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Pat Dryburgh

For the last several years, Stephen Hackett, Myke Hurley, and the team at Relay FM have organized annual fundraisers for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a nonprofit operating in Memphis, Tennessee that is a leader in childhood cancer research and provides treatment, care, and support to young cancer patients and their families at no cost to them, made possible through donations from people like you and me.

Through the support of individual contributors, St. Jude has been able to quadruple the childhood cancer survivor rate from 20% to over 80%.

Three years ago during the inaugural fundraiser, the Relay FM community was able to raise $69,000 for the kids of St. Jude. A year later, the team set their goal for $75,000, hoping they might push it to $125,000. They raised $315,000 in one month.

Last year, the team set an initial goal of raising $315,000. The goal was reached during last year’s Podcastathon and by the end of the month, Relay FM and its listeners had raised $456,000.

When this year’s fundraiser was announced, the goal was set to $333,333.33 with the added acknowledgment that once they had raised a little over $196,000, they would hit the incredible milestone of having raised $1,000,000 in three years. That milestone was reached last week.

As of this writing, they have already surpassed this year’s initial goal and sit at $336,000 raised. They’ve since added another milestone of raising $400,000 by the end of the month.

But my question is: while it took three years for Relay FM and its listeners to raise their first $1MM, how long would it take to raise the second?

We don’t have enough yearly data to come up with a reasonable estimate for the rate of year-over-year growth, but as an exercise let’s assume this year will see a similar rate of year-over-year growth as last year (~44.76%). At that rate, we could estimate that by the end of this month Relay FM will have raised a total of ~$660,105 this year. Subtracting the $196k needed to reach the first $1MM milestone leaves ~$464,105 that would contribute to the second $1MM, leaving $535,895 to be raised for next year. Assuming the same growth rate for next year, we could expect to see the total amount raised reach $955,568, pushing Relay FM well beyond their second $1MM by the end of next year’s fundraiser.

Now, maybe using last year’s growth rate isn’t fair. The good news is that Relay FM could still reach their second $1MM in two years if their growth rate dropped to 25%, which seems very reasonable to me.

All of this made-up math—and the very real work happening at St. Jude—requires that people continue to donate. If you have even a little bit of cash to spare, please consider donating to St. Jude’s. Every little bit helps!

The Relay FM team will be hosting their annual Podcastathon from 12-8 PM on Friday, September 17. They will be sharing stories from families who have been helped by St. Jude as well as hearing from some of the great people who make up the Relay FM network.

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