In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you’ll find a Juneteenth celebration, LGBTQ+ advocacy, workplace wellness, a new report from The Generosity Commission, the DMFA Awards, curse words, and more. Read it here:
Last week was a scary reminder of the urgency of environmental protection. I hope everyone impacted by the Canadian wildfires and smoke is safe, and that your air quality has improved. Thank you to Avalon clients and all nonprofits who work tirelessly to promote conservation, advocate for climate health, and respond to climate disasters. We are so proud to support you.
Avalon will be closed next Monday, June 19 for Juneteenth. To explore the history and legacy of this holiday, check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Juneteenth digital toolkit. Onsite, the museum will host Juneteenth Community Day on Saturday, June 17. The event will take place from 11am – 3pm and will include workshops, storytelling, a drum circle, and performances by local musician, actor, and social media personality Rex Carnegie.
I am also honored to highlight our clients’ impactful and inspiring LGBTQ+ advocacy. For example, if you know your Pride history, you know the importance of Stonewall National Monument. The National Parks Conservation Association has been working hard to improve the site through a new visitor center, inclusivity projects, youth education, advocacy for park funding, and more. The new visitors center will open in June 2024.
In addition, Avalon client SAGE advocates to improve aging for LGBTQ+ people. To accomplish this, they are working to impact policy and organize in solidarity with LGBTQ+ elders. This month, the SAGE Pride calendar is full of great events, including “No Straight Answers,” a hilarious 1970s-themed game show that honors the decade Pride celebrations began. Trust me, take the 6 minutes to watch the video!
In the DC area, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is highlighting objects that preserve the history of African Americans who are part of LGBTQ+ history. The National Museum of the American Indian hosted “Youth in Action: Wearing Our PRIDE,” a panel on fashion, identity, and change. And, for music lovers, Wolf Trap will host the Out and About Festival on June 24-25, featuring Brandi Carlile and other “LGBTQ+ artists and allies who live out loud.” Stay tuned for more Avalon client Pride in next week’s dispatch!
June is also Workplace Wellness Month. We are making a point to promote Avalon’s many wellness benefits, including helpful programs through our health insurer and employee assistance program. In addition, we’re encouraging our team to fully utilize their generous vacation time! Wherever you work, it’s wise to take stock of your vacation balance and make a plan to use it before the end of the year.
In tech last week, Apple announced that IOS 17 will update auto-correct to recognize and allow a certain (common) curse word. Kudos to Apple for fixing “the ducking issue.” This is exciting news, but the bigger story may be Apple’s conservative approach to AI, which emphasizes privacy and security over generative technology.
In sector news, The Generosity Commission published a new report: How and Why We Give. Big picture, findings align with known best practices. I especially appreciate this reminder: “Public conversations about generosity are dominated by people and issues that don’t represent everyday givers’ attitudes and experiences.” There may be a gap between what the media portrays and what actually motivates your donors to give. Keep this in mind for strategy, and always follow your donors’ data. (Avalon Analytics to the rescue!)
Finally, thank you to the Direct Marketing Fundraising Association (DMFA) for acknowledging our great work with Friends of Smithsonian (FOS) at the 2023 DMFA Awards. The honor goes to FOS’s multichannel renewal strategy, which incorporates both direct mail and texts. Through testing, we learned that, when FOS members received a text, renewal rates were stronger—even if they didn’t renew by text. Higher response rates and additional gross revenue warranted a rollout of the strategy year-round, which FOS funded through a reallocation of telemarketing expense. Way to go, team!
Kristen Shank Finn, DMFA, and John Perell, Friends of the Smithsonian.