On December 4th, Avalon held a special dedication ceremony for Ann Herzog, Avalon’s former President, Board Chair, and Co-Founder. Dedicated to Ann’s legacy, the Avalon conference room has been renamed, “The Ann Herzog Conference Room.” A plaque with Ann’s picture now hangs beside the entrance (photo on right).
In early 2013, Ann retired from Avalon, having achieved her founding vision of building a full-service, direct marketing fundraising agency that connects great causes to great people. As a direct marketer, Ann is widely respected for her messaging expertise and for pioneering multi-channel integration—a direct marketing strategy that has since evolved from cutting-edge philosophy to accepted best practice. In Avalon, Ann created a new kind of agency—one that not only delivers on quantitative objectives, but also prioritizes collaborative consulting, the long-term best interest of its clients, and a positive, sustainable culture for its staff.
Along with Ann and her Co-Founder Allison Porter, Avalon’s entire staff was in attendance to toast the occasion. We at Avalon know it has been our very good fortune to work for, collaborate with, and learn from Ann Herzog. The dedication ceremony was a wonderful occasion for us to show Ann our appreciation and recommit to her vision.
My last post on ethics, Fundraising’s Dark Side and What To Do About It, was written at the height of the 50 Worst Charities scandal. I was—and still am—concerned about the hard look in the mirror that both nonprofits and nonprofit service providers must take. Are we doing everything we can to lead ethical organizations? Are we training our newest team members on industry ethics? Are we holding our seasoned veterans accountable? Only then can we respond meaningfully to the legitimate concerns raised by the 50 Worst Charities investigation.
At Avalon, we have spent most of 2013 taking the hard look described above. This was fortuitously precipitated by our nomination for the National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA). Participation required both reflection on and documentation of our commitment to ethics from a number of angles. To get an idea, consider this list of the topics covered in our application and interviews: executive commitment, corporate policies, training programs, employee satisfaction, community involvement, and, of course, specific examples of ethical decision making.
And, drumroll please…WE WON! Avalon was awarded the NCBEA’s 2013 ethics award in the small business category. The awards ceremony was a fun and inspiring event spent in conversation with other professionals who, like us, believe that good ethics make good business. Allison Porter and I were in attendance, and, as I’m sure you can imagine, it was a huge thrill to hear the judges call Avalon to the podium.
As fun as that evening was, the staff meeting that followed was even better. We shared a video of the judges’ remarks, which not only complimented Avalon’s managerial ethic, but also praised the entire Avalon staff for understanding and embracing it. Of course, we already knew that the Avalon team is comprised of honest and earnest fundraisers who are committed to our clients’ best interests. But we welcome the affirmation and the opportunity to say THANK YOU to each of them for their part in the honor.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Avalon Wins the 2013 National Capital Business Ethics Award
Washington, DC - (October 25, 2013) – We are proud to announce that the Avalon Consulting Group, Inc. is winner of the 2013 National Capital Business Ethics Award in the small business category. The award recognizes an organization that exemplifies a strong commitment to business excellence and to the highest standards of civic and social responsibility, integrity and ethical conduct.
Ethics are integral to Avalon's mission: connecting great people with great causes. We work exclusively with clients and campaigns whose missions are compatible with our commitment to progressive change—because making a difference and creating positive social change are the reasons we got into this business in the first place. Accordingly, we view our clients' long-term thriving as our top priority.
In addition, Avalon adheres to the codes outlined by our industry associations, we support our clients in the implementation of ethical fundraising, and we have adopted an environmental policy to address the inevitable tension between direct marketing and environmental stewardship. Within our company, we are committed to fair compensation, generous benefits and a positive work environment for our employees.
We are honored to receive this prestigious award, and we pledge Avalon's continued commitment to ethical consulting, ethical fundraising and ethical management.
Allison Porter, Co-Founder and President of Avalon Consulting Group, was recently named the 2014 Bridge Conference Co-Chair. We could not be more proud and excited for Allison as she takes on this well-deserved honor.
Our friend and partner, Greg Albright, Founder and Partner of Production Solutions, recently interviewed Allison on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for next year’s Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference.
Are you interested in…
Finding solutions to your tactical and strategic marketing challenges, learning the steps you can take to advance professionally, and enjoying a great way to network within the industry…?
Then please join me at one of this year’s largest conferences: The 8th Annual Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising held at the Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center from July 31 through August 2.
With more than 70 educational sessions to choose from, you will not be disappointed!
Don’t miss two sessions that will be led by three of Avalon’s very own leading industry speakers and our wonderful nonprofit clients:
A few weeks ago, Production Advantage, one of our valued partners, invited Avalon and the Kennedy Center staff on a Go-Karting adventure. It was a fun opportunity to get to know each other a little better. The day was complete with a delicious lunch, silly race names, full race-track suits, and mini gold trophies. Production Advantage dominated the race track, taking 1st, 2nd , and 3rd places (we secretly think they practiced just to beat us)! We may not have won one of those coveted gold trophies, but we all had a blast! So, thank you Production Advantage for being a terrific partner – on the track and off!
Many of you probably remember the anxiety and excitement you felt when you graduated from college and realized you had to search for your first job. And, many of you were probably like me, unsure of what was out there for you and if you would be able to find that “perfect” job that would satisfy your career aspirations or at least steer you in the right direction. Your education, outside volunteer work, and internship experience, along with the hard work that came with them, were supposed to make it easy for you to choose the right setting and career path.
But what if your major or your education didn’t leave you clear-headed about what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? What if you just weren’t sure if the path you were supposed to take was even plausible?
I debated this when I first graduated from the University of Georgia. After considering law school, I decided to explore the opportunities D.C. offered. Long story short, I got lucky. After a few bumps along the way, I landed my job at Avalon and have watched my goals and aspirations take shape as a passion for marketing.
This is the story I told to Give Back(packing), an organization started by Eli Harris to give college students and recent graduates a unique professional development opportunity. Participants visit four different U.S. cities to interact with professionals from different fields. In May, Avalon hosted a group of 12 Give Back(packing) participants, who came to learn about our agency and industry.
Four Avalon staff members gave presentations on various aspects of our business. Allison Porter spoke on the State of Non-Profit Membership Fundraising (below photo), Jackie Biancolli spoke on Production, Bill Tucker spoke on the E-fundraising, and Margot O’ Leary spoke on Budgets. We followed the presentations with a pizza lunch, at which Avalon staff met with participants individually, answering questions about our professional experiences.
Avalon’s Chief Strategy Officer Jenny Phillips recently authored an Avalon FYI blog post on ethics in fundraising. The post caught the attention of The Agitator, which recommended the piece as containing many “concrete recommendations to act upon.” You can view The Agitator’s post about Jenny’s article here.
Avalon is proud to announce that we are the recipient of five MAXI Awards this year in the following categories: Direct Mail, E-Fundraising and Workhorse. We are thrilled to be honored by the DMAW for the work we do for our clients and are looking forward to attending the annual awards ceremony on July 31rst.
Avalon's Chief Strategy Officer, Jenny Phillips, recently received a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia's Department of Religious Studies, completing that department's doctoral program in Theology, Ethics and Culture. Her doctoral dissertation explores the ethics of contemporary economic life, addressing concerns such as ownership and wealth, purposeful and ethical work, and responsible consumption.