FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 10.13.20

Dear friends,

Last week’s vice-presidential debate played out as expected, with the humorous exception of the insect that has everyone buzzing. The internet rose to the occasion with a Twitter account for Debate Fly and a deluge of memes. Even better, the Biden campaign quickly jumped on the fundraising opportunity in very creative ways. Kudos and thank you to Senator Kamala Harris for her strong debate performance.

At Avalon, we are rolling out our new Merlin™ Digital Dashboard ­– available exclusively to Avalon Digital clients. I am thrilled about this because not only does it report year-to-date revenue and year-over-year performance, but it also tracks 12-month rolling data for key digital metrics. As a senior leader tracking multi-channel strategy, I particularly like knowing the weight of digital as a percent of total revenue. Best of all, everything is reported in easy-to-read visuals that you can cut and paste into other documents.  This dashboard is a dream for Avalon’s cross-channel fundraisers and for our digital specialists. I know you will love it too.

Avalon account director Nova Cohen-Prohow recently reported out from the EveryAction webinar, “Stand Out From the Crowd: Tactics for Getting Noticed During Giving Season.” I like their advice to measure success by what people see, say, and do. What people SEE covers the messages that cross their awareness during a given period (e.g. ad reach, email opens, and social media views). What people SAY includes things like testimonials, commenting, and reposting. And what people DO captures actions, including our favorite at Avalon – making a donation! The big idea is to have a strategy that encompasses the full ecosystem of fundraising and engagement, not just a chosen few metrics. I couldn’t agree more.

In the realm of online teamwork, Avalon senior program manager Kristen Dlesk recently discovered a fun feature in our collaboration software, Microsoft Teams. You can put everyone together in a theater setting, which of course we pursued with fantastic results.  This feature works through the Teams “Together Mode.” Here’s a primer if you want to learn more.

For in-person communication, we have been sharing thoughts on how to communicate well when wearing a mask. Tyra Banks was onto something years ago when she showed people how to “smize,” or smile with your eyes. HBR includes this classic social cue ­­on its recent list of ways to build rapport while wearing a mask, which I highly recommend.

As we continue moving toward the election and year-end, perhaps the arts can help mitigate external stressors. Last week, the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.” I was delighted to hear this, as she was a significant literary influence during my adolescence, when my high school poetry seminar studied her book, The Triumph of Achilles.

And, on a musical note, I recently went down the rabbit hole on a NYT series that asks artists to choose the five minutes they would play for their friends to make them fall in love with their favorite genre of music. I started with Five Minutes That Will Make You Love Baroque Music and went on to listen to their highlights for Classical Music, Violin, Cello, Mozart, and several more. It is a fun way to expand your musical palette. I hope you find something you like!

Take care,