In this week’s @AvalonConsultingGroup dispatch, women’s history, USPS news, cherry blossoms, and (evergreen!) direct mail is not dead.
This week marks the 2-year anniversary of Avalon’s transition to virtual work—and, with that, our daily leadership updates to staff. It has been emotional to look back at those emails, with all the knowledge of what COVID would become and how Avalon would show up. My first words, in the first update ever? “Well team, here we go!” And this sentiment absolutely got us through: “Lots of things are changing, but our Avalon community is still here and available to each other.”
Like you, I continue to follow developments in Ukraine. As the humanitarian crisis escalates, one source of hope has been to see Avalon clients helping to make a difference. Thank you to Friends of UNFPA, who support the United Nations Population Fund, for staying and scaling up their work in Ukraine, and supporting women and girls affected by the crisis. The Smithsonian’s Cultural Rescue Initiative is working to ensure the preservation of Ukrainian art, architecture, literature, and music. And the Kennedy Center lit up their building in Ukraine’s colors and arranged a National Symphony Performance of the Ukrainian National Anthem.
In other news, The Trustees is renaming one of their properties—formerly Agassiz Rock, now the Monoliths. They explain that Louis Agassiz, the property’s former namesake, was a groundbreaking 19th century scientist. However, he also published works which promoted racist ideas, so The Trustees chose a name that better reflects its value of inclusivity. I thought this part of their announcement captured the essence of organizational DEI well: “While [our] mission never changes, The Trustees is always seeking to learn and grow to find new ways to live up to it.”
For women’s history month, I loved this post from the National Parks Conservation Association on women who broke the “green ceiling.” Among other trailblazers, NPCA features Ynés Mexía, the first botanist at Denali National Park, and Betty Reid Soskin, who became a park ranger in her eighties and has been an advocate for telling fuller stories, particularly the stories of Black women during World War II. In Soskin’s words, “What gets remembered is a function of who’s in the room doing the remembering.”
There is also a big update for the USPS: the Postal Service Reform Act finally cleared the Senate after passing the House last month. The legislation will create significant cost savings for the agency and will require new transparency measures. Specifically, it mandates an online dashboard of local and national delivery times, with weekly updates. Biden is expected to sign the bill into law this week.
Speaking of mail, senior VP Margot O’Leary shared an excellent post from The Agitator that explains, yet again, why direct mail is not dead. This seems to be a stubborn misperception, but direct marketers know to follow the data. And the data consistently shows that direct mail earns higher response rates than email and a higher boost for activity across channels. Roger Craver sums it up perfectly with this recommendation:
Finally, DC is nearing peak cherry blossom season. The National Park Service projects that the blooms will peak March 22 – 25. If you’d like to toast them, Avalon administrative coordinator Mollie Bensen alerted us that La Croix is honoring the event with a cherry blossom flavored seltzer. If you try it, let me know how it tastes!