December 3, 2018 Wiley Stinnett

Ask Wiley

Question: How can I meet higher income expectations for next year?

Answer: As a fundraiser, have you ever wondered where income growth expectations come from?

Over the past 35 years, I’ve often wondered if that number is driven by the costs to increase services to those being served, or just an arbitrary goal. But, as the person responsible for making it happen, you need a plan!

As you look ahead to next year, you first have to determine how you will end this year by measuring two critical data points: First, the number of active donors (those who gave within the last 12 months) and then average annual income per donor.

If you’re expecting both factors to be flat next year, your income will be flat as well. Multiplying the number of active donors by the average income per donor will give you a base of overall income for this year, and provide the basis for an increase next year.

annual income calculation

Growth in the number of active donors, and/or, average income per donor, will tell you how much additional income you can expect. You can then take the dollar amount of increase expected and adjust the numbers in one or both areas until you arrive at the number needed.

Don’t forget to allow for attrition of active donors as you calculate the number of new and reactivated donors you will need to just keep you even.

From my years of experience, significantly increasing annual income per donor is very difficult. Yes, minor increases are possible, but with an aggressive new donor acquisition and reactivation strategy partnered with an activation program, significant increases of active donors are indeed possible.

Wiley Stinnett’s highly successful career in direct response fundraising provides our clients with proven direct response strategies and ideas based on real-world experience. With more than 35 years of experience working with ministries, Wiley continues to provide counsel on how to grow donor relationships and improve direct mail, web, digital, radio, television, and events income.

Submit your question at

We look forward to helping you continue your work of being a part of what is right in the world!

  • Share this Post
, , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *