FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 09.05.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, discover an insight for sustainer programs, a helpful systemic racism explainer, how to breathe while checking email (so important!), and happiness bingo. Read it here:

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Dear friends,

I hope that everyone reading had a nice Labor Day. I’ve been moving into a new home in Annapolis, so it has been a busy time for me. Setting up my new office was a top priority, and I’m happy to report that it is coming together nicely. After last week’s flurry of packing and unpacking, it’s wonderful to settle in.

In client news, I was delighted to see two Avalon clients—Grand Canyon Conservancy and Yellowstone Forever—cross-posting on LinkedIn about bison that live on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I especially love how the original post captures the playful tone the Parks have been using to get attention while still being instructional. Nice job!

From our analytics department, VP Sarah Birnie shared new research on for-profit subscriber behavior. Economist Neale Mahoney (after realizing he had forgotten his Peacock subscription) conducted a study to assess the impact of subscription awareness on revenue and retention. One important, but unsurprising finding is that customers cancel at higher rates when prompted to update their payment information. Sarah offered this insight for fundraisers, who might wonder how to apply these findings to nonprofit sustainer programs:

While I love a good recapture strategy more than most (if you don’t know, I adore sustainers and payment processing), what I love even more is a solid account updater service and retry strategy. Time those with a solid recapture process and you might avoid unwanted cancellations.

In DEI this week, marketing VP Barb Perell shared a helpful LinkedIn post by consultant Jaye Holly on how to explain systemic racism. The post links to an animation that uses water pollution as a metaphor for how racism persists in America. The artist who created the animation, Danielle Coke Balfour, writes, “Even the ending of certain systems [like slavery, Jim Crow, or mass incarceration] does not mean that the long-term effects of those systems just cease to exist. Basically, the water’s still not clean.”

Barb also shared an article from the New York Times about the modern phenomenon of screen apnea. Apparently, some of us may not be breathing well when checking email. Experts link the problem to on-screen stressors and lack of movement. They recommend setting breath reminders (like the Breathe app), using larger screens, and taking screen-free breaks. Since we work in a field where screens are essential, it is something to keep in mind.

Finally, COO Kerri Kerr shared Gretchen Rubin’s advice to “clear the decks” for a new season. Rubin created a bingo card with 24 actions to help you feel organized, happy, and ready for fall. There are several good ideas, such as “clean out your wallet,” “answer a tricky email,” and “delete unused apps.” But my personal favorite, of course, is “donate to an organization you’ve been meaning to support.” Great idea, Gretchen!

Take care,


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