The 90-10 Rule of Fundraising

How many of you are familiar with the "80/20 rule", also known as the law of maldistribution or Pareto's Rule? You know, "20% of the people do 80% of the work." You complain about the other 80% among your staff, colleagues, and volunteers all the time that aren't doing their share (just joking.) 

Don't you find that this translates into a 90-10 rule in fundraising, where 10% of the donors are giving 90% of the dollars? In some organizations, it's even more of a 95-5 rule. Where do you fit?

I find that the following graphic helps discuss this rule and also helps to recognize the different needs for each type of donor that we have for systems and support in Advancement Services. We have to address both the 10 percenters and the 90 percenters!


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Last updated June 2003