Business people are used to talking about Return on Investment. And many times we try to apply some measurement of ROI in the non-profit world as well. I would contend that within the development arena, ROI is particularly challenging to measure. Some efforts produce an easy to measure statistic. Others – not so much.
Take direct mail for instance. 95% of ROI can be measured easily. Costs spent on the mailing vs donations returned. The other 5 % might be goodwill, name recognition, or just plain informing. Of course, if done badly, this 5% might be negative and actually hurt the organization.
What about donor events? Vastly expensive in both direct expenditures and staff impact. Especially if the organization makes every attempt to run lean. But how do you measure ROI? Do you absorb the costs knowing that your donors have been impacted (hopefully positively) by the event? Is the information that you have shared with them enough? Does the fact that this group of donors has received a special invitation to a special event serve as enough motivation to keep their engagement with the organization?
Now I realize that donor events come in all flavors of size and purpose. But I just want to throw out some thinking surrounding this development activity.
I would contend that maybe ROI for donor events is not truly measurable. But the events themselves can be powerful connectors for donors. So in that sense, they shouldn’t be ignored entirely.
Just a thought.
I imagine this week’s show will be discussed ad naseum throughout the blogosphere today and tomorrow. Oh well. Thought I would add my two cents.
While I am impressed with the effort that is put forth into highlighting the plight of so many in Africa and here in the US, I still can’t help but wonder how the mix of celebrity “pitchmen/women” truly feel about the situation. I suspect that combining one year’s income from 3 or 4 of them would outstrip the GDP of one country in Africa. And yet they continue to appeal to “common” America to open up the purse strings and give. Just seems a little disingenuous to me.
Which leads me to a question. Is it the cause, the pitch, or the show that leads people to give? In development we often quote the phrase, “People give to people not to projects.” But how does that play out in this case? Are people giving because of the images they see on tv or because of the celebrity pitch?
Which leads to another question. How do we in the non-profit world truly feel about the celebrity pitch? A number of organizations use them to great effect. But where do we draw the line and say, “Put up or shut up!” Where is the break even point between the value of their giving and the value of their name associated with a cause?
Okay, I am done ranting for the day.
Sharepoint has turned out to be a great tool for us. We are now about 5 months into heavy use of it and it is serving as a great consolidator of information. We are able to keep our various project information up-to-date and in an easy to access location. The group calendar functions have been an added bonus. The one drawback that we have at the moment (due to a technical situation) is that the calendars are not linking withour personal calendars on Outlook. I have been told that will be rectified soon with a future update to our Microsoft Office software.