FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 07.13.2021


Dear friends,

To begin with some good news…Happy  24th  Anniversary to Avalon! Tomorrow, July 14, is the date of our founding. I am so proud of the work we have done to further progressive causes and to grow as professionals and as a team. I remember those early days fondly and I am eager for the next phase. We have positioned the company—and helped to position our clients—for significant impact. Well done to our staff, clients, and partners alike.

What’s more, we continue to grow. We have several open positions, including digital account director, technical support specialist, administrative coordinator, and assistant program manager. Please send your favorite fundraising pros our way—and be sure to tell them about our incredible benefits.

Our DEI task force just published the 5th post in its five-part series on DEI-informed fundraising. The first four posts explored list-building, messaging, data, and digital fundraising through a DEI lens, and the 5th puts a spotlight on hiring. Previous posts focused on what to do and how to enact DEI-informed practices. But it doesn’t all happen in a vacuum. Who is creating and informing this work is also important.

Meanwhile, our analytics department has been hard at work enhancing our VitalStats™ dashboards. We have two new tiers of service, which offer channel breakdowns and a customized deep dive into your findings. I cannot overstate the value of these user-friendly views for busy leaders who need to stay on top of their programs. Well done to analytics vice-president TJ Hillinger and her team.

Avalon’s digital team continues to watch changes to online tracking, including Google’s announcement that it will ban third-party cookies within the next few years. I like this advice from M+R to double down on creative, in order to help counter the impact of the new rules.

Speaking of creative, I loved this interview with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and it dovetailed nicely with our Thinking Creatively discussions at Avalon over the last few months. He insists that creativity is a process we must work through, not instantaneous magic:

One of the main things, I think, that keeps people from doing creative things, is this idea that it’s bad or that they’re not going to be good at it. And it’s going to hurt to not be good at something. Even today after writing thousands of songs, maybe—I don’t know, at least hundreds of songs—I know that I still have to go through being bad to get to something good. And I think people have this mistaken notion that people do it in a way that they admire from the outside, [that] they’ve somehow sidestepped that part of how it works. 

Finally, I have some fun event announcements for you. To begin, tomorrow is the first day of the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference. As you probably know, Bridge is one of my favorite industry events. It’s online this year, but I still hope to see you there.

Second, the Kennedy Center and Washington National Opera have announced that Opera in the Outfield is back! This free event takes place on August 28 at Nationals Park. You can picnic in the outfield while enjoying a broadcast of a family-friendly performance. This year, they will present Rossini’s Cinderella.

And congratulations to Wolf Trap, who just kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration with an incredible opening concert. We can’t wait to see everyone back on the lawn this summer!

Take care,