FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 07.12.2022

In this week’s dispatch, Happy 25th Birthday to @AvalonFYI! + Digital Day, public trust in nonprofits, fundraising animations, and more. Read it here!


Dear friends,

Happy birthday to Avalon! This Thursday, July 14, officially marks 25 years since Ann Herzog and I founded the company. From the beginning, we’ve been a unique agency: woman-owned, progressive, focused on work-life balance AND making the world a better place through our partnership with extraordinary nonprofits. These qualities drive our special approach to relationship-based, donor-centric, nonprofit marketing and engagement. Cheers and thank you to the Avalon team, our partners, and our clients. I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished and what we are building together.

This week also kicks off a six-month series to further Avalon’s DEI journey. Led by facilitator Alex McNeill, we will consider how Avalon understands direct marketing through an antiracist frame and how we will shift towards a more antiracist and inclusive approach to direct marketing. The steps we have defined with Alex are 1) Name It and Know It. 2) Where can we start to experiment with some of this to see how it impacts results (testing changes)? 3) Where can Avalon share our learnings to help influence others? We began yesterday with a conversation on dismantling white supremacy culture in organizations. This learning has been eye-opening, and I’m eager to incorporate it. As always, we will share our findings through the Dispatch, on our website, and, of course, in our strategy recommendations for our clients!

In other news, kudos to DMAW on a successful Digital Day event. Senior digital program managers Caroline Crow and David Lothamer and senior account directors Peter Childs and Will Griffiths attended from Avalon.

Avalon's four attendees stand on either side of a Digital Day presentation boardLeft to right: Avalon team members Will Griffiths, Peter Childs, David Lothamer, and Caroline Crow at DMAW’s Digital Day.

One of the event’s takeaways was the importance of personalized email, with a personal feel. Presenters from NextAfter reported success with plain text, removing institutional elements like logos, and informal tone in copy. Our team also came back with a neat resource: the Winston Knows library of shared A/B digital test results.

Also of note, the Digital Day session on emergency fundraising emphasized opportunities to reach lapsed and deeply lapsed donors—especially those who gave during a previous emergency but have fallen off. One word of caution, however: be careful with old email addresses. You don’t want to risk harming your sender reputation.

Marketing VP Barb Perell circulated an informative NonProfit Times article on how trust in nonprofits varies by generation. It covers a “Most Trusted Brands” survey by research and technology firm Morning Consult. One noteworthy finding is the work ahead for major environmental groups, none of which falls into the top 50% of trusted brands. They attribute this to low awareness (particularly among younger generations) and partisanship. Of the 50 organizations tested, only two were more trusted by Gen Z than by the overall public: ACLU and Equal Justice Initiative.

On a creative note, I’m excited to share some of Avalon’s recent in-house animation/GIF work. I’m so proud of what we have been able to do with this technology. Thank you to graphic designer Tony Nguyen for these neat (and effective!) creations:

An orange progress meter with a walking bear. The text above says "We're ALMOST at our goal!"

A rainbow-filled animation for Give OUT Day with a fierce person standing on the right. The OUT is surrounded by a rainbow heart.

A WWII-era fighter plane soars to the middle of the fundraising thermometer. The smoke clears in its wake to read "25 years thanks to you!"

Finally, something fun for podcast fans: The New York Times curated 6 podcasts to make you feel good, which they suggest for escaping the news cycle. And The Boston Globe shared 12 gripping podcasts for entertainment during your next road trip.

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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