FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 12.05.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find GivingTuesday results, USPS promotions, why to play with Legos at work, a special night for the performing arts, and more. Read it here!

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Dear friends,

It was great to see many of you at DMAW’s Best of Direct. I love gathering to celebrate industry colleagues, and Tiffany Neill and I had fun reprising our emcee role. Congratulations to this year’s awardees, especially John Bell of MMI Direct, who was inducted into the DMAW Hall of Leaders, and our client Joanne Wilson of the Humane Society of the United States, who was named a DMAW-DMAW Educational Foundation Industry All-Star. The recognition is very well deserved!

Bill, Will, Allison, Mollie, and Kristin are in their holiday finest at the Best of Direct.
The Avalon crew at Best of Direct: (L-R) Bill Tucker, Will Griffiths, Allison Porter, Mollie Bensen, and Kristin Dlesk.

Congratulations are also in order for honorees at last Sunday’s 46th Kennedy Center Honors. This is always a uniquely inspiring and entertaining event, and it’s a fun who’s-who of the performing arts world. This year, previous honoree Gloria Estefan hosted the event, and lifetime achievement honors went to Billy Crystal, Renée Fleming, Barry Gibb, Queen Latifah, and Dionne Warwick. For home viewers, the event will air on CBS on December 27 and will stream on Paramount+.

At Avalon, it was exciting to watch real-time GivingTuesday returns and, as the data came in, to make campaign adjustments that further maximized revenue. Dynamic strategy is a huge part of the digital opportunity, and it is gratifying to see this in action. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, total global giving ($3.1 billion) was flat, and participation declined by 10%. Across Avalon’s portfolio, we saw a modest overall increase, but results varied by client. According to senior VP and director of digital innovation Mary Meredith:

In this crowded market, we saw the biggest wins with clients who supplemented their email marketing campaigns with targeted advertising. The omnichannel approach helped keep client brands top of mind during this incredibly busy time of year.

The event came on the heels of record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. 2023 Black Friday sales topped $9.8 billion, and Cyber Monday reached $12.4 billion. Senior VP and director of client services Jackie Libby noted that mobile purchases were a key driver for both shopping days. This evolution is consistent with what we see in fundraising and confirms the importance of mobile-responsive emails, landing pages, and donation pages.

Looking ahead, the United States Postal Service has announced the 2024 mail growth incentives. These promotions can be good opportunities for cost savings, especially for large-volume mailers. One Avalon client was able to save a whopping $85,000 this year through USPS incentives! Thank you to our partners at Production Management Group and Production Solutions for keeping us informed and for helping us take advantage of postage savings for our clients.

On a fun note, senior VP Jackie Libby shared a fascinating window into the creative culture at Lego. The company recently released a set of How We Create cards, in partnership with Chronicle Books. The deck gives “advice on 4 areas of creativity: motivation, inspiration, memories & mentors, and challenges & obstacles.” Jackie also pointed out that Lego places bowls of their tiny bricks throughout their offices, to encourage playing with Legos at work. The idea is for employees to “build through their challenges and think with their hands.” It’s an interesting concept. I hope that Jackie will give it a try and report back!

Finally, as I mentioned last week, our clients can help with your holiday shopping. This week, I’ve enjoyed browsing at Yellowstone Forever’s online shop, which features park apparel, games, puzzles, and a great collection of books. For arts lovers, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s holiday gift guide includes color-themed collections, museum gear, and gifts inspired by the museum’s “Fashioned by Sargent” exhibition. Both nonprofits have curated fantastic shops that not only sell interesting items, but also highlight their missions.

Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

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