FYI Blog

A Culture of Continuous Improvement

As we begin the new year, processing the year end results (AWESOME) and working on plans for 2020, I’m reflecting on how Avalon has grown and evolved since its founding in 1997. We’ve moved forward and evolved as a firm in ways I couldn’t imagine 23 years ago—including our collaborative work spaces and work-from-home options […]

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January 23, 2020

Hot off the Presses…

Avalon President Allison Porter and writer Faith Brown Kerr have authored a chapter in the brand-new book: Sustainable Revenue for Museums: A Guide, edited by Samantha Chmelik. Dedicated to “…the volunteers, staff, and board members at museums, historic sites, zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens, and nature parks,” the guide presents a survey of the best practices being […]

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October 25, 2019

Do you know the golden rule of ethical fundraising – and why it matters?

Avalon was recently surprised to learn that one of the digital partners for a client based their fees on a percentage of revenue raised for a client. I’ll start by saying I believe that leading a culture of principled decision-makers is more ethically robust than micromanaging a team of rule-followers. However, the “golden rule” for […]

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September 25, 2019

Data Literacy is Key

I’ve been in Avalon leadership for more than 20 years, striving to grow personally and professionally as our company has grown and changed, and always looking for ways to improve. Right now, I’m reading a fascinating book: Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Don Clifton and Tom Rath. I took […]

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June 24, 2019

It’s a Team Effort

  2019 is my 25th year with Avalon, and I’ve been thinking about how the consultant’s role has changed over the years—now we’re fundraisers, marketers, communicators, digital experts, telemarketing and direct mail creators, major donor advisors, advertisers, and coaches. Fundraising coaching seems to be gaining traction—people who work one on one with nonprofit leadership on […]

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April 25, 2019

The Balancing Act

  Happiness  is equilibrium. Shift your weight…You compensate, rebalance yourself so that you maintain your angle to the world. When the world shifts, you shift.   I like this quote by playwright Tom Stoppard—reminding us that we are all in a constant state of finding our balance in all facets of our lives. We’re always making […]

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March 7, 2019

Choose Your Friends Wisely

My preteen son is 12—staring down (and trying on) his teenage years. Since he’s my oldest and this is a bit of uncharted territory, I’ve been reading up on how to best support him through this tumultuous time. If you Google teens and peers, you’ll get findings and advice from thousands of sources, from WebMD to […]

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February 19, 2019

How to see the forest when you’re stuck in the trees

Details are important, but sometimes they can bog you down. Case in point, I’m in the process of moving and I’m drowning in boxes and logistics and can’t find a pot to make dinner. But I need to make sure I’m not missing out on my wonderful new home! I see nonprofits make similar mistakes. […]

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February 15, 2019

Are Your Emails Being Delivered?

With greater volume in everyone’s inbox, it’s becoming increasingly more important (and more difficult) to find a way to stand out in the crowd. But the first challenge to contend with is ensuring your emails actually make it to donors’ inboxes.

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July 9, 2018