The Expert Witness

The Expert Witness

As promised in last week’s blog post, here are the details on one of my most memorable business travel experiences this year… I was sitting in 2B (upgraded, thank heavens) on a flight from Seattle to Atlanta. My neighbor in 2A was an odd looking man who came onboard after me. I stood to let him get to his seat. He had an oversized suitcase, which he opened prior to sitting down, and proceeded to pull out a half dozen very large three-ring binders. As he stood in 2B – in my space – he began arranging 2A with 180 degree access of his multiple ring binders. Being a smart arse, I said “it’s always good to have hard copies because you can never rely on digital copies.” My neighbor agreed. Finally, after several minutes, he sat down and I retook my seat. I wasn’t in my seat 5 seconds, when my neighbor once again stood, said “excuse me, I need to get out” and then he went back to open his suitcase and reorganize it. “Ah” I said to myself, “I am sitting next to a neurotic obsessive compulsive.” Lucky for me it was only a 4-hour flight to Atlanta. As I stood in the aisle dodging the flight attendants, my neighbor packed and repacked his suitcase until they closed the door and he was forced to take his seat. I immediately put on my headphones and ordered a drink. I didn’t care it was a 6:00 AM flight. Sadly, my headphones did not deter him. “Say” he said, “I have a talent for guessing what people do...
Analytical One’s Top 10 list of business travel quotes from 2013

Analytical One’s Top 10 list of business travel quotes from 2013

Our business travels take us to big cities and small towns across the U.S. and as we rack up the frequent flier miles, we sometimes find ourselves in awkward conversations or unique situations that make us laugh.  So for our last blog posts of the year, we will share a few experiences with you in hopes that we can bring a smile to your face. And if you have a memorable travel experience this year, please feel free to share! Here is our top 10 list of conversations from airports, airplanes, on freeways and at Starbucks throughout the country: 10. “I’m flying to Bogota so I can pick up my Columbian passport.” (Said to Bill on a flight to Atlanta) 9. “You’re from Raleigh?!?!? Do you know Clay Aiken?” (Said to Joe on a flight to Raleigh) 8. “Let me guess what you do for a living…(after one minute)…I have no idea.” (Said to Bill on a flight to Seattle) 7. “I just broke my rental car running over something on the freeway,” Lynn texts Bill from Southern California. Bill responds “Probably an out of work actor.” 6. “Could you please follow me to the search room. You’ve tested positive for explosives.” (Said to Bill by a TSA agent) 5. “Everyone please check your overhead bags. A passenger smells something burning.” (Said by a Delta Flight Attendant) 4. “Are you gonna use that barf bag?” (Said to Lynn on a flight into Denver) 3. “The only way to burn your house down for the insurance money and get away with it is with a grease fire in the kitchen.”...
Unsustainable Trends

Unsustainable Trends

These trends might sound familiar: Your new donor acquisition counts are flat. Your retention is slipping. So, your active donor counts are shrinking. However, you have seen big gains in average gift size. So overall, your revenue is flat. This has been the general trend in fundraising for the past couple of years. And it’s unsustainable. We all know at some point the decreases in active donor counts will be too much for average gift sizes to mitigate. The question is at what point will your revenue fall? Here’s a simple equation that will tell you: (-1*%∆R) > (1*%∆RPD) • Where R = retention, and, • Where RPD = revenue per active donor per year In English, when your percentage loss in retention is greater than your percentage gain in revenue per donor, your revenue will fall. To read Part II of our unsustainable trends blog posts, click...
Frank Sinatra’s Secret Life as a Market Researcher

Frank Sinatra’s Secret Life as a Market Researcher

One of the first decisions made when facing a new research question is whether quantitative or qualitative methods will collect the most useful data. When time and resources allow, I agree with the opinion of Ol’ Blue Eyes. “This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other.” For a thorough review the differences between Qual and Quant, click here. Quantitative can fall short because it often does not uncover the “why”. Qualitative often answers the “why”, but cannot address the “how much”. When at all possible, a dual method approach leads to the most reliable conclusions. “Try, try, try to separate them, it’s an illusion.” I just finished a dual method project for a Christian missionary organization. In an initial survey, one question was designed to gauge the respondents’ preparedness to complete a particular task following a seminar. The purpose was to determine if the seminar was addressing this topic in a way that left attendees feeling prepared. The question asked for their level of agreement with the statement “I fully understand the tasks remaining to (complete this mission).” When reviewing the quantitative, the number who “somewhat agree” outnumbered those who “strongly agree” which would lead to the conclusion that there is much room for improvement in that area. Then came the qualitative research… Following the survey we conducted individual depth interviews with a sample of respondents. As part of the interview, we reviewed their response to the question above. I began to notice something interesting. Many of the individuals who only “somewhat agreed” that they “understood the task” actually were some of the most prepared....