FYI Blog

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Four Signs a Donor Relationship Wasn’t Made to Last (And What You Can Do About It) For all the talk in our industry about donor retention, donor desirability is a rarely discussed topic. But the fact is: Acquiring the right type of donor is as critical to strong retention as any post-acquisition cultivation strategy. Some […]

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February 11, 2022

Avalon Reporting: Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) have been around for years. But the pandemic accelerated growth in this type of giving over the last two years. For example, Fidelity Charitable reported making donor-recommended grants totaling $9.1 BILLION in 2020. Are you ready to assess the impact of DAF giving on your fundraising program? This surge of giving from […]

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September 30, 2021

Avalon Demographic Reporting

There are so many data points nonprofits can track in their data. But not all metrics are created equal. You should focus your attention on information that helps further your understanding of your file. And that helps you act on that information. Here, we share what’s available in Avalon’s Demographic Analysis. Beyond standard demographics like […]

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September 23, 2021

It’s Time for Action

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A few weeks after the election, I wrote a post in which I reflected on the pride and gratitude I feel for the work our nonprofit sector is doing—work that I hoped would shore up Americans in these difficult times. But now—as the new administration takes the helm and our fears have, in some cases, intensified—the time to reflect and look inward is over. It’s time to act.

Our job now is to find ways to take bold action to preserve our democracy, and to protect and advance the causes that matter to us. I was so heartened recently when good old-fashioned activism WORKED in the case of the House Ethics Committee debacle—when Avalon clients Common Cause and the League of Women Voters and their allies mobilized their supporters and other Americans to let Republicans in Congress know what they thought about the GOP’s tone-deaf plan to cripple congressional ethics oversight. After a massive outcry, the GOP quickly backed down.

This kind of activism is having a real resurgence right now, not only because it’s desperately needed, but because it’s working. And, of course, millions participated in Women’s Marches all over the country and the world the day after the Inauguration (we were out in full force in Washington) to stand up for our rights, our health, and our families.

My Avalon colleagues and I will help our clients engage their supporters in meaningful ways on the issues they care about and demonstrate how, now more than ever, they can make a difference. The key will be to focus on what we can accomplish, in the face of an American presidency that may lack a mandate but has tremendous power and reach.

We must also remind donors that giving is a powerful statement of one’s beliefs—and we can find solace and strength in the simple act of supporting organizations that mean the most to us right now.

Progressive nonprofits must own the space they’re in and connect with their supporters to advance their missions in the face of environmental peril, failed economic policies, and threats to social justice. Of course, not all nonprofits are activist organizations—but their missions and work can also provide an outlet for relieving our fears and anxiety—as Americans look to the arts and the outdoors for healing, inspiration, personal fulfillment, and renewal.

I’m taking heart that Americans are up for the challenge. We’re millions strong, and we fully embody the best of our embattled Constitution as we insist on equal rights, free speech, and justice for all.

See below for a slideshow of our participation in the Women’s March in Washington, DC.

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February 2, 2017

Yes, You Need That Matching Gift

Allison-PorterLike everyone in the industry, Avalon is in the process of analyzing year-end returns and assessing tests. One clear winner: the matching gift strategy.

We were surprised to get pushback from development directors last year—some wondered if the match is more trouble than it’s worth? Is it overused? Is it too gimmicky? The answer to these questions is a resounding NO. And here’s why:

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Including a matching gift offer amplifies your year-end giving. We’ve proven this time and again, but here are some of our most recent successes using a matching gift in year-end appeals: For one advocacy client, we mailed a test panel with no matching gift offer. The control with the match garnered a 37% higher response rate, 54% more revenue, and a 63% higher average gift. Online, this client’s matching gift email was the highest-grossing email—with the highest response rate—of its eight-email year-end series. The same results held for another client that received a last-minute match and used it successfully in a year-end email series.

One client had a slightly larger match to work with this year, which allowed us to set an earlier deadline with a portion of the match, and then extend it after the initial deadline. This strategy resulted in 39% more revenue than the previous year, raising 138% of budget. They’re starting work now on soliciting an even larger match amount for 2015.

A matching gift is a highly effective vehicle for engaging your major donors. Asking higher-level donors to pitch in to fund a matching gift challenge sends them a positive message about capacity building. It’s an opportunity for them to make a tangible difference and see exactly how their gifts impact your program. (Be sure to report back to your major donors with the rippling effects of their gifts on lower-dollar donors and the corresponding revenue.)

Other important points to remember for matching gift campaigns:

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January 27, 2015