FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 8.18.20

Dear friends,

I’m sure you have heard the big news since my last email, but I can’t let it pass without celebration. I am so excited by the historic selection of Kamala Harris as the Democratic nominee for Vice President! Harris is the first Black woman and the first person of South Asian descent to be nominated for a major party’s presidential ticket. Cue the confetti ­– 76 days until the election. (Need a countdown clock?)

Avalon is launching creative for our clients’ fall campaigns, and we are preparing for three scenarios: (1) Trump’s re-election, (2) a Biden/Harris victory, and (3) an uncertain outcome. The last of these is a possibility to take seriously, particularly given the Republican strategy to undermine voting by mail. If you are mailing or running a digital campaign in November/December and the election impacts your copy, this is something to consider now. For more wisdom on year-end planning, I recommend Kerri Kerr’s recent article in DMAW’s Marketing AdVents newsletter.

As election rancor increases, it will be more and more important to think critically about our social media feeds. This is a point well made by Prince Harry in a recent editorial for Fast Company: “There are billions of people right now ­­– in the midst of a global pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives – who rely on algorithmically driven information feeds to make judgments about fact vs. fiction, about truth vs. lies. One could argue that access to accurate information is more important now than any other time in modern history.” This is a good reminder to actively seek out news, rather than letting social media feed it to us. It is also a call to responsibility for every post we share.

In the spirit of fresh and thought-provoking sources, I enjoyed two (vastly different) events last week. The first was Dr. Anthony Fauci’s exclusive conversation with National Geographic magazine. In it, they discussed “why the pandemic is wreaking havoc on communities and the lessons we can learn from pandemics throughout history.” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was also a participant, along with Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg and an impressive panel of experts.

The second was the New York Times Offstage: Suffragist event, a conversation with and performance by the cast of Broadway’s newest musical. “Suffragist” was due to premiere this fall and was shut down by the virus. It tells the true story of the growing rivalry between Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul. I love musicals, and I especially appreciate the intersection of “Suffragist” with the League of Women Voters, a longtime Avalon client.

In nonprofit news, it has been incredible to watch the NRA’s spiral.The NY Attorney General is suing and trying to dissolve the organization, and the DC Attorney General has followed with his own lawsuit. We all know how problematic their mission and tactics have been; these allegations add corruption and fraud to the list. I won’t be sorry to see them go. 

Since I can’t let the NRA have the last word, I will close with something heart-warming and fun: Alabama principal Quentin J. Lee’s back-to-school “Can’t Touch This” spoof. Dr. Lee and educators everywhere have my deep respect. Whether they are returning in-person or teaching online, this year they must learn to reach children in entirely new ways. Their dedication is critical not only for my family, but also for the common good. I am grateful.


Take care,