FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 05.16.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI digest, you’ll find arts news, a timeless take on “junk mail,” digital accessibility, remote work, and more #AvalonOutdoors inspiration. Read it here!


Dear friends,

Last week, the Avalon senior management team held a retreat to focus on how we can continue to lead an effective and collaborative team culture in this era of remote work. One thing we know is that being fully remote requires us to be even more intentional about the interpersonal part of our work. I believe strongly that a healthy team culture is always evolving, and I’m excited for what’s ahead. I can’t wait to build on this with the entire Avalon staff.

Our senior management team also represented Avalon at Wolf Trap’s “Wine at Wolf Trap” fundraiser. It was an incredible event and a very special night out, featuring food by Michelin-star chef Matt Baker and pairings by sommelier Lindsay Fern. It was such a treat to celebrate with our client partners and one another. Thank you, Wolf Trap!

Margot, Allison, Barb, Kristina, Jackie, and Kerri from Avalon - all dressed in their finest - are outside the Barns at Wolf Trap before the event.(L-R) Margot O’Leary, Allison Porter, Barb Perell, Kristina Deutsch, Jackie Libby, and Kerri Kerr at The Barns at Wolf Trap.

Looking ahead, the Kennedy Center announced its 2023-2024 theater season lineup. This is always a fun reveal, especially for those of us who love musicals. It’s hard to choose, but I’m most excited for tick, tick…Boom! because RENT is one of my all-time favorite musicals and the back story is fascinating. And if you didn’t catch Funny Girl in NYC, definitely plan to go see it! And I know Disney’s Frozen will be a big hit with families.

I also hear great things about the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Katsushika Hokusai exhibition (open through July 16). Hokusai was a Japanese artist and printmaker, best known for Under the Wave off Kanagawa (the Great Wave). Exhibition curator Sarah Thompson explained to Smithsonian Magazine that Great Wave invites viewers to participate in a dramatic story: “Will those three little boats get home safely, or are they doomed? You can be either optimistic or pessimistic.” What do you think?

In marketing this week, Future Fundraising Now reposted an oldie but goodie on the problem of “junk mail.” Some fundraisers, Jeff Brooks writes, are most certainly sending junk—not because direct mail is junk, but because the fundraiser had such a low bar for their work in the first place. A better attitude understands that direct mail is a service to donors. A great package won’t speak to every recipient without exception, but it can accomplish powerful reach:

No matter how brilliant and on-target your message, it can transform into junk mail for someone. If you use direct mail to raise funds, get used to it. You can minimize it by being smart about timing, being careful about whom you mail to, being relevant with your message, and having great creative.

On the digital side, Avalon Digital presented a deep dive on accessibility to our senior account leads. The presentation built on what they learned at the recent NTEN Conference, including how and why to write alt text for images, how to optimize videos for accessibility, hashtag best practices, and tools like the Hemingway Editor, which help with readability. Thank you to senior VP Mary Meredith and the digital team for leading the way.

Finally, for those of you following the #AvalonOutdoors challenge, we’ve had some great new additions. My personal favorite is my own photo from a recent hike with friends in Los Angeles. (Yes, I might be biased!) This challenge also makes me appreciate the variety of gorgeous landscapes across the U.S. I’m delighted that our team can make the most of the spring weather, and I hope you also feel inspired. Share with us on social if you do!

Allison, Susan, and Shelby pose mid-hike in front of the Los Angeles hills.Hiking with my Hamilton college roommates, Susan Cramer and Shelby Loder Grey.


Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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