FYI Blog

Meet the Avalonian: 8 Questions with Barb Perell

Barb-Perell  Barb and her kids - resized

As Avalon’s Vice President of Online Services, Barb works on client teams to maximize our clients’ impact online and make sure their digital strategies are integrated with other channels.

What one project or campaign are you most proud of?

I’m fond of making small adjustments that have a big impact. For one of our clients, we revamped their e-renewal series to tailor it to the donor and effort. We personalized the ask based on the donor’s giving history and added urgency to the message. This resulted in a near-doubling of the client’s e-renewal revenue, without impacting direct mail renewal results. It even won a MAXI award!

What is the most exciting project you have in the works right now?

We’re already kicking off year-end planning, and that’s always an exciting time to see where we can push results and incorporate new ideas to build on what is typically a very successful time of year for most nonprofits.

What is your favorite Avalon perk?

That we are well-fed. There are celebrations for everything and food to go with all of them. We also have a treat cabinet and healthy snacks in the fridge.

Describe your Avalon colleagues in 10 words or less.

Smart. Collaborative. Fun. Hardworking.

What industry conversation is most interesting to you now?

I think given all the ways to reach someone these days, especially in the digital and mobile space, motivating someone to act or give still depends on telling a compelling story about your organization and what you’re doing to change the world. Telling your supporters a good story that matters to them based on who or where they are is increasingly important if you want to cut through the clutter and get supporters’ attention.

If you could say one thing to today’s nonprofit EDs and boards, what would it be?

Consider investing in digital in addition to direct mail. Since most nonprofits are bringing in about 85% of their revenue through direct mail, it doesn’t make sense to divert investment from this channel; instead, invest in building out a digital program that complements your mail. A lot of tactics in the digital space need to be tested to see if they will work for a given organization to help build a solid online program. But this can’t happen if an organization doesn’t invest in the staff, technology, and other resources required to help get the job done.

What are you reading right now?

I read a lot of books to my kids—Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar has been in heavy rotation lately (spoiler alert: it’s Daddy!). I also carve out a half-hour every week to “read” Us Weekly, to find out how the stars really are “just like us!” And I just finished Amy Poehler’s audiobook, Yes, Please, which I listened to in the car on my daily commute. I don’t have time to read real books for fun, so I have to multi-task!

What is your favorite way to release stress / clear your mind?

See above weekly perusal of Us Weekly… Also, lately I’ve been relishing walks outside with my kids and/or dog. It’s a break from the chaos of my house and a nice change of scenery where we can stop and talk to the birds, wave to the ants, and count the trees.