Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

Posted on 09/07/2016 - by Dan Allenby

prioritizeIn algebra, PEMDAS explains the correct order of operations within a mathematical expression. It’s an acronym that stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction and it states what you’re supposed to do first, second, third, etc. when trying to solve a complex math problem. For example, 1 + 3 x 2 = 7 (not 8) because you should do multiplication before addition.

A mnemonic to help teach students PEMDAS is “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” This fun phrase helps them keep the acronym straight in their heads and remember the correct prioritization.

Setting priorities is also important in annual giving, and there are many tips and tricks to assist you. One is RFM (i.e., Recency, Frequency, Monetary), which can help to identify donors that are most likely to respond to appeals. How recently a donor made a gift, the number of times they’ve given in the past, and the size of their last gift can all help indicate if they are likely to give again in the future. For example:

  • A donor who gave last year is more likely to give than a donor whose last gift was many years ago
  • A donor who has made several gifts is more likely to give than one who has given only once
  • A donor who made a large gift is more likely to give than one who gave a smaller gift

It would be ideal to be able to afford to solicit every one of your prospects often and give them all the same amount of personal attention. Unfortunately, when time and budgets are limited, that’s not possible. Therefore, you need to prioritize.

The real trick is balancing your solicitations – and stewardship – in a way that focuses on your best prospects without ignoring anyone completely. Because you can never be 100% certain who your next big donor will be.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Segmentation Strategy.