FYI Blog

DMAW AdVents Feature: Testing Informed Delivery

Of all the shiny, new things in the world of direct marketing, the United States Postal Service’s Informed Delivery is one that shows real promise as a new way to make your mail stand out in the crowd.      

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February 18, 2020

Giving Tuesday’s Impact Continues to Grow

Most of us who work in fundraising were deluged with emails from various nonprofits. But we were also refreshing our donation totals to see how generous donors were being to their favorite causes. In all, Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving, spurred record numbers of charitable giving this week with $511 million raised online […]

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December 5, 2019

Clients in the News – October 2019

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch Speaks Out In June, Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture was named the Smithsonian Institution’s 14th secretary. Recently, CBS This Morning ran a fascinating feature on Bunch and his new memoir: A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, […]

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October 24, 2019

Bringing a Museum to Life

One of the most exciting opportunities in my career as a fundraiser has been Avalon’s partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in building a robust Membership program to support the Museum’s opening in September 2016. Lonnie Bunch, the visionary leader and founding director of the Museum, was recently […]

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October 23, 2019

Clients in the News – August 2019

  REACH for the stars! The Kennedy Center is pulling out all the stops when it opens its much-anticipated expansion, the REACH, in September. For 16 days—September 7-22—the Kennedy Center will hold a free festival, including tours of the new REACH spaces, films, interactive events (like tai chi and virtual reality demonstrations), dance, comedy (Patton Oswalt!), […]

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August 21, 2019

Clients in the News–February 2019

Spikes Are Not the Answer In a compelling article in Common Wealth magazine, Pine Street Inn Executive Director Lyndia Downie describes the real-world solutions to homelessness that Pine Street is implementing, with great results. She and co-author Laura Sen concur that putting up barriers—like metal spikes under an overpass in San Francisco—to discourage homeless people from taking shelter […]

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February 25, 2019

One Change Can Be Groundbreaking

Would you believe me if I told you that changing just one thing in your fundraising program could produce dramatic results? It’s true! One small change can generate more ideas to test, courage to think outside the box, and unexpected savings or even revenue. Here are some recent change-just-one-thing strategies that have made a big […]

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February 27, 2018

Case Study: Pivoting Post-Election

The League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWV) needed to provide donors with a post-election update as quickly as possible after Election Day 2016—regardless of the election’s outcome. OBJECTIVE: The League of Women Voters (LWV) Education Fund’s objective was to be in the mail within days after Election Day, to brief supporters on the […]

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February 6, 2018

Case Study: Fresh Messaging for a Spectacular Result

RAN appeal Art collage

With a new approach to messaging and positioning, Avalon gave new life to the Rainforest Action Network’s appeal program.

Objective: Given the multitude of nonprofits working in the environmental sector, the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) needed a way to make its unique brand of activism stand out for donors. So Avalon sought to appeal to them with a fresh messaging approach and a strong case for support.

Strategy and Audience: Previous RAN appeals focused on the destructive environmental consequences of clear cutting rainforests—compelling, but missing the more human story. Our new messaging focused on the wildlife that is being impacted in the rush to produce cheap palm oil in the Leuser Ecosystem—the last place on earth where Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and sun bears can still be found living together.

Our window carrier featured a photo of an adorable baby orangutan and its mother, with the teaser “Don’t let your snacks destroy their future…” The two-page letter from RAN Executive Director Lindsey Allen got right to the point—engaging donors with the stark truth about the devastation to the rainforest and the animals that live there that results from harvesting palm oil for our snack foods. We challenged RAN donors to do something about this situation, then provided two solutions: one, sign the enclosed petition to PepsiCo, a leading purchaser of “conflict” palm oil; and two, make a contribution to support RAN’s campaigns to end rainforest destruction.

The full-page reply form echoed the letter’s urgency and important message, and included a three-paragraph petition to PepsiCo outlining what’s at stake and imploring the company to do the right thing.

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February 1, 2017