FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 11.16.2021

We’re taking on the supply chain, harmful overhead narratives, 2021 trends, and Marvel comics—all in this week’s @AvalonConsultingGroup dispatch.


Dear friends,

Last week, I took a quick trip to celebrate my mom’s birthday with my mom, my sister, and my nephew. Fall is such a busy time, and it was good to take a break. I’m reminded that it’s important to rest during a hectic time. This was my first vacation in Palm Springs, and we had the good fortune of visiting during Pride weekend. We loved the sunshine and all the positive energy, but the main attraction was family.

Allison and her family in Palm Springs

Enjoying some family time with my sister Katie and mom Pam.

Back at the office, Avalon Analytics is tracking 2021 revenue trends. September revenue dipped slightly over 2020, but previous months indicate stability overall. Cumulative totals for 2021 remain strong at +8% for the year-to-date. High-dollar ($1000+) and digital giving are particularly strong. In addition, we hear anecdotally that nonprofits are experiencing data entry delays for donations, which means a longer tail for campaign returns. I’ll continue to keep you posted.

Looking ahead, the focus for all fundraisers is year end. As you know, external supply chain and labor shortages are a challenge. Unfortunately, economists expect these issues to continue, and, even with perfect planning, we may encounter problems. The good news is that Avalon has great partnerships with production vendors, and we have both the tools and the experience to manage this. On a technical note, Production Solutions recently shared these helpful recommendations with our staff:

  • Projections and advance planning are critical.
  • Plan for longer lead times and schedules.
  • Be open to printing on alternative papers.
  • Explore formatting options to allow flexibility in sourcing.
  • Focus on the big picture.
  • Understand your contingency options.
  • Be Kind – We are all in this together!

In ethics news, Vu Le at recently took on the harmful practice of misleading messaging around nonprofit overhead. He points out that some major nonprofits encourage the idea that nonprofits should direct an unrealistic portion of donations to program expense. They can do this, he explains, because they have other sources of revenue to underwrite administrative costs. To fundraisers who engage in this practice, he has tough words:

Besides being nonsensical, manipulative, and insulting to people whose work is considered “overhead,” your views and messaging are outdated and harmful to the entire sector…You are hurting organizations led by Black, Indigenous, AAPI, Latinx, and other marginalized communities…You are hurting policy, advocacy, research, systems-change organizations…You are furthering public ignorance and distracting from the real issues.

For campaign inspiration, TNPA’s “Test of the Month” webinar series will restart in 2022. The series is free, “snack-size” (20-30 minutes), and a great source of data-backed ideas. The webinars are scheduled for January – October, on the third Thursday of each month at noon. You can register here.

Finally, we are having fun at Avalon with this “Marvel Character or Font” quiz. It’s not as easy as it sounds!

Take care,


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