Hi, I'm Paul, founder of DonorElf

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.

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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!

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.

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?

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.