and Stephen Menendian explore the term’s “hidden depths” and outline 4 requirements for belonging: inclusion, a sense of connection, visibility/recognition, and agency. It is both encouraging and instructive to see leadership and DEI experts researching this concept.

Finally, I am delighted to share the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s (NZCBI) exciting panda news! In a clever announcement, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Smithsonian Secretary Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, and Brandie Smith, the John and Adrienne Mars director of NZCBI, prepare to roll out the red carpet for a very important state visit. Giant pandas Bao Li (a two-year-old male) and Qing Bao (a two-year-old female) will arrive at NZCBI later this year, and, after routine quarantine, they will enjoy a newly renovated habitat. We can’t wait to welcome them!


Take care,
Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group