FYI Blog

COVID-19 Response and Resources


In this unprecedented time, Avalon is here.


Here for our staff.


Our first priority is the safety of Avalon staff and clients. On March 2nd Avalon ceased company travel, and on March 12th we shifted fully to remote work. We have been telecommuter-friendly for 20+ years, which helped make this a seamless transition. Our IT, communications, work processes, and culture were well-tested and ready to go.


In addition, we are working to support employee wellbeing and to accommodate individual needs. We offer generous and flexible leave policies, above and beyond what the government requires. We are taking special care of our working parents. We have an executive coach on-call for confidential one-on-ones and caregiver check-ins. Also important – we are still having fun together (via Zoom, of course)!


Here for our clients.


We are working harder than ever to steward our clients’ fundraising programs through the immediate crisis and beyond.  Our approach includes enhanced data analysis, agile strategies, increased digital, and skilled creative pivots. On the relationship side, it means great communication and collaborations with both vendors and clients, including their senior leadership and boards.

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have benchmarks, tracking tools, agile workflows, strong partnerships, and the best brains in the business. We are guiding clients based on:

  • Aggressive year-over-year tracking. Our goal is to understand exactly what is happening with your program and the impact of this crisis as it unfolds.


  • Digital results. Because they are the best real-time bellwether, digital results will help us shape messaging for all channels that is sensitive and relevant to your donors – as quickly as possible.


  • Relevant history. The current situation is completely unique, so we can’t predict what will happen. However, previous crises, including 9/11 and the 2008 recession, taught us important lessons about the long-term impact of austerity budgets and the messaging most resonant with donors both during and after a crisis.


  • Retention metrics. It is less expensive to retain donors than to acquire new ones, so we want to watch closely for changes in your retention data and counteract attrition.


  • Cost to acquire and long-term value. Acquisition numbers typically decrease during a crisis, but there is good news too: donors acquired during this time will have stronger retention and LTV.


  • Cross-client benchmarks. Because we are tracking a portfolio of clients, we are able to compare each client’s dynamic to a larger sample. This helps us identify where each client sits relative not only to your own history, but also to your vertical and the nonprofit sector more broadly.  


To stay on top of current trends, Avalon created several new tools to help measure the impact of COVID-19 on our clients’ fundraising programs. On a weekly basis, we looking at comparison views of FY19 to FY20 for week-over-week revenue as well as cumulative year-to-date revenue comparisons. Please note we have excluded acquisition revenue and performance from social service clients since their revenue patterns are so distinct from other markets given the increased need for their services.



  • The last week of the year showed a notable increase over last year, a very different trend from the rest of December.


  • Week 53 cumulatively is 5% above last year.


  • Cumulatively, at Week 53 there are more clients up than down, consistent with the trend of many weeks.



In addition to this report from the Avalon trenches, we want to celebrate our clients who are involved in the front-line covid-19 response for communities who are vulnerable. We are so proud of you!

Bread for the City’s Covid-19 Response

Maryland Food Bank’s Covid-19 Response

Pine Street Inn Covid-19 Updates


Here for you.


Along the way, we are advancing best practice in response to macro changes. This is work we know can benefit the wider nonprofit community.  Whether you are an Avalon client or not, we hope the resources we share here will help to guide your organization in the weeks and months ahead.