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Hi, I'm Paul, founder of DonorElf


#1

Hi everyone, I’m Paul Yoder.

I founded DonorElf a little over 3 and a half years ago. It’s a SaaS product for missionaries who raise their own financial support to pay for their ministry and salary.

There’s a lot involved for missionaries to figure out which donors they need to be communicating with (e.g. send a thank you note to new donors, follow up with monthly donors that stopped giving, etc)

So DonorElf acts as a personal assistant for the missionary by analyzing their donations and letting the missionary know which donors they need to be communicating with.

I built it initially for my own benefit since I used to be with a missions organization and raised my own support. And it wasn’t long before others wanted to start using it, so I rewrote it so many organizations could use it, and that’s when I started bootstrapping DonorElf.


#2

Very cool Paul. I’ll have to share this with some of my missionary friends.

I noticed your blog is all about support letters. How do you help your customers with their donor communication? Do you facilitate templates for print or emails?

Excited to hear more!


#3

DonorElf lists the donors that the missionary should be communicating with. It’s up to the missionary to do the actual communication.

With that said, I do plan to add email newsletter integration with MailChimp and Constant Contact, which will make it easier to send emails out.


#4

Hey Paul,

The site looks nice, and you’ve certainly found yourself a niche that you understand.

I’m intellectually curious about your view on making a good living from this site… Got a FAQ or feelings on this? Do you, for example, draw a capped income, and give the rest away?


#5

That’s a question I have thought about a lot as I’ve been working on DonorElf. And a question I had to ask myself even before that one is why charge for DonorElf at all?

I have a deep passion to help missionaries in their fundraising. I used to be a missionary myself and understand how overwhelming it can be.

Some people have pointed out why I don’t make DonorElf cheaper so I can help the missionaries out even more by not having them pay as much. And in the early days of working on DonorElf I was tempted to do this.

But I also realize if I don’t charge enough for DonorElf, then it’s not going to be worth my time, and as my life gets busier with a growing family, I would eventually stop working on it and abandon it. And it’s for this reason that I have no problem charging for DonorElf. I want DonorElf to be the best app for missionaries to help them raise support. And that means I need to charge so it is worth my time and so eventually I can go full time on it.

So I charge for DonorElf to make it the best app possible, and now to get to your question about how much of a ‘good living’ do I plan on making from DonorElf.

My first goal is to go full time on it, which I have no problem with. But after I am able to go full time and say it really takes off and I’m able to make a million a year on it. In that case I do plan to still charge for DonorElf and my plan is to have a set salary like you mentioned and give the extra money away. I’m actually already doing that since I’m currently working a full time job and have the income from DonorElf, we have extra money and give a lot away. And that makes it a lot of fun to work on DonorElf since we’re able to bless others.