Cygnus Applied Research, Inc. is a research-based fundraising consulting firm serving the not for profit sector. The company is led by President, Penelope Burk, a renowned author, speaker and fundraising futurist. In 1997, Cygnus began to explore a new research concept. Seeking to answer the questions, “What do donors want?”, “What would inspire their sustained loyalty?”, and “What would increase giving sooner?”, Cygnus produced two landmark studies that redefined customer service in fundraising from the donor’s perspective. This research challenged many ingrained beliefs and practices and grabbed the attention of the fundraising industry.
Today, Cygnus is recognized as the innovator of one of the most important modern-day fundraising philosophies, Donor-Centered Fundraising. The company’s training programs and client services are devoted to helping professional fundraisers, managers and leadership volunteers adopt a donor-centered way of doing business. As well, Cygnus continues to conduct new, meaningful research aimed at encouraging philanthropy and improving fundraising performance.