FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 5.18.21


Dear friends,

I hope you were not affected by the Colonial Pipeline disruption. There is something poetic about “running on empty” as we emerge from this pandemic, but the impact in some communities is no joke. Both that experience and the discourse around new CDC masking guidelines remind me that traditional and social media can actually shape the story. Fundraisers know this, of course. We understand how messaging and creative choices influence behavior.

Related to this, Avalon has been working to better understand the connection between messaging and DEI. We are making good progress, although I can’t overstate the complexity of this topic. It touches everything from mission, to fundraising strategy, to techniques, to collaboration. Our internal DEI task force recently shared findings in “Six Principles for Messaging,” the latest post in their five-part series on DEI-informed fundraising.

We also continue to follow the growth of Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs). We recommend that nonprofits address their policies and procedures, in order to maximize these opportunities. Avalon’s goal is to recognize the position of DAFs within direct marketing programs, accurately report this income, and ensure consistency across reporting. To this end, we are working with clients to review processes for capturing DAF giving. In addition, we will provide recommendations to support best practices around DAF transparency, strategy, and recognition in your organization. Please reach out to your Avalon VP if you would like to discuss this further.

On a happy note, I recently had the opportunity to take a hard-hat tour of the new International African American Museum in Charleston, SC. Scheduled to open in Fall 2022, IAAM’s Center for Family History will offer genealogical resources and tracing as a key part of its mission. The museum is going to be incredible, and I can’t wait to visit again when it opens.

Hello from the International African American Museum in Charleston, SC!


That tour was possible for me because I and others are vaccinated. In this spirit, I have been interested in how employers can support herd immunity without running afoul of privacy. A recent McKinsey report offers good guidance. Specifically, they recommend that employers facilitate “conviction, convenience, and costlessness.” To support this, Avalon is extending additional sick leave to our team, so they can take time to recover as needed.

I also wanted to share a cool incentive from DC-area chef José Andrés. Anyone vaccinated after May 7 can claim a $50 gift certificate to his restaurants, which include Jaleo DC, Jaleo Crystal City, Oyamel, Zaytinya, and China Chilcano. According to Andrés, he plans to extend the offer “until we reach 70% of total population” vaccinated. Yum!

Finally, and also on the theme of resuming normal life, have you seen “For When It’s Time,” the new ad for Extra gum? I can’t stop laughing.

Take care,