It was a beautiful evening on the Chesapeake Bay out of Annapolis when Avalon joined the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a sunset skipjack trip. It was great to experience firsthand the wonders of the Bay and reminded us all how important it is to save this national treasure.
In these days of tight budgets and belt tightening, all nonprofits are looking for ways to squeeze every last dollar out of their house files. We’ve found that one of the most effective best practices is to dig deeply into your data to uncover trends and early warning signs that things might be off track.
Avalon VP of Analytics Rick Malchow created an ingenious tool, called Avalon VitalStatsTM (Key Performance Indicator Dashboard), to uncover donor-level trends. A valuable management tool, the Dashboard provides at-a-glance summaries of your program’s current performance metrics compared to prior years, enabling convenient program status monitoring and communications. The summaries include donor counts, giving statistics (overall and by donor type), donor retention rates, and program financial performance.
As you’re budgeting, the inclination is always to try to decrease your per-piece direct mail costs. But how? At Avalon, we’ve created an internal committee tasked with shaving direct mail package costs through tried-and-true methods and strategies.
If your year-end planning isn’t on the front burner yet, move it there now! Remember, donors are paying attention and looking for last-minute giving opportunities at the end of the year.
At some point, all nonprofits are affected by a major external event — a devastating natural disaster; a Supreme Court decision; a presidential candidate making an outrageous statement on their issues — and must turn on a dime to raise donors’ awareness and/or appeal to them for support.
To kick off our new Best Practices section of FYI, let’s run through Avalon’s 10 essential elements of direct marketing testing, and tips for setting up a good test:
Avalon has run a number of successful tests in our marketing efforts recently, so I’d like to share a few of our best results:
Farm Sanctuary Conference
Amy Padre, Jeff Mello, and I recently attended Farm Sanctuary’s first-ever National Conference to End Factory Farming, which brought together 300 experts and advocates from the health, environmental, and animal cruelty arenas.
The presentations were moving and inspirational, but also sobering, for example: Inside the Industry: The Treatment of Animals; Animal Sentience: Intelligence, Social Nature, Emotionality; Natural Resources Depletion: Inefficiency and Overuse; and The Inefficiency of Factory Farming in Feeding the World.
Our take-aways include many thought-provoking statistics, and the conference also reinforced the important work that Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, performs every day.