FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.13.2022

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you’ll find two beautiful truths about fundraising, an LGBTQ+ victory, advice for setting goals, collaboration, notes to Santa, and the first-ever brownie recipe. This is our last issue of 2022, so don’t miss out!

Dear friends,

It’s hard to believe that another year is winding down. Avalon will be closed for holidays on December 22-26 and December 31-January 2. In addition, many team members will be out of office for additional PTO. Avalon begins holiday planning in the summer, to ensure that all staff can rest and spend time with loved ones—and that all client work remains on schedule. Your teams have you covered.

I will also be taking a break, so this is the last Avalon Dispatch of 2022. I’ll see you in your inbox on January 3 to kick off the new year. Thank you for being THE BEST clients, partners, and industry friends—and for all the work you do to make the world a better place. I look forward to achieving great things together in 2023.

Now, for this week’s news…

Last Tuesday, Raphael Warnock’s victory in the Georgia Senate run-off gave Senate Democrats a true majority. Even with what PBS News Hour called “an asterisk,” this is wonderful news and will make it easier for Democrats to move legislation forward in committees, confirm presidential nominees, and provide a safety net if party moderates break ranks. I’ve been reading many articles about what the outcome means for 2024. Though no one knows for sure, I’m hopeful suburbs will continue turning blue in key states.

In addition, the Respect for Marriage Act has officially passed Congress. Yes! The bill codifies same-sex and interracial marriages, ensures unions are recognized across state lines, and confirms federal marriage benefits like Medicare. It has been heartening to see Congress move forward in bipartisan support, and I’ve appreciated remarks from LGBTQ+ members of Congress. They emphasize both the significance of the bill and the work that must continue.

Here at Avalon, we’re busy not only with year-end fundraising, but also with setting goals for 2023. Special thanks to my senior team, who are advancing plans in every department and to our DEI task force, who just set priorities for 2023. In addition to team plans, many of us are outlining personal goals. If you’re working on this too, I like this advice from HBR Ascend:

1. Connect every goal to a why.
2. Break down your goals.
3. Schedule buffer time for your goals.
4. Focus on continuation, not improvement.
5. Don’t dwell on past failures.

If your goals need inspiration, I love these “2 beautiful truths” from Jeff Brooks at Future Fundraising Now: “(1) Communicating with donors is good. (2) Donors love to hear from you.” Brooks promises that, if we really believe these statements, we will feel great about being fundraisers and will become more effective. Count me in.

I was also inspired recently at DMAW’s Best of Direct Awards. It was wonderful to see so many of you in person, and I had a great time emceeing the event with Tiffany Neill. It is always rewarding to learn about everyone’s work across the industry. Congratulations again to the awardees, and especially to Avalon VP Rebecca Shapalis for her Board Superhero award!

Dara, Mary, Rebecca, Allison, and Mollie pose at DMAW Best of Direct Avalon VP Dara Igersheim, SVP Mary Meredith, VP and DMAW Board Superhero Rebecca Shapalis, president Allison Porter, and marketing & operations manager Mollie Bensen.
Photo by Jim Halling.

In collaboration this week, COO Kerri Kerr shared an interesting idea from Seth Godin: why say “sorry,” when you can say “thank you”? Godin recommends switching to appreciation in situations where “sorry” is perfunctory and “doesn’t advance the conversation.” This can be a good tip when we cause someone a minor inconvenience. For bigger issues, of course, there’s still an art to making a heartfelt apology and admitting that we’re wrong.

Finally, please join Avalon in embracing the holiday spirit! Several team members have signed up as elves for USPS Operation Santa, which matches notes to Santa with generous donors who adopt a letter. It’s a sweet program and a fun way to get older children involved in giving.

For the gifts on your list, Avalon has great recommendations: The Trustees‘ holiday shop has neat fair trade and eco-friendly options, and I love the Nutcracker and fine arts gifts at the Kennedy Center. For history buffs, browse curated gifts at the JFK Library Presidential Library and Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Farm Sanctuary, and Yellowstone Forever. Every purchase comes with the added benefit of supporting a great nonprofit.

Lastly, take care of your sweet tooth! Last night, we held Avalon’s annual goody swap, which happened to fall on National Brownie Day. Legend has it that the first brownie was created by a pastry chef at the direction of Bertha Palmer at The Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. She was looking for a dessert that fit neatly in a boxed lunch for ladies attending the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition—and a star was born.

Barb, Alexis, Kris, Leslie, and Mollie sit at a conference table with their tupperwares full of cookies in the foreground. They are very happy and probably have a slight sugar high.Avalonians Barb Perell, Alexis Krivian, Kris Blanchette, Leslie Salvail, and Mollie Bensen and their goodies.

Happy holidays, and cheers!


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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