When calculating ROI, be sure to annualize the savings

We all know that ROI = return on investment. When considering any investment, we should consider what the return on that investment will be. So if I’m going to spend $100,000 on a new database, for example, what kind of return can I expect on that $100,000?

That’s a good exercise to run through. But too often, ROI is often calculated against immediate savings, and annualized savings are overlooked. Here’s an example:

A client of mine invested $125,000 in a new association management system. As a result of this change, they were able to dramatically reduce the number of snail-mail pieces they sent out for dues renewals by sending email renewal messages and allowing members to renew online. The savings for one year of reduced snail-mail was $13,000. That’s not a huge number, compared to the $125,000 investment. However, over five years, the association will have saved $65,000 on printing and postage. Suddenly the ROI looks a lot better!

So when calculating savings that may occur as a result of some investment, be sure to take into consideration whether that is a one-time savings or savings that can be annualized for years to come.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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