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.


Worth Considering: Make the list, work the list

Worth Considering

How’s your list, these days? Is it clean and comprehensive or dirty and dead?

Know this: For all of the great letters you send (and maybe I write for you?), if your list is a-rife with bad addresses and names of people who just don’t care about what you do, whatever we say is worthless. Like a list broker friend would say… “It’s all about the list.” As a writer, I reluctantly agree (but don’t tell her that!)

If you’re sending paper mail, the first thing to do is an NCOA (National Change of Address: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Change_Of_Address) review. If it’s email, there are a nice handful of email validation programs that will tell you if an address is even good or not. Both of these steps are good, but really don’t get to where the money is… whether anyone who gets your mail even cares.

This is a lot harder to decide, and has a lot to do with how you accumulated your names. Are they former clients (alumni/patients) or family (grandparents/parents)? Then at least they know you and have experienced your great work. Are they recommended by board members or close friends? Super – and remind your new prospect how you got his or her name. If they attended an event, that’s good, they heard your message from you directly, and may have fallen in love with your cause. However you got the names on your list, they need to care about you… and you can’t force that, regardless of how worthy you are.

So get to know why people are on your list. Ask them why they’re there, and how you can get more like ’em. Because having a list is only the start… you need to work the list!

Hugg’s Monthly Tip: A new tool for your virtual toolbox

Hugg's Monthly Tip

I hope you don’t think that I “shill” for a particular product in my monthly missives, but this time I need to tell you about Evernote. (And don’t worry that I’m getting any commission for this… I’m not 🙁 )

In the last year I have become an Evernote convert. It’s meant a lot of scanning, but it also means finding things much more easily, too… all for about $5 per month.

As I’ve done this, I’ve been thinking about how if my clients had this tool, they’d be saving time in their proposals and other work. For example, Evernote is the perfect place for material like scanned copies of IRS letters, budget documents, marketing material and more that your funders want every time you submit for a grant.

Not only can you keep each document there, but you can easily share them between users on your staff – and (this is the real power of Evernote) tag each document for its potential uses. That budget could be tagged “budget,” “proposals,” “foundations,” and more.

With as much as is on your plate, a time-saving tool like Evernote could mean you get just a little more done – and raise a lot more – each year.

So try it out… and when you do, say “Matt sent me,” and listen for the response: “who?” 🙂 

Worth Considering: Does your Need take a vacation?

Worth Considering

It’s summer. The breeze is warm, the pools are crowded and your client’s bellies are full, right?

You mean their bellies aren’t full? Wait, you mean to say that your need doesn’t go away in the summer?

Whether you’re feeding the hungry, fighting global warming, or fine-tuning a fitness program, chances are that your costs don’t go down (much) in the summer. You still have bills to pay and clients to serve.

Like it or not, your Need never takes a vacation.

So why does your fundraising?

Maybe because YOU need a vacation. A lot of fiscal years end on June 30. You’ve made the big push to meet goal. While that was happening, you didn’t make time to plan for solicitations. Besides, July 1 starts the new year, and your goals are 11 months away and you need a break.

I really get it… but your client’s won’t. They’re still hungry – if not for food, then for services… plus there’s everyone who want their paychecks, even in the long days of summer.

What to do? Keep on asking. My guess is that your competitors aren’t, which is all the better for you. Yes, you’ll get a vacation in there, too. That’s essential. But while you’re away, make sure that your copywriter is busy (I’m happy to help!) and your mail house is fully engaged. Because while you may need a vacation, your Need never does.