The Burk Donor Survey 2017




The 2017 Burk Donor Survey is the eighth annual research project studying Americans’ philanthropy and, specifically, how fundraising practices and beliefs affect the financial wellbeing of not-for-profit organizations. The study is designed by author, researcher and fundraising expert, Penelope Burk, and published by her Chicago-based company, Cygnus Applied Research, Inc. The Burk Donor Survey charts changes in giving year-to-year as well as how donors intend to give in the coming twelve-month period. Most important, each edition of the Survey features an investigation of donors’ opinions about certain fundraising themes and issues that impact philanthropy so that Development professionals and not-for-profit leaders can adjust their practices to meet donors’ changing needs and preferences.


Some highlights of the 2017 Burk Donor Survey:

  • The top three ways to inspire donors to give more generously this year;
  • How to satisfy the majority of donors who research charitable organizations before making giving decisions;
  • Why middle-age donors support far fewer causes than do older donors and how this impacts your fundraising strategy;
  • Why a surprising number of donors decided not to give to a cause last year after visiting its website;
  • How to structure truly rewarding volunteer experiences;
  • How to get the best people to serve on your Board;
  • How social media has changed fundraising in the last five years;
  • How to focus your social media strategy to sustain followers’ interest;
  • Why the majority of alumni have never given to their university or college;
  • How to convert non-giving alumni to active donors;
  • The hidden potential among young donors and how to position your organization for success with the next generation of philanthropists


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