FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 07.06.2021


Dear friends,

I hope the long weekend and the Fourth of July holiday were a good break for you. Last week was a busy one at Avalon, including a series of strategic planning meetings for our senior leadership team. With so much going on at any given time, I consider this kind of intentional, cross-functional work to be essential for a strong agency. This is always a good practice, but it feels more vital than ever as we emerge from the pandemic.

Also last week, July 1 marked a new fiscal year for many of our clients. We are so proud of the work we did to help you survive and thrive in the past year, and we also want to say…well done! All indicators point to exceptional results due to surges in pandemic giving across all sectors, with the only exception being ticket-driven organizations (museums, performing arts organizations, etc.). I look forward to our partnerships in the next year. Let’s keep at it.

I am also delighted to announce that Avalon clients received six MAXI awards this year. Wow! Congratulations to Farm Sanctuary (Multichannel), Maryland Food Bank (Nonprofit Direct Mail), Pine Street Inn (Direct Mail Acquisition and Multichannel), the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Digital), and The Trustees (Workhorse Email). Kudos also to your Avalon teams.

For creative inspiration from the advertising world: the Cannes Lions recently awarded seven campaigns Titanium Lions, which honor creative marketing that transcends traditional categories. I was particularly moved by the City of Chicago’s “Boards of Change” campaign, which transformed plywood from boarded windows into voter registration booths.

Meanwhile, I was dismayed to read about the matching gift technique under fire in political fundraising. It’s clear that these fundraisers misrepresented the matches, and it’s an important reminder that nonprofits need to be authentic about this technique. To review the rules on this, see our blog post here.

In USPS news, the Washington Post has a simulator that shows how upcoming postal changes will impact first-class delivery. You can enter a sender zip code and then observe how long it will take for mail to arrive across the contiguous United States. For example, here’s what it looks like if the mail starts in Merrifield, VA, which is the post office used by many DC-area mail shops. Unfortunately, it’s easy to see the impact.


Finally, on a sweet note, Future Fundraising Now recently published a blog post that celebrates the day-in, day-out work of fundraisers: The Joy of Boring Fundraising. I love this reminder that our work is making a difference, even as we sift through “boring” details like checklists and postal regulations:

Great fundraising touches our highest ideals. But it’s 90% small stuff… The most fulfilled and delighted fundraisers I know are focused on getting things right and connecting with donors… and now and then they remind themselves of the miraculous transformations they and their donors are making together.

Take care,