FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 06.28.2022

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find Avalon’s post-Roe commitments + client achievements, dark mode considerations, creative approaches to paper shortages, and reasons to take your next vacation. Read it here!


Dear friends,

Last week’s Supreme Court decision was devastating for women and for our country, and I know it’s emotional for many of us. Not only is it ground-shifting for progressive causes and democracy, but it further divides our country and even our friends and families. What I have loved seeing is the new determination – the anger turning to resolve to work harder, find creative alternatives, and hold those accountable who carved the way for this injustice.

So what do we do? We go through the natural stages of grief, and then we work. I commit, with Avalon’s leadership, to do the following: (1) Empower our staff to activate and volunteer. We offer PTO for volunteer work and activism, and last Friday we gave proactive permission for the team to leave early and join their local protests. (2) Match employee donations to reproductive rights and abortion services. (3) Work with experts to safeguard full and equal access to Avalon health benefits. On this last point, I am researching what other organizations are doing, and I would love to hear about your plans.

Most importantly, we will continue doing what we do best: expanding the impact of Avalon clients. We are so proud to partner with Guttmacher Institute, National Women’s Health Network, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and Brennan Center for Justice—along with many other clients whose missions intersect with and are impacted by this news. Thank you all for your steadfast commitment.

At every step, we will work to ensure that Avalon’s plans are inclusive and equitable. Avalon recently enlisted a new DEI partner, coach Alex McNeill. We are especially excited to work with Alex because he has professional roots in activism and direct marketing. Specifically, he will help us to explore Avalon’s point of view on direct marketing in an anti-racist age. This includes naming how our industry began and how white cultural thinking framed many things direct marketers consider to be best practices. As we continue to learn, we will share findings.

Evan as we reel from this ruling, there is good news to share: Last week, Karen Haycox, CEO at Habitat for Humanity New York City and Westchester County was named to Crain’s New York Business Notable LGBTQ+ Leaders List. This annual feature honors executives who identify as LGBTQ+ for furthering equality in the workplace and/or the New York area. In addition to her many accomplishments as CEO, which include quadrupling families served and overseeing the largest Habitat development in the world, Karen serves on multiple LGBTQ+ and housing coalitions and boards. Congratulations!

In fundraising news, be sure to read DMAW’s latest Marketing Advents. The all-digital issue has some great content, including an article on dark mode by our own VP and director of digital innovation Mary Meredith. Beyond reducing eye strain, designing for dark mode can help improve the accessibility of your content for everyone. The article is currently behind the DMAW paywall, but we’ll share it on our blog as soon as the issue is public. Well done, Mary!

On the print side, we are beginning to see creative approaches to paper shortages. Most recently, senior fundraising program manager Virginia Burns shared two alternatives to print magazines—one delivered digitally and one postcard/QR code driving readers to a digital version. Related to this, Mother Jones published a fascinating letter to its readers, preparing them for delays. They emphasize that these issues used to be a “once-in-a career occurrence,” but they are currently affecting every issue.

On a personal note, I am back home in Annapolis. It has been great to return to my desk with fresh perspective. As you know, I believe strongly that it’s important to take vacationsnot only for our own wellbeing, but also because it’s good for our teams. Tracy Brower at Forbes explains three reasons for this:

Taking vacation reinforces the trust leaders have in colleagues’ capabilities and makes space for others to develop their skills…Leaders who take time away also ensure they aren’t a bottleneck to a good process…[Third,] when leaders effectively detach, it gives others permission to do so as well.

Finally, Avalon will be closed on Monday, July 4 for Independence Day. Your teams will ensure that everything keeps moving. I hope the long weekend gives you a chance to recharge and reset for the work ahead.

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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