FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 04.25.2023

Get the scoop on USPS’s next postage increase, ChatGPT prompts for marketers, DEI choices in fundraising, Avalon news, and more in this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch. We also cover the baby bird news you didn’t know you needed! Read it here:


Dear friends,

I have spent a lot of time recently in virtual board meetings—and deep in stewardship work. (Yes, this is my quarterly plug for board service.) Engaged and competent boards are vital for the causes we care about, board participation will expand your networks, and the work can supercharge professional development. I have loved my experiences on boards and am so grateful for each opportunity to lead.

Speaking of boards (and plugs!), Avalon provides all staff members with board support, including paid volunteer days, practical assistance, and coaching. If that sounds awesome, check out our open positions and other amazing benefits.

In other news, Avalon has officially moved out of our DC office. It is a bittersweet goodbye, and I will always believe we designed the most beautiful office in the city! However, Avalon is more than ready for this. My intention is to establish a new and smaller home base on a flexible timeline, in a perfect-fit space in DC. Because we have an ace remote team, we have time to optimize that strategy. The Avalon team will continue to meet in person with each other and with clients at key milestones. We are already planning our next staff retreat for September, and I can’t wait. Thank you everyone who helped with this effort, especially to marketing and operations manager Mollie Bensen for your incredible thoroughness and for sharing my vision to recycle, upcycle, and find homes for stuff we no longer need.

I will miss this view!

Avalon has also been active around the industry. As I mentioned last week, our digital team attended 23NTC in Denver, and others attended online. On April 20, VP of marketing Barb Perell and senior account director Sue Sena were in New York City at DMFA’s DM101, teaching multi-channel marketing and creative strategy. And, COO Kerri Kerr, senior VP Nova Cohen-Prohow, and I will present on Navigating DEI Choices in Fundraising on April 27 for AFP Maryland. We’ve included an interactive audience brainstorming around choice points, which I expect to be fascinating. Please join us if you can!

Heads up for direct mailers: USPS filed a new postage increase, effective July 9, 2023. Our friends at Production Management Group tell us that nonprofit commingled mail needs to be picked up by July 5 and first-class, presorted mail by July 7, to mail at the current rates. Commingled nonprofit mail that is picked up on July 7 will enter the USPS mailstream on July 11 and is subject to the new rates. We knew this was coming, and Avalon teams are on top of it for schedules and budgets.

In tech this week, senior VP Jackie Libby shared a great post from Entrepreneur on ChatGPT prompts for marketers. The article positions them as hacks, but I’m also interested in how experts interact with AI to strengthen strategy. I thought the author’s A/B testing prompt was a great example of how AI can kickstart a brainstorming process for experts to build on:

I’m running an A/B test to compare application page A and application page B in order to increase the number of applications to our program, and I need help generating hypotheses based on email click rate and form completion. Can you provide recommendations for what to test and how to measure success?

On our social side, thank you to program manager Leslie Salvail and the Avalon virtual gathering committee for an awesome event last week. At “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” we learned how to turn store-bought flowers into a beautiful arrangement. I love my little garden, but I also frequently pick up flowers at the grocery store. So, I really enjoyed this! The arrangements our team has posted are beautiful.

Seven plant arrangements and one supervisory cat.

Finally, did you know that COO Kerri Kerr is also Avalon’s chief animal whisperer? There have been many rescues over the years, and this month a bird nested in the wreath on her front door. Now, Kerri is the proud host of two adorable baby birds. Congrats to the Kerr family!

Kerri's two baby birds in their nest behind her front door wreath.
COO Kerri Kerr’s bundles of joy.


Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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