FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 04.11.2023

In today’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, clients weigh in on last week’s whirlwind of political news + a USPS discount, the rapid adoption of AI, perfectionism, client events, and more. Read it here!


Dear friends,

Last week was a whirlwind of news that impacted many progressive causes. If your head is spinning, Avalon clients can help ground you. The Brennan Center for Justice published guidance on Janet Protasiewicz’s election in Wisconsin and legal accountability for all, even ex-presidents. Guttmacher Institute shared analysis on the states most impacted by a mifepristone ban, and SAGE wrote powerfully on “the nuance of visibility for transgender and gender nonbinary elders.” Thank you for these resources.

I’m also taking inspiration from the leadership of Tennessee representatives Justin Pearson, Justin Jones, and Gloria Johnson. It has been powerful and encouraging to see them re-energize progressives and galvanize a new generation of leaders. Shortly after the expulsion votes, the lawmakers had a serendipitous encounter with Joan Baez at the Nashville airport. What a great reminder that the work of democracy is multigenerational.

In tech this week, Avalon is paying close attention to the rapid evolution of AI. Senior VP Jackie Libby circulated resources from ABC News, Business Insider, and The Washington Post on the pros and cons of AI and possible guardrails against the dangers. Rapid adoption has intensified this debate. According to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, “ChatGPT had acquired 100 million users in just two months, compared to Gmail which took five years to gain that many users.”

Direct mailers should know that USPS is offering a 3% – 4% promotional discount for customers using emerging technology. You will find a full list of tech on their site, but examples include augmented reality, QR codes, and near field communication. Registration opened on March 15, and the promotion runs May 1 – November 30. Avalon teams are working closely with production partners to identify opportunities for our clients.

In other news, analytics VP Sarah Birnie shared great advice on perfectionism. In How to Transform Your Perfectionism from a Problem to a Superpower, Moceanic points out that this can be a struggle for many fundraisers. In addition, direct marketing—which requires such a high degree of accuracy and quality control—can intensify the challenge. However, to activate creativity and innovation, we must also keep perfectionism in check. It’s a fine line. The article has several good suggestions, including the Pareto Principle:

Pareto tells us that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. When you’ve put 20% of the time working on your task, you’re already 80% of the way there. That doesn’t mean it’s time to stop — you probably want more than 80%. But the more time you spend from that point, the more diminishing returns set in. As you get above 90% and beyond, you start to waste time and energy. And you will NEVER reach 100%. Nobody ever does.

Finally, on March 29 our National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) team enjoyed a night out at NPCA’s Salute to the Parks. The gala celebrated and honored national parks and park advocates. This year’s honorees were writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske, correspondent Mo Rocca, and former National Park Service acting director David Vela. It was a great night and celebration. Thank you for having us!

The Avalon team with our NPCA contacts at Salute to the Parks. Nine women are standing in front of a blue curtained backdrop with their arms around each other, wearing nametags and their finest.The Avalon team with our NPCA clients at Salute to the Parks.
L to R: Mary Maxwell, Rebecca Barton, Allison Porter, Laura Connors (NPCA), Rebecca Shapalis, Maria Croes, Kerri Kerr, Margot O’Leary, and Krissy Conway (NPCA).


Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102