FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 9.15.20

Dear friends,

As you know, last week marked the anniversary of 9/11. It is hard to believe that nineteen years have passed since that unforgettable day. While memories and images of the attacks are still painful, I remain heartened by the dedication of first responders. On a bright note, I recently read about this nineteen-year partnership between the Fire Department of New York and the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Team, which is an inspiring example of civic collaboration. In 2001, they responded together in Manhattan; today they are battling wildfires in Oregon.

With September well underway, I am also taking comfort in the rhythms of the season. Things feel different this year, but they are still familiar. I hope you have some COVID-safe traditions to anticipate in the weeks ahead. I am personally looking forward to spending evenings by my new fire-pit and running in cooler weather.

It is also the season of the matching gift. Sometimes I feel like a broken record talking about the value of this tried and true method, but it’s too important not to emphasize. Matching gifts have proven successful because they motivate upgrades and deepen engagement across levels of giving. It’s not too late to reach out to your major donors with an invitation to participate in a year-end campaign.

This year, in addition to normal fundraising patterns, it will be important to identify and analyze COVID donors. I recently participated in a fascinating multi-team brainstorm at Avalon around these strategies. I am particularly interested in how test design can get at these questions for actionable guidance. Knowing which of your donors were motivated by COVID and how to retain and upgrade them will benefit your organization for years to come.

On a related note, kudos to the Avalon Analytics team on the launch of our new VitalStats Dashboard. As many of you know, these views are essential for nonprofits to manage the changing fundraising environment, and our new design is both highly actionable and easy to use. If you haven’t already, try screen-grabbing a dashboard visual for your next internal email or board report. Both our clients and our teams tell us that they love this feature.

In other good news, congratulations to Avalon client Bread for the City on the grand opening of their Southeast location on Good Hope Road. Avalon VP Dara Igersheim (below), who leads their account, joined their “Building on Good Hope” virtual event to celebrate this milestone. Way to go! We know how hard your entire organization has worked to make this happen.

VP Dara Igersheim celebrates Bread for the City’s “Building on Good Hope” virtual grand opening.





Events like this are a great way to stay engaged not only with donors, but also with each other. Meaningful connection is so important right now. These best practices for being an empathetic colleague during COVID are all essential, and I particularly like the reminder to have fun. If you are looking for fresh ideas, check out these team bonding activities or this brainstorm of “ridiculously fun” virtual happy hours. It takes extra effort to connect across physical distance, but I believe we can do it!

Take care,