Master fundraiser Ken Burnett just wrote an eloquent article regarding the ‘evidence’ supporting making the ‘donor experience’ the cornerstone of fundraising.

Is fundraising an art or a science? And is this a useful question? he asks. Indeed, as it turns out, Ken’s mystified that there’s actually debate on the matter. He observes …

“Of all the distractions that get in the way of fundraisers consistently delivering a better donor experience, arguing about whether fundraising is an art or a science is among the most futile.”

But nevertheless he digs into issues of ‘art’ versus ‘science’, ‘knowledge’ versus ‘evidence’, and trusting ‘experience’ when it comes to grounding fundraising strategies.

At the end, after putting aside a heap of cow-pies, he concludes simply: “Putting the donor experience at the heart of fundraising strategies is unquestionably the right thing to do.”

Amen to that.

Early in his article, Ken cites another piece he wrote about the first thing he would do “If I were the new head of donor development.” His answer: “I’d aspire to be the most learned fundraiser of my generation.”

What would your answer be?


P.S. Ken actually listed 15 things he would do if he were made the new chief. You can read the full list in two parts here and here. #15: “Finally, I’d give a little bit extra … To stand out, you have to be outstanding.” Amen again!

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This article was posted in: Donor Centricity, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Fundraising analytics / data, Fundraising philosophy/profession, Innovation, Nonprofit management, Research, Starting Over.
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