FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 10.18.2022

Can you guess which museum reopening our team attended last week (we were awed!). Find the answer in today’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, along with National Coming Out Day, peer-to-peer texting, an update on Mastercard, networking tips, and more. Read it here:

Dear friends,

Last Tuesday was National Coming Out Day, which marks the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. (The first march took place on October 14, 1979.) Organizers emphasize the ongoing experience of coming out, which “isn’t a one-time act, but a constant negotiation of deciding how to show up and what parts of one’s identity can safely be revealed.” Likewise, LGBTQ+ inclusivity is an ongoing and all-the-time priority. Avalon client SAGE, which works on behalf of LGTBQ+ elders, noted in their engagement email that coming out continues even through the late stages of life:

Coming out is a lifelong journey. The reality is that LGBTQ+ people have to fight to come out and stay out throughout their lives.

When entering long-term care communities, many LGBTQ+ older people hide their sexuality or gender identity out of fear of discrimination or abuse. They pretend to be straight, remove pictures of their partners, try to erase who they are just to stay safe and receive proper care.

Our LGBTQ+ elders are our living history. They have had to fight for the right to get old. And we are not going to stay silent while they are forced back into the closet.

At Avalon last week, our marketing team gathered in person to work on business development goals. One thing we discussed was how much COVID and the shift to remote work have changed the experience of networking. Even as in-person events return, teams remain distributed far and wide. It can also be difficult to resume social activities after a long period of isolation. If you’re noticing this too, here is advice from HBR on restarting networking activities and from Psychology Today on rebuilding trust and rapport in person. Don’t worry, we’re all in the same boat!

In industry news, The NonProfit Alliance (TNPA) announced that nonprofits that maintain low chargeback rates will be exempt from Mastercard’s new subscription standards. The credit card company had originally included nonprofit sustainer gifts in new rules for recurring payments, which took effect on September 22. Thanks to TNPA’s advocacy and hundreds of nonprofits who signed their letter, Mastercard first postponed the effective date and then eliminated the requirement completely for nonprofits. Well done, everyone.

Senior VP Margot O’Leary reported back from a DMFA webinar on peer-to-peer texting (P2P), led by Justin Henry of Synergy Direct Marketing Solutions. P2P texts differ from automated texts in that they are interactive and sent by a person, which means they do not require prior consent. (Automated texts do require prior consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.) This gives nonprofits an opportunity to text appended phone numbers, which is not available with automated texting. However, it remains important to build trust and credibility with donors. We recommend including an opt-out and integrating this technique within a comprehensive donor journey.

And, Avalon VP Rebecca Shapalis is presenting today at the DMAW Data Strategy Forum. She’s speaking on the opening “all-star panel,” which will discuss “Headwinds and Opportunities.” Years ago, when we founded Avalon Analytics, nonprofits were just beginning to explore the applications of data science for fundraising. Today, it is thrilling to consider how far our tools have advanced and the opportunities that data strategies present. The forum is happening today at the National Housing Center. If you’re attending, be sure to say hello!

Finally, congratulations to the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) on their reopening. Avalon attended the member preview last Tuesday, and we were awed. Eight new galleries opened to the public on Friday, October 14, and renovations continue for even more galleries that will open in 2025. To visit, you should reserve a free timed-entry pass. Thank you for having us, NASM friends!

Avalon with David Saunders (NMAI), John Perell (FOS), and Liz WIlson (NASM)Avalon staff with David Saunders (National Museum of the American Indian), John Perell (Friends of the Smithsonian), and Liz Wilson (National Air and Space Museum).

Take care,


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