YoungAssociates serves nonprofits in a variety of fields, including arts, history, and medicine

A Question of Opportunity Costs (KIM #4)

Cold calling is too inefficient and time-consuming for me. I believe that realistically it could take up at least 60% of my time, so this campaign is focused on gifts from inside the family.

Anon. Director of Development

Let’s rephrase this perception in a different way and consider telemarketing results as well:

50 Calls Per Day
Percent of completed calls who make a gift25%
Gift average per gift$100
Estimated number of hangups per day12
12 hangups x 25%= 3 lost gifts
3 lost gifts @ $100 give average= $300/day in lost gifts
$300/day x 20 working days/month= $6,000 lost each month

These numbers are, of course, just one way of thinking about a problem which is not limited to telemarketing. Instead, what we hope to prompt here is a way to talk to your leaders, staff, and volunteers about anything from fundraising calls to the even more important act of returning phone calls (our policy, for instance, is to return all calls within 2 hours of receipt).

Throughout your fundraising activities, there are places where organizations leak opportunity—identifying these points and tightening systems can help offset the dollars nonprofits report being lost due to the economy.


Part of a series: Keep in Mind, tips from the president of YoungAssociates, micro-sized nuggets to startle, energize, and boost your thinking in regard to development. If you enjoy this information and don’t want to miss future articles, you can subscribe to receive our fundraising articles via email.