Penelope Burk | What Is Donor-Centered Fundraising®?
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
page-template-default,page,page-id-23,page-child,parent-pageid-8330,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,boxed,qode-theme-ver-2.4,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12.1,vc_responsive

What Is Donor-Centered Fundraising®?

Donor-Centered Fundraising is an approach to raising money that inspires donors to remain loyal longer and give more generously. It is easy to understand; it focuses on the things that make fundraising profitable; and it comes from donors themselves.


Donor-Centered Fundraising fulfills a donor’s three essential requirements:

  • receiving prompt and meaningful acknowledgement whenever a gift is made;
  • having the gift assigned to a specific program, project or initiative more narrow in scope than the mission of the not-for-profit;
  • receiving a report, in measurable terms, on what was accomplished with the last gift before being asked for another.


Comparing Traditional with Donor-Centered Fundraising


In Penelope Burk’s Annual Donor Survey (2014), she asked 22,000 donors whether they would give again and give more generously if they received a donor-centered approach. This table compares their responses with existing loyalty and gift value statistics in typical fundraising.


The Donor-Centered Difference


Donors feel nothing when they receive poorly timed, stiff and impersonal acknowledgements for the gifts they make; but their hearts soar and their wallets open upon reading prompt, thoughtful and original thank-you notes that express the sincere gratitude of the writer.

Donors are frustrated by solicitations that ask forcefully for money while providing no specifics on why it is needed; but they respond without hesitation, making it possible for not-for-profits to reach astounding goals, to campaigns that have clear and measurable objectives.

Most of all, donors lament that reporting after the fact, if it happens at all, rarely includes accountability for how their contributions were spent and what was achieved; but, when this information is provided to donors, they are ready to give again almost immediately.


Donor-Centered in Changing Times


Today, over 90% of donors stop giving to causes they once adopted, and most of them do so before their giving has become profitable. Donors are abandoning not-for-profits that over-solicit and which spend too much money raising money. But, in spite of their frustration with certain aspects of modern-day fundraising, donors remain deeply connected to their philanthropy. And, they are willing to stay loyal and give even more generously to causes that meet their straight-forward requirements. Donor-Centered Fundraising represents all that donors want, and it is the formula for raising more money in a changing donor environment.