FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 6.30.20


Dear friends,

I went into the Avalon office last week, and it’s hard to miss that both DC and our building feel very empty. Many buildings are boarded up, and there is some amazing BLM art popping up on the plywood window coverings. If you have an opportunity to go downtown, it’s worth checking this out.

One of my missions while in the office was to pack up food for donation with my son Luca. If you have visited Avalon, you probably know that we keep a communal snack cabinet well stocked. I do miss this perk, but it was rewarding to take our snacks to the Bread for the City Northwest donation center. I’m glad we could help out in this way.

In the nonprofit management space, HBR recently posted a good article on how nonprofits should reimagine themselves to survive the crisis. Fortunately, we have not seen the dire predictions of doors closing come true, but cash flow pressures and donation uncertainty are real.

More specific to fundraising, Merkle reports donation trends in keeping with Avalon’s benchmarks, where 2020 revenue is tracking above 2019. An interesting exception to this trend, according to Merkle, is the health sector, where revenue is contracting despite increases in the number of donations.

I have also been working with our analytics team to assess 2020 acquisition results, and I am happy to report that February and March campaigns performed well against budget, and April returns look promising. This is encouraging news, which we will continue to monitor.

Another data trend to watch: Future Fundraising Now reports shifts towards younger donors, who are giving online. This is not unusual in a crisis, and it is important keep in mind that retention is typically lower for first-time crisis donors. FFN’s recommendations, which I support, are to convert as many of them as possible into monthly donors and to execute strong digital fundraising. It will also be important to track the long-term impact of these shifts on file composition and donor value.

Beyond the data, we are paying close attention to the #StopHateForProfit anti-Facebook campaign. As the list of major brands participating in the boycott grows, the New York Times outlines the dilemma for marketers well.

Finally, for those of you working on copy, the Associated Press (AP) has edited its style guide to require capitalization of “b” in the term Black when referring to “people in a racial, ethnic or cultural context.” AP style will also require capitalization of the term Indigenous when referring to “original inhabitants of a place.”

That’s a busy list of serious direct marketing updates, so I’ll close with something light: a quiz! Which Muppet matches your personality? I’d love to know who else is a Kermit. smiley face - USA Custom Jackets

Have a great week,