FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 11.28.2023

Happy GivingTuesday! In today’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, learn how experts approach GivingTuesday results. You will also find nonprofit gift guides, Google’s Arts & Culture initiative, client news, productivity advice, and more. Read it here:

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Dear friends,

Happy GivingTuesday! Today is one of my favorite days of the year. The swell of generosity is inspiring, and I love to experience our clients’ campaigns in real time. Well done and thank you to our clients and the Avalon team for your incredible work this fall. I know we will rock this.

Both The Washington Post and The New York Times featured the event yesterday, and Vox published a good historical explainer. In our sector, The NonProfit Times analyzed revenue expectations. The global event saw its strongest years in 2021 and 2022, but, as you know, nonprofit donations have softened in 2023. Most importantly, each nonprofit should analyze results in the context of its own fundraising history, donors, and goals. I appreciated this perspective from Shannon McCracken, CEO at The Nonprofit Alliance:

Fundraisers…will likely once again face a day-after challenge in putting their results into context. In 2022, amidst media announcements of exciting year-over-year growth in overall numbers, some U.S. nonprofits scrambled to find relative benchmarks for their performance. Development teams that raised less than the prior year struggled to explain to C-suite and board leadership why they underperformed. Only once GivingTuesday had sufficient time to analyze and report on the complete data did we see that the in-real-time headlines of the day were not, in fact, everyone’s reality.

On a client note, Society for Science and young scientists in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair are featured in National Geographic’s Science Fair: The Series. I find so much hope in these young people’s commitment and passion for solving our toughest challenges. And, in the process, they have so much fun. I just love this quote: “I’m weird; they’re weird; we’re all weird together. We’re going to change the world.”

Also on TV, our clients at the American Air Museum in Britain (AAMB) shared the trailer for Masters of the Air, a new series on Apple TV. The series tells the story of airmen in the 100th Bomb Group, which led raids over Nazi Germany in World War II. Not only does the show have big names like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks behind it, but it also includes scenes filmed at the AAMB campus in Duxford, England. It’s neat to see some familiar sites.

Our clients are also hard at work promoting their online stores and gift-giving guides. I look forward to sharing these with you throughout the season. This week, I’m shopping from The Grand Canyon Conservancy and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Nonprofit gift shops are a wonderful way to give unique, sustainable, and impactful holiday presents—so much better than Amazon!

In other news, I have enjoyed exploring Google Arts & Culture, a digital initiative to make the world’s art and culture more accessible. Google has partnered with over 2000 cultural institutions to create a free online platform with high-resolution images and videos of art and artifacts. Several of our clients are included, along with many others around the world, and this massive digitization and accessibility project is exciting on many levels. There is also a Nearby feature, which allows you to locate museums and exhibitions around you. Enjoy browsing.

For better productivity, Wharton recommends organizing work based on how your energy changes throughout the day. Specifically, they recommend sorting work by intensity (high/low) and impact (high/low). Next, break down the day into four two-hour blocks, one for each section of that matrix. Finally, match tasks to the session that fits best. I’m not sure how this fits with my meeting schedule, but the approach makes sense. They use this graphic to describe the flow:

A circular graphic divided into four parts: X-axis is impact, Y-axis is intensity. Clockwise from top left: Proactive/first 2 hours, Reactive/second 2 hours, Active/third 2 hours, Preactive/fourth 2 hours.
Graphic from “Timing Matters: Design the Day for Maximum Productivity,” by Donna McGeorge at Knowledge at Wharton.

Finally, I’m a sucker for cool office supplies and organization tools. Wirecutter just published a nice roundup, which I’m sharing for inspiration as we prep our desks for year-end and a fresh start in 2024. Is it too soon to start making new year’s resolutions?!

Take care,


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