FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 08.10.2021


Dear friends,

I hope you are well, notwithstanding news around the Delta variant. If you’re experiencing “COVID ambivalence,” you’re not alone. According to Steven Taylor, professor at the University of British Columbia and author of The Psychology of Pandemics, “Uncertainty is a pervasive, abstract stressor.” The good news, however, is that history points to patterns of psychological recovery after these events, including the potential for what Taylor calls “post-traumatic growth.”

In direct mail news, paper prices are rising. We’re hearing this consistently from industry sources, and it tracks to macroeconomic data. The increase is driven by supply chain factors, including both the price of wood pulp and the cost of shipping logistics. We are monitoring this closely, factoring it into budgets, and planning carefully with production partners. Please reach out to your Avalon teams if you have questions.


According to Federal Reserve Economic Data, the producer price index for wood pulp increased by 42% between June 2020 and June 2021, from 145.9 to 207.9. 

Also, I appreciated this call from Roger Craver at The Agitator to update best practices around gender, race, and fundraising. It resonates with Avalon’s approach to DEI-informed fundraising, and I echo the recommendation to read Ophelia Akanjo’s article on Black women in philanthropy, which is both informative and inspiring.

On a sweet note, former Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer and his wife Erica said goodbye to DC with a gift to cover a week of adoption fees at the Humane Rescue Alliance, an Avalon client. HRA CEO Lisa LaFontaine aptly called the gift “a fitting legacy of kindness, generosity, and compassion.” DC will miss the Scherzers. (Dodgers fans, you’re welcome!)

And speaking of pet adoption, we love our animal colleagues at Avalon. You’ve met my dogs Churchill and Cisco, and here is the newest addition to the team: data manager and junior data analyst Alice Murphy’s kitten, Willow.

Take care,


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