FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.12.2023

Don’t miss the final 2023 issue of the @AvalonFYI dispatch! This week, you will find Nonprofit Tech for Good’s 2024 fundraising trends, a powerful but underused communications technique, leadership learning, a heads-up on QR codes, holiday spirit, and more. Read it here:

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Dear friends,

Today’s dispatch will be the last of 2023, as we slow down where we can at year-end. Thank you for reading this year; I am so grateful to be connected and in conversation with you. In addition, Avalon will be closed December 22-26 and January 1-2. Happy holidays, and best wishes for the final weeks of year-end giving!

Looking ahead, COO Kerri Kerr shared Nonprofit Tech for Good’s 2024 crystal ball. In “5 Fundraising Trends to Watch in 2024,” author Wendy Mercurio highlights AI, recurring donors, peer-to-peer fundraising, unconventional donors (including micro-influencers and “philanthro-kids”), and digital wallets. She also makes the point that, “Expectations of fundraisers are high, and the resources of development teams are stretched thin.” It will be important that we collaborate efficiently and leverage technology wisely, to reduce the squeeze.

As you set goals for leadership development, be sure to check out The Nonprofit Alliance’s Essential Leadership Lab. The 2024 program, which they call “Essential Leadership Lab 2.0,” features an updated format with extra flexibility around both learning topics and scheduling. Next year’s slate looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to see what will emerge for the “hot topic” sessions.

For stronger communications, consider tapping the power of silence. Senior director of HR Melissa Ferrell shared an article outlining the benefits of this underused technique. The author explains that many people are uncomfortable with silence and tend to avoid it. However, silence can help support engagement, give an audience or speaker time to think, and encourage more open sharing. Being quiet at the right time can help you succeed:

We can use silence to develop better relationships with our team members. At work, people can share very personal things with us, which is caused by us shutting our mouth and opening our ears. Being silent after you ask a question also allows the listener time to formulate the most effective answer. If you are on the receiving end of a question, give yourself time to consider what the best answer might be instead of immediately replying with an answer. Those extra seconds might mean the difference between a simply adequate response and one that impresses people.

On a security note, COO Kerri Kerr gave a heads-up about quishing scams. “Quishing” is a mash-up of “phishing” and “QR,” and it describes bad actors who lure users to fraudulent sites via QR codes. Standard internet precautions are the best defense—so, ensure you trust a code’s source, protect accounts with two-factor authentication, and maintain updated software. Marketers should also be aware that quishing could erode consumer trust longer term.

For this week’s holiday shoppers, I have two great options. Farm Sanctuary’s shop features a great selection of gifts under $25, an apparel collection, and their incredible vegan sweet shop—all with free shipping through December 15. For parks lovers, the National Parks Conservation Association’s holiday gift guide features staff picks from partners who support their mission, including Yellowstone Bourbon and Pura Vida (among others). I have loved browsing our clients’ shops and guides this season and appreciate the gift-giving inspiration.

Finally, Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! To spread cheer, Analytics VP Sarah Birnie shared Adam Sandler’s famous—and famously hilarious—ode, “The Chanukah Song.” They also shared this thoughtful message, which I endorse wholeheartedly:

What touched me in the clip is Sandler’s opening about how he felt left out as a kid because there were many songs about Christmas, but only “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” was about Hanukkah, which made him feel left out. So, he wrote the song. No matter what this time of year conjures for you—remember that it can be a tough time for many—let’s try to take Sandler’s message as a reminder to be a little kinder and inclusive.

Take care,


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