FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.06.2022

In today’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you’ll find GivingTuesday results, how Spotify designed “Wrapped,” words of the year, how to motivate a team, and even a few dad jokes. Read it here!

Dear friends,

First and foremost, a shout-out and thank you to the Avalon team. On GivingTuesday, I was wowed by an inbox filled with creative, compelling campaigns from every Avalon client. And it was even more thrilling to follow results throughout the day and week. Thank you to everyone who helped bring these campaigns to life! You have worked incredibly hard to ensure our clients’ success all year. I am so grateful for and proud of Avalon—and each of you.

The NonProfit Times reported that U.S. nonprofits earned a total of $3.1 billion this GivingTuesday, up 15% from $2.7 billion in 2021. However, they also note that, while revenue is up, the number of donations is down for many nonprofits. In addition to monetary results, the GivingTuesday Data Commons partnered with Pulsar to analyze the social conversation. Can you guess the top GivingTuesday keywords?

Speaking of social marketing, Spotify’s annual “Wrapped” campaign rolled out to users last week. I’ve been seeing many friends sharing stats on social media, which has become a hallmark of the campaign’s success. It’s Nice That published a fascinating behind-the-scenes article on the campaign’s complex design process, which takes many months:

One of the toughest challenges with the campaign every year is that it has to work in different languages and a huge range of markets around the globe. “It needs to work everywhere, but it also needs to work in every size,” says Rasmus [Wangelin, global head of brand design at Spotify]. “So it needs to be thought about in a very systematic way. But at the same time, it needs to be expressive and original and celebratory. It’s this constant push and pull between systematic design thinking, but also organic and expressive design thinking.”

For copy buffs, dictionaries are announcing their 2022 words of the year. First up, the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary has added 500 new playable words, including “vax,” “deepfake,” and “Jedi.” (However, don’t try to use “Yoda.” It will not survive a challenge.)

Merriam-Webster has chosen “gaslighting,” which is “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage.” The word has a Hollywood backstory: it originated in the play-turned-movie “Gaslight” (1944), in which a man manipulates his wife to believe he is not dimming the lights in their home and she cannot trust her own experiences.

U.K.-based Collins Dictionary went with “permacrisis,” which means “an extended period of instability and insecurity.” Marketing VP Barb Perell noted that this selection is well matched by another word on their shortlist: “splooting,” or “lying flat on the stomach with the legs stretched out—until all of these problems have gone away.” Ha!

In leadership news, Fast Company published a helpful piece on how to motivate employees towards a shared vision. Author Brian Miller emphasized that, even when you have strong team culture, there will be different interests and drivers that motivate (or demotivate) individuals. The key is to speak the right language to each sub-group and person: “Good leaders read the room. Great leaders reach the hearts and minds of everybody in every room.”

Finally, on a fun note, Vu Le shared a list of nonprofit dad jokes “to brighten or possibly ruin your day.” I’m laughing, and I’m groaning: “What’s yellow and custardy and may help you be more effective over the next three years? A strategic flan!”

Take care,


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