FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 08.24.2021


Dear friends,

It has been a difficult week of news, full of heartbreaking stories and images. It is hard to process so many families, communities, and even nations in crisis. As always, I find hope in the determination and responsiveness of our nonprofit community. Thank you. You make a difference, and I’m grateful.

In paper news, wood pulp demand continues to outpace supply. Earlier this month, I wrote about how this drives up the cost of paper. It also impacts the availability of recycled options, especially 100% and 30% post-consumer-waste stock. Sheridan, the book, journal, magazine, and catalog publisher, has written a helpful post on why we are experiencing scarcity right now. Your Avalon teams will continue to manage this through long-term planning, tactical flexibility, and proactive communications with production partners.

Starting next week, our staff will begin to use an app called Envoy to coordinate usage of our headquarters office in DC. Envoy allows our team to reserve specific desks and see who else is planning to work in-person on a given day. It will also track the number of people using the office, to help us ensure we’re keeping everyone safe. I wanted to share it with you in case your organization needs a similar solution. It’s pretty neat.

On a related note, the New York Times featured remote work in their August 13 Coronavirus Briefing. The collection explores decision factors, employment trends, and reader opinions. I also recommend this Washington Post column on the case for permanent work-from-home benefits, which includes its own review of research on the subject.

In the virtual sphere, Microsoft is working on a product that will allow people to meet via enhanced virtual reality—or in this case what they are calling “mixed reality.” I was particularly interested in creator Grace Hwang’s vision for a meeting technology that supports equity in collaborative spaces. Facebook has a parallel project in the works, called Horizon Workrooms. I would love to hear what you think: is this the future of digital collaboration?

As summer winds down, I hope that you are already planning your next vacations. Have you heard of the Dutch word voorpret, which means “joy and pleasure ahead and in anticipation of the actual fun event”? It reminds me how important it is to have something to look forward to. If you need more convincing to take time off, consider this viral post from a woman who was “banned” from work due to burnout. (It has a happy ending.)

Speaking of fun activities, the Smithsonian is celebrating its 175th anniversary with a fantastic lineup of events, including a partnership with the Nationals earlier this month. Congrats to Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch, III, who threw out the first pitch on August 15. I’m happy to report that Avalon VP Dara Igersheim was there to see it!

For more fresh air, August 25 is the National Park Service’s 105th birthday—and one of their six fee-free days in 2021. Avalon client the National Parks Conservation Association will help you find a great park to visit.

Finally, if you’d rather stay in, the Avalon staff has film suggestions. Senior VP Margot O’Leary shared this collection of “38 Documentaries That Will Change Your Life.” Marketing VP Barb Perell gave a good review to Netflix doc Misha and the Wolves, a harrowing and surprising Holocaust memoir. And next up for Avalon’s Thinking Creatively film club is Helvetica, which explores the power of typography and graphic design. Bring on the popcorn!

Take care,


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