The 'law of the vital few' or how a small number of donors makes a big difference

It’s important for all frontline fundraisers--board and staff-- to understand ‘the law of the vital few.’ More commonly called the 80-20 rule, it means that 80 percent of your funding comes from 20 percent of your donors. To demonstrate this point, I run a complete list of all gifts for the year. Every single one. The report contains thousands of gifts and is usually two inches thick. Then, in a meeting with everyone present, I remove the top page, hold it up, and say “The donors on this page make up 50 percent of your revenue.” It’s definitely an attention-getter and helps drive home the point for paying special attention to the vital few.