The 2021 Burk Donor Survey Report

This is Cygnus’ eleventh annual survey on how donors are managing their philanthropy in changing times. Developed and authored by researcher and fundraising expert, Penelope Burk, The 2021 Burk Donor Survey is a thorough analysis of how 20,000 American donors gave in 2020 and their plans for managing their philanthropy going forward. Not surprising, the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and Presidential election issues had a significant impact on giving with a record-setting 56% of donors saying they gave more money in 2020 than in the previous year. But the big question for fundraisers is, “Can that generosity be sustained or will donors quickly return to previous giving levels?”

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Here are just a few highlights of The 2021 Burk Donor Survey and why this report is so important for not-for-profit leaders and fundraisers:

  • 63% of donors surveyed made at least one COVID-19-related gift in 2020 and one in four donors (one in two under the age of 35) directed their biggest pandemic contribution to a not-for-profit they had never supported before. But most first-time donors never give again to the same cause that won their support. How can fundraisers retain those new donors more successfully?
  • The pandemic was urgent and compelling, inspiring donors to step up like never before. But, for how long can their passion and commitment be sustained? How can fundraisers capture COVID-19 donors’ imagination and refocus their attention on other priority needs?
  • Almost half of young donors admitted they could have given more last year than they actually contributed. What do fundraisers need to know in order to steward this under-the-radar demographic into a new level of giving?
  • 38% of donors participated in at least one virtual fundraising event in 2020. How the best ones made money while making donors forget about spending even more time in front of their computer screens.


The 2021 Burk Donor Survey report contains…

  • Over 75 pages of statistical findings from Cygnus’ national survey of more than 20,000 American donors
  • 40+ graphs and charts depicting how donors gave last year and their plans for giving going forward
  • Compelling quotes and stories from donors about being philanthropic in a changing world
  • 30+ recommendations by renowned author, researcher and fundraising futurist, Penelope Burk, on how to use this research evidence when planning your fundraising strategy for 2021.

Who is The Burk Donor Survey Report written for?

  • Directors of Development and other Fundraising Leaders
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Managers of individual fundraising programs
  • Board members responsible for fundraising
  • Fundraisers in any capacity who want to maximize job performance and position themselves for career advancement

Please note: This is an electronic PDF file. You will be granted access to the file in an email confirming your purchase.