Penelope Burk | About Us
Penelope Burk, Penelope Burke, Cygnus Applied Research, Cygnus, donor research, donor survey, nonprofit, research, speaking topics, keynote speaker, keynote presenter, presenter, donor analytics, benchmarking, donor retention, donor acquisition, consulting, consultant
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About Us

About Cygnus Applied Research, Inc.

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.

Our Team

Put the team behind Donor-Centered Fundraising to work for you

The same Cygnus team that conceived, developed, deployed, analyzed and interpreted the research behind Donor-Centered Fundraising can go to work for you, building customized donor research and fundraising plans to help you raise more money more quickly.
Penelope Burk


Jeff Dubberley

Vice President

As well as managing all of our client contracts, Jeff provides in-depth data analysis to all our research and client work. His ability to synthesize complex data patterns allows him to illuminate current and future trends in donor behavior for our clients, getting to the root of fundraising issues and clearly articulating potential. Jeff has worked closely on each of our past research projects and will continue to offer his comprehensive understanding of patterns in donor behavior to our upcoming planned giving research study.

Scott Koblyk

Director, Client Services

With ten years of fundraising experience in one of North America’s leading university advancement offices, Scott leads our team of client service associates. His capacity to envision goals and offer comprehensive strategies to reach those goals inspires our clients to maximize on the donor-centered opportunities in their organizations. When he’s not drafting reports and speaking with clients, he can most often be found on the golf course.

Theresa Horak

Director, Customer Relations

Theresa is the first point of contact for all our clients, customers and the media.  As a master multi-tasker she coordinates Penelope’s speaking engagements and media interviews.  She handles registrations for the Cygnus webinars and seminars as well as processes both local and international orders for Penelope’s publications Donor-Centered Fundraising, Donor-Centered Leadership and The Annual Burk Donor Research Study. Theresa enjoys travelling and playing her djembe drum.

Amanda Diletti-Goral

Partner Program Manager, Burk Donor Survey

IT & Data Analysis

With training in web design and marketing, Amanda adds color and style to all of our web and print materials, ensuring that our findings are presented in a way that is as compelling as the information itself. Also schooled as a pastry-chef, Amanda makes an absolutely sinful chocolate-raspberry-Chambord torte.

Haihong Wang, PhD

Research and Client Services Associate

Hai has extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative research.  With meticulous attention to detail and the ability to thrive under pressure, she transforms columns of complex data into logical and valuable information. Hai holds a Masters Degree in English Literature as well as a PhD in Sociology and contributes a unique perspective when crafting the survey questionnaires with our team of experts.  Hai enjoys spending her leisure time with her family.