FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.08.20


Dear friends,

Congratulations on a very successful Giving Tuesday! Avalon has posted an update here. The key takeaway is that donations were up for most organizations – both because of the longer window around the event and on the strength of COVID giving. Many nonprofits started their campaigns up to a week early, and some extended them through Wednesday. Response rates were down slightly, due to this year’s surge of new donors, but that was offset by larger file sizes and strong average gifts. This all bodes well for a successful December.

#GivingTuesday: the gift that keeps on giving

Congrats also to the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture for their collaboration on a live chat with NASA astronaut Victor Glover, from the International Space Station. It was truly inspiring. I particularly love his simple advice for success: “Be resilient. Be a lifelong learner. Be a good teammate.”

In other good news, today I am accepting the DMFA 2020 Marketer of the Year award. I continue to be honored by this, especially in this pandemic year when so many fundraisers have done heroic work. Preparing my remarks for the virtual event has been a welcome opportunity to reflect on my leadership and scan the fundraising horizon. I am also excited to hear Alicia Meulensteen of ACLU give a keynote on donor diversity.

Tomorrow (12/9), Avalon COO Kerri Kerr and Laura Connors of National Parks Conservation Association will be leading a ROI Solutions Inspired Ideas webinar. Their presentation, “How to Get Your Boss to Say YES to Investing in Your Program,” will teach the logic for acquisition investment and how to create a data-driven case that will persuade senior leadership. This is an essential communication area for fundraisers, which can make or break the long-term health of your program.

Speaking of communication, I was fascinated by this NYT article on “The Strange Language of Modern Marketing.” I had to laugh at the responses from critics who roll their eyes, like Stanford professor Robert Sutton, who dubbed the new terminology “corporate jargon monoxide.” Still, there are important concepts behind language like “brand heat” and “thumb-stopping.” It will be interesting to see which of these make their way into the fundraising lexicon.

Finally, in keeping with the theme of language, the NYT selected five poems by contemporary American poets and asked five photographers to let the poems inspire them. The result is “America 2020: In Vision and Verse,” a beautiful multimedia feature. For a more humorous take, my sister Katie recently sent me the New Yorker’s Love Poems for the Office…Or Wherever,” and I was literally laughing out loud.

Take care,