FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.22.20


Dear friends,

We are at the end of this incredibly challenging year, and I hardly have words for the experience. Suffice it to say that, amid exhaustion, worry, and loss, I also feel immense pride at how we have responded together. The nonprofit sector and our community of fundraisers not only have done the work of crisis response, but also have been a source of hope. Thank you.

Most recently, I admired the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s work to convene a virtual panel of municipal leaders, including the County Executive of Prince George’s County, Maryland and mayors from Atlanta, Birmingham, DC, Saint Paul, and San Francisco. Hosted by Michel Martin of NPR’s All Things Considered, “Historically Speaking: Leadership in the Time of COVID-19” explores how the leaders are “establishing trust…while also taking action to ‘flatten the curve’ and mitigate the lasting impact of the pandemic on African American communities.” I am reminded yet again that, while we have weathered a uniquely challenging year, our work together is far from over.

I have also admired our clients in the performing and fine arts, who have seen their programming flip completely upside down this year. From the early days of COVID, when quarantined Italian neighbors held balcony concerts, it has been clear that humans in crisis need the connection and beauty the arts provide. Months later, creativity is alive and well across genres, media, artists, and institutions. For a seasonal example, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts has reinvented its traditional Holiday Sing-A-Long as the Holiday Sing-A-Long From HomeParts one and two are both streaming now.

At Avalon, it is always exciting to execute the year-end strategies and campaigns that we have been developing with clients for months. Given the flurry of marketing emails that hits my inbox daily, I liked this reminder from Future Fundraising Now that the most precious thing donors give is their attention. Psychologist, economist, and Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon coined the phrase “attention economy” in 1971, and today it is a foundational concept for marketers.

Looking beyond year-end, I enjoyed seeing the recent Pantone 2021 Color(s) of the Year. For only the second time in its history, Pantone rolled out two colors, and I love the juxtaposition. They seem to have addressed both the darkness and the need for something bright as we move into a new year – what the announcement called “a message of happiness supported by fortitude.”

On another bright note, happy holidays! Those of you working this week might enjoy Calmed by Nature’s seasonal background tracks: a cozy café at Christmas and the Home Alone Christmas party. I also loved Kamala Harris’s and Doug Emhoff’s wonderful message about why Hanukkah means so much to them. As Kamala explains, “It’s about the light, and bringing light to places where there has been darkness.”

Finally, this will be my last Avalon Dispatch of 2020. I will take next week off from writing and will be back in your inbox on January 5. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and Avalon’s work with you this year, and I appreciate you for reading. Thank you especially to everyone who has replied to share in my sentiments, ask a question, or just say hello. The connection has meant a lot to me.

Cheers to a new year and to all you have accomplished in the wild ride that was 2020! On behalf of everyone at Avalon, we are honored to support you and your missions.

Take care,