Tuesday, June 10

Bloggers challenge Gene Austin from Convio to announce his over/under goal for the year

On June 5th of last week, Tom over at The Agitator posted this article:

Courtesy of Don’t Tell the Donor blog, I just saw Convio’s reaction to Blackbaud’s purchase of rival Kintera. In it, Convio CEO Gene Austin comments that in April alone, Convio processed over $41 million in online contributions for its clients.

So here’s my question for you, Gene…

Are you ready to predict a $500,000,000 (that’s a half-billion for you creatives) online fundraising year for Convio clients? That’s getting to be big money!
Even though it was this site that originally posted the number, Austin must have decided not to post to Don't Tell the Donor directly. Instead, Austin posted this challenge to a bet on the comment thread at the Agitator:
Gene Austin on June 5th, 2008 10:53 am
As we all know there is a fair amount of seasonality in fundraising (Spring, October and the end of year), but I actually think $550M is achievable this year. Remember that this is only actual online giving and many of our clients will testify that their offline results are significantly impacted by their online communications and strategy.

If you are a “betting man” Tom we could put a little wager together on $550M. If we don’t hit it, I will fly you to our Summit and pay for your registration….now what do I get if we beat it?

When I read the bet Austin was making, I couldn't wait to offer my own Vegas-style lines on what Convio's expected donation processing total will be for 2008. At first I thought the SEC might be supisicous if I was to publicly comment on how many donations I thought would be a reasonable over/under... but my urge to gamble made me get involved.

I assume the first stated over/under number of $500 million was determined because Tom multiplied $41 million from April by 12 months (that would be $492 million for you math geeks). So, part of me thinks if Gene's bravado is ready to drop a number like $550 million as an even higher over/under... that means he's holding back his real estimate.

But how much higher should the real over/under be?

First, we need to set some realistic benchmarks:

I know a couple organizations that raise 5% of their total online revenue during the month of April. That means their total annual revenue is 20 times the amount raised in the month of April. If we apply those metrics to this bet, the over/under should be $820 million. That would be an impressive accomplishment.

So, I'll tell you what. If Convio can process over $820 million for their clients in 2008, I will reveal my secret blogger identity on the Agitator's blog. Live. What do you think about that challenge Gene?


realist said...

That's easy. I think Convio processes over one million dollar's worth of donations this year! easy.

Mike H. said...

No way. They'll be lucky to get $550,000,000 because - don't forget - they can only process. These guys don't actually raise the money... the charities do. Convio only acts as the processor.

smartass said...

Who says Convio will still be around at the end of this year?

Anonymous said...

Won't a faultering economy hurt everyone's fundraising - whether it's online OR offline?

I'm guessing it will be LESS than $550 million.

Gene Austin, CEO, Convio said...

Don’t tell… I’ll stand by my $550,000,000 and hope for our client’s sake that we see your smiling face in January. I’ll even spring for a video interview that we can post here, on the Agitator, on our Connection Café blog and on YouTube, about your life as an anonymous blogger and the freedom that comes from having people know who you are. If we get to $820 before November, we can “unmask” you at Summit as well.


"a fundraiser" said...

Thanks for posting Gene. I wish you the best of luck. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Not only did Convio's customers raise more than $550 million they hit $777 million. Not too shabby in thie economy. Smart$*% I think the results also show that they will be around for a long time - profitable and growing.