The folks at political consulting firm BuzzMaker have come up with a damn useful little tool: a simple calculator that projects online fundraising totals over time, based on variables like list size, response rate, unsubscribe rate, how many emails you send per month, etc. Just enter your numbers, including your acquisition budget, and the calculator will show you the compounding results for the months to come.
A couple of observations: note that the calculator subtracts your acquisition budget from the amount you raise each month, which makes sense. Also, you’ll need to consider interacting variables that the calculator DOESN’T know about. For instance, if you send more emails per month, you’ll raise more money (it’s impressive to see how much it matters to send more messages, btw). But you can also reasonably expect a higher email volume to decrease your per-message response rate and boost your unsubscribe rate, and you’ll need to edit those variables manually to see the possible results.
The really interesting part? You can use it to test different strategies. For instance, does it make more sense to try to boost our open/response rates, or to focus on increasing the average donation? Ideally you’d do both, but most of us can’t do EVERYTHING at once. What if we increase our acquisition budget? At what point does the list expansion really start to pay for itself? You can spend a lot of time exploring the relationships among the different variables — and since we’re talking about money, this can be be valuable time indeed.
Check it out and see what you find. Handy little critter all around — nice work.