FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 04.20.21


Dear friends,

Hello again, and happy spring! I had a great vacation, but I have also missed connecting with you here. It’s good to be back.

Avalon has been busy…

Mary Meredith headshotFirst and foremost, congratulations to Mary Meredith, Avalon’s new Director of Digital Innovation! Mary is leading the charge to advance Avalon’s work at the cutting edge of new technologies and emerging channels. I am THRILLED to put new energy and serious resources behind Avalon’s innovation. I feel so strongly that the nonprofit sector needs bold and ethical leadership to maximize these opportunities, and I know that Avalon is the agency to do it right.
We are also celebrating our launch of The Download by Avalon, our newest resource on digital done right. Think of it as your cheat sheet to a wide range of digital topics. On a monthly basis, we’ll provide background, use cases, and tips you can actually use. The first edition landed last week, and we started with a power concept: email deliverability.

On a serious note, the news cycle keeps me aware of the reason why fundraisers show up every day, ready to do this work. I have especially needed this perspective as I follow the Derek Chauvin trial and as I process the loss of Daunte Wright to still more police brutality. We must keep saying it: Black lives matter.

Avalon Senior VP Margot O’Leary recently wrote a reflection that captures my feelings about how our work connects to this bigger picture:

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought in March 2020 that our clients’ programs would soar like they have…and not just our clients who are first or second responders to the pandemic. The generosity has been absolutely amazing. I hope you can take comfort that, in the face of unspeakable hardship, horrific violence, and loss, people rallied to support each other.

I second that. Thank you, Margot.

Speaking of generosity, Blackbaud’s 2020 Q4 index reports year-over-year increases for revenue (8%), donors (5%), and new donors (18%). Not only was overall performance up, but all seven sectors show revenue growth – and a whopping 80% of organizations report positive change in the 2020 calendar year. (If you’re wondering, the seven sectors are animal welfare, arts & culture, environmental, health, human services, international relief, and societal benefit.)

In other fundraising news, this post from Jeff Brooks at Future Fundraising Now captures the importance of factoring “postal shenanigans” into copy strategies that utilize time limits. He points out that the ACLU recently had a direct mail deadline fiasco, which put it on the receiving end of a harsh case study from Denny Hatch. Rest assured, we are on top of this issue for your campaigns.

For broader philanthropic analysis, I recently wrote a two-part series on women in philanthropy: Women Are a Force in Philanthropy and Three Trends to Watch in Women’s Philanthropy. It has been exciting to see more and more data on women’s impact and patterns of giving, and I’m calling for an end to the idea that women’s giving is merely a “quiet power.” I see it as something much louder—a roaring engine for change.

Finally, Avalon has been celebrating the history of flight with our client the National Air and Space Museum. The Perseverance Mars rover is carrying the Ingenuity helicopter, which just completed the first flight on Mars and holds a piece of fabric from the Wright Brothers’ Flyer. Once it reopens, I encourage you to check out the Flyer at the museum’s National Mall location. For those of you who like puns, Smithsonian Magazine has aptly depicted this historic flight as taking place at “the Wright moment.”

Take care,