FYI Blog

Merlin 2.0: Next-Level Reporting for a New Era of Data-Driven Nonprofits

Nonprofits deserve to understand the impact of their efforts. Your organization’s mission is simply too important to be left to best guesses. But for years, the quality of reporting available to nonprofits was lacking… significantly. In 2001 Avalon took matters into our own hands and built the best platform out there from the ground up. […]

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May 23, 2018

The Race Is on for Political Campaign Donors

Capitol Bldg - Small Political Post 1.2016With both parties’ presidential races breaking all the old paradigms and confounding the pundits, it’s 24/7 politics these days.

Media coverage is rising and voters are starting to pay attention. So if you’re a political fundraiser, make sure your campaign is doing everything it can to capture the data and donors you need to maximize revenue down the critical home stretch.

Creating a robust political donor base is a thoughtful, painstaking process, but it’s never too late to start. The key to successful prospecting is to prioritize and maximize the many ways you find potential donors.

In addition to prospecting through multiple channels — direct mail, email, website conversion, SEO/SEM, Facebook targeting, and site remarketing — make sure your campaign is fully leveraging existing supporters. This includes targeting lapsed donors from past cycles, volunteers, people who request yard signs or buy campaign merch online, event attendees, petition signers, and donors to other state officeholders, for starters. Test these supporters through direct marketing. If one segmentation variable alone does not yield enough revenue, consider enhanced modeling or even simply overlaying multiple action-takers into “super supporter” segments to build a more responsive target audience from myriad sources.

Does your campaign have a larger scale and budget? If so, try modeling the voter file. This allows you to leverage voting history, demographics, and other key variables to expand your target audience. Two Avalon clients saw amazing results with voter file modeling. One U.S. Senate campaign acquired new donors at a strong net profit–and that’s not even getting into the resolicitation value of these donors, which continued yielding revenue right up to the election.

With presidential candidates ratcheting up the rhetoric and early Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina primaries looming, your donors will want to make a political statement by supporting their own statewide and congressional candidates.

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January 21, 2016

Growing the Political Donor Base

markg-new-copyCongratulations to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) for winning re-election in November!  Avalon was thrilled to manage the campaign’s direct marketing fundraising program.  This case study outlines our strategic fundraising approach, combining targeting, analytics, and messaging to help the Warner campaign to re-engage past donors and attract new donors.  We are very excited to see the Senator return to Washington to continue his groundbreaking, bipartisan work.






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December 12, 2014

Matchback Integrity

Money Magnifying Glass - medium sizeBack in 2011, I wrote True ROI: Why “Matching Back” Online Contributions Makes Sense – where I took you through the importance of matching back online contributions (also known as attribution) to their original sources.

I would like to revisit that post today and to underscore that matchbacks are excellent tools for revealing a direct marketing program’s true, multi-channel ROI – but only when they are reported properly.

Recently, I have noticed a disturbing trend. Some organizations are attributing full matchback income (both online and on-site) to their direct mail reports—considering matchbacks part of baseline performance. This is not only misleading – it’s wrong. Attribution without nuance distorts analysis, making it difficult to evaluate each channel’s effectiveness for meaningful insights. This in turn undermines strategic planning and decision-making for your fundraising program.

The antidote? Attribution calculations should be transparent and data-driven, in order to avoid double counting or overstating revenue.


As we know, one size does not fit all in direct marketing, and matchbacks are no exception. The best attributions reflect the campaign’s strategy, factoring in, for example, a communication’s target audience. (Are they prospects or current supporters? What is their demonstrated channel preference?) We also recommend using control groups whenever possible, so you can better understand the incremental impact of attributions for your direct marketing efforts.

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May 19, 2014

Avalon Wins Pollie Award!

We are thrilled to announce that Avalon has won a Pollie Award from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC)! We won the Pollie for our online work with U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the category: Internet–Campaign Division–Best Use Of Humor: Democrat.

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March 27, 2013

Senator Frank Lautenberg Makes Annoucement

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced recently that he will not be running for re-election in 2014.  Now 89 years old, Senator Lautenberg is a true example of the American Dream – a World War II veteran who attended college on the G.I. Bill, he founded and nurtured a successful business, then chose public service as a way to give back to the state and country that gave him so many opportunities.

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February 22, 2013