FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 07.18.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI digest, check out the Bridge Conference sessions we’re most excited for + reducing the impact of postal hikes, improving how journalists cover the nonprofit sector, a good-enough summer, and more. Read it here!

Dispatch Banner 25th
Dear friends,

July marches on, and we’ve entered a busy time for professional development in our field. It always feels sad to let go of summer, but I love to see fundraisers sharpening their skills to make the most of fall and year-end campaigns. I also enjoy catching up with far-flung colleagues in person at industry events.

First up, Avalon senior VP Margot O’Leary will speak today at The Nonprofit Alliance Leading Edge webinar, What I Wish I Knew. This event is geared towards college students and interns and will cover what to expect when working in the nonprofit sector, how to navigate major early-career decisions, and the ins and outs of networking and goals. The discussion kicks off at 1:30 ET, so share the word with your interns.

Webinar advertisement featuring Avalon's Margot O'Leary with four other panelists

In addition, the Bridge Conference is just around the corner. This year, I will present 30 Ideas that WOWed Us with Tiffany Neill of Lautman Maska Neill & Co. and Mwosi Swenson of Mal Warwick Donordigital. I’m a big believer in developing friendships around the industry, and agency peers are no exception! I’m enjoying the opportunity to collaborate with Tiffany and Mwosi.

Also at Bridge, you will find Avalon onstage at Wyd? How to Make P2P Texting Your New BFF. This panel will feature senior VP Jackie Libby, along with clients Jamie Doughty, manager of annual giving and donor insights at the Kennedy Center, and Lauren Sracic, special events manager at the Humane Rescue Alliance. In addition, I’m excited to see other Avalon clients present their work, including:

  • Emily Courville, senior director of information solutions and analytics at the Humane Society of the United States, will present twice, on data visualization and machine learning.
  • Gabby Green, director of email marketing at the Humane Society of the United States, will cover automated, multi-channel donor journeys.
  • John Perell, director of strategy and member experience at the Smithsonian Institution, will speak about data hygiene and data processing.
  • Lauren Webb Tolstoi, annual fund director for Maryland Food Bank, will discuss performance creative.

In other news, as direct mailers know, new postage rates went into effect on July 9. NonProfit Pro posted a roundup of best practices to reduce the impact of postal hikes on your program. Their recommendations are in line with Avalon’s: practice good list hygiene, use data and analytics to mail smarter, make sure your package size is cost-efficient, and take advantage of discounts wherever you can. There are four discounts currently available for 2023, for emerging and advanced technology, reply mail intelligent mail barcode accounting, Informed Delivery®, and retargeting. Your Avalon teams have factored these considerations into your programs.

I also recommend Vu Le’s recent post on how the nonprofit sector is covered in the media. Though he confirms the importance of transparency and accountability, he also criticizes journalists and media outlets who tell an imbalanced story of the sector. It’s a harmful pattern that erodes public trust, affects funding, and reduces the sector’s impact. Le suggests the following approach for journalists covering the nonprofit beat:

  • Stop lumping all nonprofits together.
  • Increase your awareness of nonprofits.
  • Put down the pitchforks.
  • Be thoughtful when simplifying complex issues.
  • Resist easy data and metrics.
  • Understand that marginalized-communities-led nonprofits face different challenges.
  • Work with nonprofits as allies.

Finally, if summer seems to be flying by, don’t let that stress you out! Marketing VP Barb Perell shared a great post on the good-enough summer. It’s a lovely invitation to enjoy a simpler season. “Easy does it all the way through. May you enjoy your summer, easily, too.”

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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