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If you’ve just dropped your year-end appeal, you may be wondering when the donations will arrive. Three groups using the WaterGrass database have agreed to let me mine their 2008 data, and share what I found.

In all three cases, donations really began to arrive in the second week after delivering the letter to the post office. At the end of week 2, the organizations had logged between 15 and 40 percent of the total they would eventually gross. (More if they’d mailed later in the month!) By week 3, they had between 40 and 70%; week 4, between 50 and 80 percent. By the end of the second month, two of the three had logged almost everything they would get. Donations continued to dribble in as late a 12 months after the drop date.

Let’s take a little closer look. Group 1’s appeal went out pretty late – on December 13th. So they mailed first class to large donors and bulk to everyone else. They got most of their large gifts before the New Year.

Group 2 dropped its mailing before Thanksgiving (take that, you procrastinators), and mailed first class. Donations came in gradually until the rush before New Year’s. (This group also told me that it may have logged its donations after they’d arrived, so the response may actually have been a little faster.)

Group 3 sent their bulk mailing off on the 4th of December, and began to receive responses the second week therafter. They registered no evident “rush” in donations before the New Year. Their tracked donations on a daily basis. (A smooth graph like this pleases the aesthete in us.)

Track your own results and let me know if they agree or diverge. Do your donors simply wait until 12/31?

May the holidays bring you many donations and may the coming year turn them into real results for healthy water, rivers and planet.

Baird Straughan and the WaterGrass Team

For more information about WaterGrass, go to http://www.leadgreen.org/wg_home.shtml

Photo courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/psilver/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0