FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 06.29.21


Dear friends,

It has been a big news week. The Senate’s failure to move forward on federal voting legislation was a disappointment. All eyes are on the filibuster, and President Biden assures Americans that the fight for voting rights is far from over. In addition, Derek Chauvin’s sentencing was both milestone and call to action. As our country continues this urgent struggle, I am encouraged by the tenacity and generosity of activists, nonprofits, and donors.

I’m also on the edge of my seat with the New York City mayoral race. Of particular interest is the city’s transition to ranked-choice voting. If you live in a ranked-choice locality or, like me, are fascinated by this civic trend, I recommend this article from the New York Times: Why Ranked-Choice Voting Is Having a Moment.

Closer to home, Avalon’s DEI task force has released the fourth post in our 5-part series on DEI-informed fundraising: How Digital Marketing Can Further Your DEI Goals. It tackles digital equity, accessibility, and messaging, among other important issues. Content on DEI and digital often points out that DEI is an important strategy for digital marketers to understand and employ. We agree, but we also want to go deeper. Our goal is to further DEI principles with our digital marketing work.

In other digital news, the impact of Apple’s new OS and privacy policy changes are coming into focus. Really Good Emails has a fantastic explainer that covers both the upside and the challenges for marketers. The update will reach most devices in September, so there is time to prepare. Avalon has you covered on these recommendations:

  • Dust off your statistics skills and track important metrics.
  • Optimize re-engagement campaigns.
  • Use a control group.
  • Actively promote readers to update their profiles and preferences.
  • Encourage a click.

Turning to direct mail, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published a story on the continued value of direct mail for the private sector. A key point is that, while transactions are easier online, garnering attention in noisy digital environments is difficult. “The lower entry barriers and rising cost of online advertising are making it harder for existing and new sellers to cut through the crowd and find more customers.” Fundraisers won’t be surprised to read that direct mail is alive and well, but I’m glad to see it in WSJ reporting.

Another interesting post came from Future Fundraising Now: The Generation of Donors You Should Be Watching Closely. Generation X is 79 million strong (vs. 65 million Boomers). More importantly, they are beginning to enter their 50s. This means they are aging into the donor demographic and deserve more of fundraisers’ attention. Don’t lose track of them in the Boomers vs. Millennials debates.

On the creative front, Fast Company recently shared a compelling data point on innovation. “Of the top 30 innovations that most transformed the world in the last 30 years…over 70% came from employees working within established organizations.” They go on to explain that creative “luck” is reinforced by certain habits, like noticing opportunities, listening to intuition, developing positive expectations, and cultivating resilience. To become “luckier,” we should observe and replace limiting beliefs with alternatives that speak more to the outcomes we want.

As I write this, I’m getting ready for the trip home from Nantucket. It’s bittersweet, but I’m excited to put some new ideas and newfound clarity into action for Avalon and our clients. For everyone who is lucky enough to get away and gain perspective this summer, here are some tips on extending the post-vacation glow when you return to your desk.

Take care,