Cost of Inaction vs Fundraising ROI

Cost of Inaction vs Fundraising ROI


Many successful major gifts officers (MGOs) and gift planners are tasked with maximizing their fundraising ROI (Fundraising Return-on-Investment) on all marketing activities. They become so overwhelmed by meeting deadlines and responding to “directives on high,” they often neglect a more important measurement:

COI (Cost of Inaction)

For instance: How much will it cost you in lost short- and long-term gifts if you are fixated on studying legal complexities you believe you need to learn before initiating a break-through marketing program?

If you are more focused on gaining a deep understanding of estate planning laws than on actual donor stewardship, your planned giving program becomes paralyzed, because you’re not actually taking steps to build the relationships necessary to sustain successful solicitation strategies and campaigns.

The Longer You Wait, The More You Lose

Even delaying a simple decision about starting your program — usually because someone says, “Should we begin marketing planned gifts when we have more important and urgent matters at hand?” — has a high COI. The longer you wait, the more you lose down the road. In other words, greater inaction today leads to a lesser fundraising ROI in the future.

And let me correct a misconception: Do you have more urgent matters? Yes. But more important? Definitely not. And the reason you have urgent matters at hand is because someone — the kind of person a former colleague of mine used to call a “dingbat” — did not take a little initiative 7 or 10 years ago. Don’t be remembered as “that dingbat.” Take action now. (Here’s the cost of inaction when you defer the already deferred.)

If you don’t act today, what does it cost your nonprofit? How many game-changing gifts are you missing out on? And how much longer are you going to wait? How much longer can you afford to put off taking steps that will actually make a difference to your organization (and even your career)?

The cost of inaction is significant. The rewards of action are practically limitless. The choice is yours.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

—Dale Carnegie

For those of you interested, here’s a formula to calculate the fundraising ROI on bequests.

Category: Sustainability

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