Are You Playing the Odds?

What do the numbers 5, 15, 80 have in common? Take a moment to consider what these numbers might mean to your growing organization. When I first heard this twenty plus years ago, I was amazed at the impact these numbers have. Many of you have probably heard of the 80/20 rule, but Dan Kennedy, a noted author and speaker, breaks them down even further.  He uses them in terms of people who are financially successful in our society.  I’d like to use them today to help you understand how these numbers might be impacting your organization.

The first number is five. This is the number that is critical to your organization’s success. They are your biggest fans.  The five percent are the first to volunteer for your special events to make them successful.  They’re the first to take out their checkbooks when you start a donation drive. They are the evangelists for your cause to anyone who will listen. They are your most successful members.  They believe in your cause wholeheartedly and are fiercely loyal to your organization. Unless something really terrible happens, they will continue on forever.

The next number is fifteen. Now this is where it gets interesting. These are the people who are interested in your cause.  They might participate in your events or fundraisers but they have to be cajoled into helping out.  They would prefer to just write a check rather than get really involved.   They are positively swayed toward your cause but have not yet begun to evangelize your cause in a big way.  Financially they are doing well, but are seeking the silver bullet to take their lives to the next level. They may attend your events, but they’re also involved in other causes.  They may not believe everything you do or say.

Now the third number is eighty. This is the largest group of people and you know who they are. This is the group that attends your events, but spends the least amount of money.  They rarely donate to your cause.  They have limited loyalty to you or anyone else and will be very expensive to acquire. They are not certain that they are interested in the cause you are advocating. They are slow to adopt new ideas and tend to be very cynical of whatever they come into contact with. They are struggling financially and they tend to belong to many groups but are active in none. They don’t invest in their own future and they see themselves as being victims to their environment.

Now guess which group you invest most of your time and resources on?  Most organizations focus their attention and efforts on getting the 80% more involved.  The 80% is the least responsive to your efforts.  Spending your time and resources on the upper 20% will lead to much greater returns.

Over the next couple of blogs, I’ll share how to target your market to the first two groups. I’ll also explain why so many organizations are unsuccessful with their marketing and communications efforts, failing to reach their potential size or market share.   So, stay and grow with us!

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