Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Curmudgeonly Counting

I was listening to a pledge drive on the radio, and they had several "Challenge Grants" in which anonymous donors put up $5,000 or more if a certain number of callers make a minimum pledge.  Does anyone else calculate the ROI on these things?  One challenge offered $20,000 if 2,000 callers would pledge $360 in an hour.  That's a grant of 1/36, or 2.78%.  Aren't there bonds or CDs that would return more so you could just invest it and give the charity the total return?

I know these are mostly psychological ploys - each of the 2,000 donors can say their pledge was the key to $20,000 - but still.  Building up excitement with the fuzzy math seems even a little dishonest to me.  But I might just be being curmudgeonly.


  1. aha! But you're missing the point. If say 350 people donated that one time, the chances they'll donate again are high...and every year... basically for 20K a donor has potentially brought in a lifetime income well beyond the original 20K gift.

  2. If the donors kept donating, either there wouldn't be pledge drives multiple times a year or someone is really making a lot of money off this nonprofit.