Penelope Burk | SYNOPSIS
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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Donor-Centered Fundraising takes an objective look at the way fundraisers manage donor communication from the moment a first gift is received, backing up its analysis with data and real-life anecdotes gathered from over four hundred research subjects. In clear language, the book provides specific information on what does and does not influence donor retention, increase donors ‘ desire to give more generous gifts, and influence the pace at which donors maximize their generosity. Among the wealth of findings and recommendations in this book, readers will learn:

  • the three things that donors want more than anything else and how getting them consistently will influence their longevity and generosity
  • the best ways to say ‘thank you’ through written and verbal communication
  • that donors have more money to give but are holding it back until fundraising adjusts its practices to be more “donor-centered”
  • the pitfalls of our traditional approach to donor recognition and communication

The remainder of the book is dedicated to demonstrating how true donor-centered fundraising can become a reality within any organization, regardless of size or focus.

Donor-Centered Fundraising covers everything concerning gift acknowledgment, communication and donor recognition. Here are some of topics/issues addressed in the research and the book:

  • what motivates some donors to stay loyal long term while most become attrition statistics
  • why donors stop giving
  • superior gift acknowledgment from the perspective of donors themselves
  • donors views on public recognition and its effect on gift value and longevity
  • the role of email in donor communication
  • do donors distinguish between membership and philanthropic giving?
  • what, when and how should information be communicated to donors to ensure their continuing loyalty?
  • how the majority of not for profits acknowledge gifts and why change is warranted
  • not for profits ‘ views on the value of publishing donors’ names
  • donors ‘ opinions on having their names published in publications and on donor walls, including their views on listing names by gift value or in gift clubs/levels
  • donor recognition events – what donors like and don ‘ t like about them
  • donor relations staff – should stewardship be assigned to specific staff or should donor relations be the job of everyone in fundraising?
  • the unique power of volunteers to influence donor retention and significantly higher gifts
  • shaping a new role for leadership volunteers in donor communication and acknowledgment
  • the discrete sensibilities of corporate donors and sponsors concerning public recognition
  • cost-per-dollar raised and its influence on donor behavior
  • donors ‘ impassioned reaction to token and incentive gifts, certificates and plaques


Donor-Centered Fundraising is written specifically for professional fundraisers who want to raise more money from existing donors, halt donor attrition and set their business on a new course that will bridge the gap between the demand for and availability of philanthropic funds.

To order the book, please click here.