FYI Blog

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 8.04.20

  Dear friends, In recent weeks, images of John Lewis’s final crossing of Edmund Pettus Bridge and the many tributes to his life have been deeply impactful. An essay he wrote to be published on the day of his funeral concludes, “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that […]

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August 4, 2020

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 7.28.20

Dear friends, Summer at Avalon involves fun activities like vacations and early Fridays, but it also means proactive preparations for our busiest season – fall and year-end fundraising. This year, we are also taking care to ensure that our plans integrate the unique challenges and opportunities of pandemic fundraising. I would love to hear how […]

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July 28, 2020

Avalon Weekly Dispatch 7.21.20

Dear friends, Last week was special for us, as we marked Avalon’s 23rd anniversary. In 1997, Ann Herzog and I founded Avalon to meet a growing need for comprehensive direct response fundraising strategy. Of course, in 1997 “comprehensive” included only mail and phone! Fun fact: at the time we had a single AOL email address for the […]

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July 21, 2020

DMAW AdVents Feature: Testing Informed Delivery

Of all the shiny, new things in the world of direct marketing, the United States Postal Service’s Informed Delivery is one that shows real promise as a new way to make your mail stand out in the crowd.      

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February 18, 2020

A Strong Year-end Finish

Last year, we saw the Trump Bump of 2017 morph into a bit of a Trump Slump of 2019 for marketers and nonprofits. So we were thrilled to see our clients’ supporters wholeheartedly respond to our year-end campaigns to end 2019 on an encouraging note. All but one of Avalon’s clients saw an increase in […]

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January 24, 2020

A Culture of Continuous Improvement

As we begin the new year, processing the year end results (AWESOME) and working on plans for 2020, I’m reflecting on how Avalon has grown and evolved since its founding in 1997. We’ve moved forward and evolved as a firm in ways I couldn’t imagine 23 years ago—including our collaborative work spaces and work-from-home options […]

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January 23, 2020

Giving Tuesday’s Impact Continues to Grow

Most of us who work in fundraising were deluged with emails from various nonprofits. But we were also refreshing our donation totals to see how generous donors were being to their favorite causes. In all, Giving Tuesday, the global day of giving, spurred record numbers of charitable giving this week with $511 million raised online […]

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December 5, 2019

Hot off the Presses…

Avalon President Allison Porter and writer Faith Brown Kerr have authored a chapter in the brand-new book: Sustainable Revenue for Museums: A Guide, edited by Samantha Chmelik. Dedicated to “…the volunteers, staff, and board members at museums, historic sites, zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens, and nature parks,” the guide presents a survey of the best practices being […]

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October 25, 2019

Do you have the guts to invest in fundraising?

No denying it: donor acquisition is down across the industry. Nonprofits are acquiring fewer donors, and many are experiencing volatile results and declining response rates, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s Quarterly Fundraising Report (June 2019). The number of donors is down; the number of donors who are giving is down; revenue is down. So what […]

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September 26, 2019

Do you know the golden rule of ethical fundraising – and why it matters?

Avalon was recently surprised to learn that one of the digital partners for a client based their fees on a percentage of revenue raised for a client. I’ll start by saying I believe that leading a culture of principled decision-makers is more ethically robust than micromanaging a team of rule-followers. However, the “golden rule” for […]

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September 25, 2019