Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Net Earnings Question

Would you rather have an event that brings in $30,000, a direct mail letter that brings in $25,000, or a grant for $25,000?

Some of you may be jumping for that $30,000 event. But that might not be the best answer. The first question about each of these fundraisers is, "How much did you spend to bring that money in?"

Let's take a closer look at how it might work out:

site, food,

When we look at the net amount added to our budget, the event was our worst option!

Does that mean you should cancel your event and put all your time into grants and direct mail? Of course not. There may be some donors that you will only reach through an event. Events can also generate a lot of publicity for your organization. And, events are a great way to celebrate and thank your supporters publicly.

The point of this posting is simply this: It's fine to brag about how much money your events gross, but when you are doing your fundraising plan, there's much more to consider. A mix of income types is always going to be your best, most sustainable way to fund your nonprofit.

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