I pride myself on being a long-term strategic thinker. I believe that leadership involves vision and setting direction for the long haul.

But I’m going to make an exception to that now.

We’ve all been through a tough couple of years. Donors are cautious. Your revenues are probably down a bit – or flat at best. And, as we look ahead, the economic prospects don’t look a whole lot brighter. (How many times have you heard the expression ‘fragile recovery’ from economists in the past six months?)

I know you’re under pressure to produce revenue now. To produce next month – and to produce next quarter.

The simple best way I know to do this is to go back to the good old Pareto Principle. You may know it as the 80:20 Rule.

Here’s how to apply the 80:20 rule to your situation:

1.     Identify the 20% of donors on your database who probably generate 80% of your revenues.

2.     Look carefully at how you’re soliciting those donors. How often? For what types of gifts?

3.     Look just as carefully at how well you’re thanking and stewarding that donor segment. Are you really recognizing their value to your organization?

4.     Early in 2011, give them a great reason to stretch their giving – either by making larger gifts or by converting to a monthly gift commitment.

5.     And while you’re at it, find two or three ways to step up your thanking and stewarding. Do it faster. Do it more meaningfully. Treat them like the special donors that they are.

You can only increase short-term performance in your fundraising program in a limited number of ways.

For my money, following the Pareto Principle is probably your best bet.

And, let me know how it works for you!