John Muir Land Trust uses @RISK for Fundraising Success

Non-Profit John Muir Land Trust
Uses @RISK for Fundraising Success


Founded in 1989, John Muir Land Trust (JMLT) of Martinez, CA was created to permanently preserve lands in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in California to safeguard fragile ecosystems. As a non-profit, the organization relies on donations, and conducts two mail fundraising campaigns per year. Prior to using @RISK, JMLT did a rough forecast of funds based on past campaigns. But the appeals are difficult to predict because they are each based on different properties that JMLT is looking to protect, and it is uncertain which properties will attract the most interest.

“It is very helpful for us to know early on how the appeal cycle is doing,” explains Jay Dean, Creative Strategy Director at JMLT. “This can affect decisions whether or not to mail more letters, to mail reminders, to adjust expectations and/or our level of spending, etc.”

So, Dean used @RISK to make a prediction model for each appeal cycle, based on historical data. During the next appeal cycle, he used the model to forecast returns for the entire appeal.

“Twenty days into the appeal, we got a good idea of final returns, and after 30 days things really settled into a pattern,” reports Dean. “This forecast far exceeded expectations, and allowed us to save money.”

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Wayne Winston on the Importance of Analytics


Watch on LinkedIn Learning


In this short course, Wayne Winston, Emeritus Professor of Operations & Decision Technologies at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, discusses how analytics help organizations identify patterns and make better, more comprehensive decisions. Dr. Winston is a longtime user of Palisade software and thought leader in the field of risk and decision analysis. In this interview, he explains how analytics can provide insights into supply chains, marketing, and financial data, and help cities, school systems, and hospitals better meet the needs of the public.

Watch the interview in LinkedIn Learning

Forecaster's Toolbox: How to Perform Monte Carlo Simulations


from Finance Expert Stefan Josefsson of Toptal


"One of the most important and challenging aspects of forecasting is handling the uncertainty inherent in examining the future," says Stefan Josefsson of Toptal Finance Experts. Joseffson has built hundreds of financial and operating models for LBOs, startup fundraising, budgets, M&A, and corporate strategic plans. He says, "Oftentimes, comparing actual outcomes against projections provides an appreciation for how large the deviations between forecasts and actual outcomes can be, and therefore the need for understanding and explicitly recognizing uncertainty."

"Since adding Monte Carlo simulation to my toolbox in 2010, I have found it to be an extremely effective tool for refining and improving how you think about risk and probabilities," explains Joseffson. "I have used the approach for everything from constructing DCF valuations, valuing call options in M&A, and discussing risks with lenders to seeking financing and guiding the allocation of VC funding for startups. The approach has always been well received by board members, investors, and senior management teams."

In this article, Josefsson provides a step-by-step tutorial on using Monte Carlo simulation in practice by building a Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) valuation model in @RISK.

Read the Full Article

Schedule Risk Analysis

On-Demand Webinar: Schedule Risk Analysis using @RISK


Presented by Michelle Jackson


This webinar provides an introduction to probabilistic analysis, and shows how Monte Carlo simulation and other techniques can be applied to your everyday project schedule analyses. If you build schedules in Microsoft Project, Palisade solutions can almost certainly help you to make more informed decisions, right from your desktop. In this webinar, we explore some of the ways in which organizations are applying Palisade tools. From oil and gas, manufacturing and mining through to healthcare, defense and construction, @RISK enhances the decision making capabilities of some of the world’s most successful companies.

Watch the Webinar

Example Model: RiskTriang, RiskTrigen, RiskDoubleTriang Functions

The RiskTriang function is a simple and versatile function for modeling a continuous uncertain quantity that must be between specified minimum and maximum values. Its density function is literally a triangle, increasing from the minimum value to a peak at the most likely value and then decreasing to the maximum value. 

Although most probability and statistics courses never mention the triangular distribution, it is a favorite of simulation modelers.  This is because of its flexibility -- it can be symmetric or skewed in either direction -- and because its three parameters are easy for nontechnical people to understand and estimate.

» Download This Example Model

» See More Example Models



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Palisade Corporation

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Palisade Corporation is the world's leading provider of risk and decision analysis software and solutions. Founded in 1984, its products @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite are used by over 95% of the Fortune 100, in nearly every industry around the world. Palisade is headquartered in New York State, and has offices in London, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo.

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