In this week’s @AvalonConsultingGroup Dispatch, donor relationships that go the distance, USPS legislation, tech tips, time management, and the internet’s hottest debates. Read it here!
I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day and that you enjoy the upcoming Presidents Day weekend. Avalon will be closed on Monday, February 21. As always, our teams are prepared and will ensure that all campaigns stay on schedule.
We also continue to share resources for Black History Month. The American Air Museum of Britain wrote an interesting and informative article on the experiences of Black American soldiers in Britain during World War II. And, COO Kerri Kerr suggested the website blackhistorymonth.gov—a collaboration between the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Speaking of the Smithsonian, RIP to Betty the flamingo, who recently died at age 67. Betty was the oldest Caribbean flamingo in North America, and she was a beloved matriarch to the flock at the National Zoo. She only had one chick of her own at the Zoo, but she fostered many others and helped with “flamingo education” when vulnerable chicks were reintroduced to the flock. I especially love that Betty was named after Betty White! Both “grand dames” will be greatly missed.
In postal news, the House advanced “a major financial overhaul” that will eliminate $57 billion worth of USPS liabilities. It will also save the Postal Service an additional $50 billion over the next decade, add requirements for “timely delivery transparency,” and allow the agency to contract non-postal services for local, state, and Indigenous governments. Though largely bipartisan, the bill was delayed in the Senate yesterday. Stay tuned for the final outcome. Up next: the battle over a fossil-fueled vs. electric USPS fleet.
On the Avalon blog, I covered donor relationships that go the distance. How much do you know about donor desirability? There are four red flags to avoid: narrow shared interest, the impulse marriage, the cheap date, and the online-only relationship. Acquiring the right type of donor is as critical to strong retention as any post-acquisition cultivation strategy. Some donors, despite making a first gift, may simply not be good matches.
Turning to office practices, Senior VP Jackie Libby shared tips for making the most of limited time. Author Rick Pastoor offers three techniques to establish priorities and get things done: focus on the next 60 minutes, prepare like a chef, and don’t let anyone steal your focus. Like many experts, he recommends turning off notifications on devices in order to limit interruptions.
In addition, we’ve been using some new tools. First, check out otter.ai for live meeting transcription. The app automatically generates notes and a live transcription, which teams can further annotate. This is a highly practical service and a wonderful resource for people with hearing impairments. Second, did you know that you can access wellbeing tools in Microsoft Teams? The Teams Viva app has free Headspace meditations, focus music, and quiet time features. I continue to be impressed by the breadth of support Teams offers. It has been a great technology for Avalon, especially in the remote environment.
Finally, on a fun note, thanks to marketing VP Barb Perell for this roundup of the internet’s hottest debates: Let’s Settle This. I knew I was pronouncing .GIF correctly!
P.S. Avalon is hiring! Current openings include Assistant Program Manager, Fundraising Copywriter, Senior Program Manager, and Digital Program Manager. Salaries are competitive, and we offer outstanding benefits. Please share the word.