FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.01.20


Dear friends,

I hope everyone reading had a nice Thanksgiving. It was different this year, and at the same time particularly poignant. This has been a clarifying year in so many ways. I am grateful for a slightly quieter schedule, time with my kids, and a new puppy. But mostly I am grateful that Avalon and all of our clients have managed to thrive in this complex world. I am amazed by the commitment and resilience of our staff, and yours. And I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity from donors who care deeply about your missions.

Speaking of which, happy Giving Tuesday! I was thrilled to see Avalon client Farm Sanctuary featured twice in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s coverage: What’s On Deck for Giving Tuesday 2020 and Crises Shape Charities’ Giving Tuesday Appeals.

Across the board, I am so proud of our clients’ and Avalon’s approach to this event. We have been responsive to 2020’s unique context, while also staying firmly grounded in best practices and a deep understanding of each client’s donors. To underscore this, I recommend this Agitator article on the importance of including donors in fundraising messaging.  I especially like this memorable recipe: four parts donor, one part your brand, and one part issue X.

Congratulations also to our clients at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, whose John and Adrienne Mars Director Ellen Stofan is joining Biden’s NASA transition team.  It is heartening to see the president-elect leaning on the expertise of the nonprofit sector. This Chronicle of Philanthropy roundup is an impressive list of nonprofit leaders taking center stage in the Biden administration, across issue areas. Alan Abramson, professor of government and politics at George Mason University, points to “a real sharing of values between these nonprofits and the incoming Biden administration” – and that gives me tremendous hope.

All in all, though we aren’t finished with this pandemic yet and other crises will persist, I am encouraged as we move towards a new year and a new government. As I set my intention for the last month of 2020, one thing I plan to do is to rest in knowing that I will – and Avalon will – continue to support our staff and clients through this transition phase and beyond.

Finally, I am also looking forward to a new year of reading! For nightstand inspiration, the New York Times recently released its 100 Notable Books of 2020. My personal favorites from this year were Caste and The Vanishing Half.


Take care,