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.
In the direct marketing field, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to deliver the membership message through all the usual channels: mail, phone, and online. But if you are a museum, performing arts center, zoo/aquarium, or other “destination-based” organization, you don’t want to forget one of the most valuable (and perhaps most overlooked) opportunities for making the membership connection: on-site.