I am thrilled to kick off this letter by sharing that Avalon is celebrating five MAXI Award wins! Kudos to these Avalon teams and clients: Farm Sanctuary, Friends of Smithsonian, Galapagos Conservancy, National Air and Space Museum, and The Trustees. The awards will take place in a virtual ceremony on November 5, and I can’t wait. All of these campaigns are incredibly creative, and they are crushing industry and internal benchmarks. Way to go!
One of them – our digital win for the Trustees – is noteworthy because it is automated. With a strategy inspired by commercial e-commerce and abandoned cart technology, it will continue to earn for years with nearly hands-off management. Here’s how it works: A snippet of code on a donation form triggers an automated email to the potential donor within one hour if they leave the page without completing their donation. The email is coded to match whether the donor had left a Join page versus a Renew page, thus enabling a consistent image and language. To leverage the opportunity, we also reordered their donation form to capture an email address early in the process. Isn’t that cool?
In snail mail news, USPS has changed regulations around precancellation marks. The marks can be a good opportunity to display unique artwork or give an envelope a personal feel. However, the postal service now requires special authorization for this technique. If you are using any kind of precancellation, be sure to formally clear it with USPS before mailing. If you want to dig into the regulations, our partners at Production Solutions have graciously pointed us to the relevant section: 604 3.4, which covers both precanceled stamps and precancellation marks.
Moving inside the envelope, I recommend this Agitator piece about using emotion in fundraising. The big takeaway? Evoking emotions of compassion and gratitude is most effective. The article also speaks to the importance of connecting an organization’s moral message to its emotional message. For more on donor psychology, Future Fundraising Now has a good collection of posts.
Speaking of emotional intelligence (or the lack of), we now have one presidential debate behind us. Vice President Biden summed it up well by calling the President’s conduct “a national embarrassment.” The big winner of the debate, it seems, was Democratic fundraising. The campaign smashed records that night, raising $10 million online between 9pm and midnight. That includes a nearly $4 million hour between 10pm and 11pm, their best online fundraising hour ever. Volunteering was also through the roof with nearly 100,000 signups during the debate. Of course, this news feels ancient in light of the challenging news cycle around the President’s hospitalization. I have appreciated Joe Biden’s leadership in showing the President compassion while also insisting on change.
On a lighter note, I hope the baseball fans among you have been able to carve out some time for the playoff games and that your teams are doing well. (Or your second favorite teams, after the Nationals!) If you need a break from constantly checking election stats, Five Thirty-Eight has baseball predictions too. This archive of baseball writing from the New Yorker is also fantastic.
If you aren’t a sports fan, I point you to this hilarious story about the swearing parrots of Lincolnshire Wildlife Park. I particularly love the detail that they were not only cursing, but also laughing at one another. This kind of levity is exactly what 2020 needs more of!