FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 6.23.20

Dispatch email header

Dear friends,

The past week held significant moments for many issues we care about, including Pride Month, Juneteenth, and World Refugee Day. LGBTQ+ advocates and allies, we join you in celebrating last week’s Supreme Court decision! And I hope you all caught Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian and Founding Director of NMAAHC, on WaPo Live discussing the legacy of Juneteenth. Of note at Avalon: beginning 2021, we will make Juneteenth an observed holiday for our staff.

I also find myself inspired by Erik Larson’s new book, The Splendid and the Vile, which is an entertaining recounting of Churchill’s crisis leadership during the London Blitz. In a fun anecdote for fundraising, he describes individual donations being made to build aircraft during World War II – a significant fundraising campaign that provided critical funding as England ramped up production of their aircraft. Individuals, groups, and even towns came together to contribute money to the cause, and the larger the donation, the more significant the airplane they were able to name. It became the Spitfire Fund, generating £1 million per month (£64 million today). By May 1941, the total was £13 million (£832 million today), and every big town in Britain had its name on an aircraft. What a great reminder of the impact of individual giving.

On a technical note, Avalon Analytics continues to carefully track year-over-year benchmarks for our clients. Here is some good news: gross revenue flows have steadied since the onset of COVID, and our latest numbers show a 7% median cumulative increase over 2019, through the week of May 24. That week itself shows a median increase of 19% over 2020. Numbers vary by organization, of course, and we all know that gross revenue is one of several key metrics. However, this is an encouraging trend. If you would like to learn more about our findings, or need more context for reports to your leadership and boards, please reach out.

We continue to develop strengths-based leadership here, and this week I invited our staff to practice appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry is a coaching tool that can help you tune into your unique strengths. To use it, identify a time when you were really “in the zone,” bringing your best work to the table. What strengths powered that experience? How can you tap into them today?

Finally, we are still missing our office, but we are trying to make the most of it. If you are missing yours too, you might enjoy this ode to the office by Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times. Or keep it light and laugh along with us at this conference call bingo!

Take care,