Eric Rardin at Care2 offers this calculator to estimate the value of an email address.

As he notes, while this calculator focuses on donations, nonprofits can assign additional, less quantifiable values to their e-names reflecting other benefits (e.g., branding, advocacy impact).

Using his methodology, Eric has come up with some benchmark values for email addresses in certain sectors, as follows:

Environmental:   $2.59 (Lifetime value, 4 years = $4.86)

Public Affairs:     $2.69 (Lifetime = $5.04)

Animal Welfare:  $6.99 (Lifetime = $13.11)

Health:             $15.75 (Lifetime + $29.53)

How do you compare?

This is a nifty little predictive tool. Thanks Eric, you deserve a raise!

But readers, if your nonprofit has been in the online solicitation biz for three years or more, by now you should have built you own custom model, using your own response data and including the acquisition costs of your e-addresses.

Right now, most groups are raising online money from existing donors from whom they’ve captured email addresses. That’s cool. But until you can calculate the net lifetime value of an e-donor based on the actual experience of your own organization, you won’t have an empirical basis for deciding how much money to invest in alternative "prospecting" approaches for surfacing new e-names.

Most groups have found that they can raise e-money once they have the e-addresses. The trick is knowing how much you can reasonably spend to acquire the address in the first instance.


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