Worth Considering: How many donors to a dollar?

Worth Considering

If you read the last tip, “Running ahead to stay in place,” you’ll remember that to just stay “even” between 2012 and 2013, you needed to raise at least 1.7 percent more, or $17,000 for a $1 million fundraising budget.

That leads me to ask…How many donors do you need to raise a dollar?

Less than one for $1, I hope. How about for $1,000? More than a few, I suspect.

To get a better handle on this requires a (small) bit of math. How many donors do you have that make gifts of less than $1,000? Gifts at this level usually define your typical “annual fund” (operating expense) donors.

Let’s say you have 2500 donors who give less than $1,000, and that the sum of their gifts is $150,000. That means you need, on average 16 2/3 (let’s say 17) donors for every $1,000 you raise. (2,500 donors/150,000 dollars = .0166 donors/1 dollar. For 1000 dollars, then 1000 dollars x .0166 = about 17 donors.)

Last time we established that just to keep up with the 2012 consumer price index of 1.7% you’ll need another $2,250. At 17 donors per $1,000, you’ll need about 38 more donors. (2250/1000 = 2.25.   2.25 x 17= about 38)

How many more prospects is that? If you have a total database of 10,000, then you have 1 donor (2500 donors) for every 3 non-donors (7,500 non-donors/prospects) in your database, which means you need 114 (38 x 3) new names to get 38 more gifts. However, since new donors tend to give less than established donors, then maybe you should increase that ratio to 1:4 and look at adding 150 new names.

That may seem like a lot, but knowing how many more donors and prospects you need, instead of just dollars, means you can take some meaningful steps. It could mean renting lists, increasing the number of people at your event, adding new clients or their families. Since there are about 250 working days in a year – that means all you need to do is add a new name about every two days to your database. (Yeah, I know, sounds easy…!)

So how do you stay “even”? Get more… more donors! Build your list each day.


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