FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 9.29.20

Dear friends,

With the fall equinox last Tuesday, we are officially in election season. A change in presidential leadership is critical, of course, and we also need progressive legislators in the House and Senate. I hope everyone reading this not only is registered, but also has a plan to vote. The Avalon team is beginning to post and share about early voting, which is a great option in many states. Check here to confirm your state’s process, and encourage others with a platform like Outvote.

When I learned of the grand jury decision in Louisville last week, I became aware yet again that this country has serious inequities across branches, sectors, and localities. One of the steps that Ibram X. Kendi offers near the end of How To Be An Antiracist is to “struggle for antiracist power and policies in my spaces.” In addition to my community spaces, I recognize that Avalon is a space where this work is in progress. We will receive our DEI consultant’s audit findings soon, and I am committed to the work of making those recommendations concrete.

I also continue to worry about friends and family in the West, who have to contend with smoke and fires in addition to the pandemic and justice crises. I was delighted to see Patagonia’s call to action on climate change imbedded in their signature shorts. I have been so impressed by their creative approach to advertising while amplifying their core values.

Another interesting development in the for-profit sector is The Boston Globe’s recent subscription and events deal with Biogen. It highlights a new trend in media revenue that shifts from old-school advertising to this model that trades block subscriptions for enhanced and exclusive content. It brings to mind the nonprofit model of corporate sponsorship, so let’s watch for impact ripples in our sector.

In fundraising news, Avalon will lead a DMAW panel tomorrow, September 30, on rapid response campaigns. The event, “Proactive AND Reactive: How To Be Ready To Respond Right Away,“ will lay out a planning framework for turnkey rapid response and explain how to spring into action effectively when the time comes. Avalon VP Barb Perell will moderate the panel, which features Meg Kimmel of Maryland Food Bank, Andrea Messina of Humane Rescue Alliance, and Rose Simmons of the League of Women Voters. With 2020’s multiple crises and historic election, rapid response has become an essential fundraising skill. I hope you can join us.

On a fun note, The New Yorker published yet another article about Zoom fatigue, but this one focused on new ways to party. One of the frustrations with Zoom is that it makes for awkward social gatherings, especially after a day of meetings. The article highlights a platform called High Fidelity, and I thought it was interesting, so I tried the demo. Is this the future of cocktail parties?

Thank goodness for these options, because we are settling into remote work arrangements for significantly longer-than-expected timelines. I find that one thing I really miss is networking, so I appreciated this NYT article on networking from home. It offers a good framework and tips for supporting this important aspect of our careers.

As always, I hope you are finding meaningful ways to take care of yourselves and sustain your energy. If you haven’t heard about Yale’s most popular course ever – on happiness – now might be the time to check it out. It’s free online and just started a new session. Or, for a quick fix as days get shorter, I’m hearing good things about these wellness light bulbs.


Take care,