Can Penelope Burk predict the future?

Do you know Penelope Burk?
I first found out about Penelope Burk when I was running a marketing agency that solely helped private sector companies (not nonprofits) back in 2009. I wanted to help one of my beloved charities generate more legacy gift leads at lower costs and the Director of Individual Giving recommended her book Donor-Centered Fundraising. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.
But, that’s not what I’m writing about today. Instead, I wanted to let you know that she has released her new study that will help you understand where philanthropy is headed. You can get it here.
2017 Burk Donor Survey2017 Burk Donor Survey
Don’t have time to read the whole thing? Here are some terrific nuggets I gleaned from the Executive Summary.
Sustaining gifts:
83% of Respondents with sustaining gifts are very or extremely satisfied with this form of giving. And, approximately 30% agreed that they are more likely to consider a major or planned gift to a not-for-profit they support through sustaining giving than to one that they donate to in other ways.
Donor advised funds:
Only 5% of Respondents qualified to respond to questions in this part of the survey, so findings are interesting but anecdotal. 86% of Respondents with DAFs have already made grants from their funds and most (69%) made their first grant(s) in the same year their DAFs were established. 54% of fundholders say they now give more generously to charity since establishing their DAFs and 44% give approximately the same.
More on donor advised funds:  
96% of fundholders continue to give directly to not-for-profits in addition to granting from their funds, which means that fundraisers still have an avenue by which they can communicate with these donors in order to interest them in making more generous contributions. Fundholders have suggested that better information on what their grants are accomplishing, designated (restricted) giving options and matching gift opportunities would inspire them to grant more generously.
Lastly, money on the table:
Among donors who gave $10,000 or more to charitable causes last year, 33% said they still could have given more.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Always remember that this research is based on survey responses (what I call ‘verbatims‘). But people don’t always do what they say and don’t always say what they’ll do. That’s why we help nonprofits capture donor digital body language too. That way, fundraisers get the whole story.


Related Posts:

>>How to Use Verbatims and Digital Body Language to Raise More Money
>>Too Much Talk About Donor Retention?

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Pete Hutton
Pete Hutton
6 years ago

Thanks for this reminder, Greg. Heard her speak some time ago in Richmond; all she had to do was just start talking and I was buying. She really knows her subject, a MOST important one, and she presents it well.

6 years ago
Reply to  Pete Hutton

Good to hear Pete. Hopefully someday I’ll get to hear her speak.

Penelope Burk
6 years ago

Greg, you are right to be cautious about what donors say they are going to do. In the same study that you so kindly referenced in this blog (thank you), we ask a series of questions about how donors intend to give over the next year. We have been conducting this survey since 2009, asking the same group of questions and building an increasingly informative trends line. But, we don’t know until the next year when we consult Giving USA’s important study on how donors gave the previous year, whether or not our donors have provided us with accurate predictions. So far, our data has come within 5% of what Giving USA finds, which is heartening. Our 2017 survey was conducted in February and March, prior to the very recent natural disasters, so even though donors are predicting a substantial increase in their giving intentions this year (largely politically motivated), their projection may still be understated. We’ll have to see.

6 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Burk

Thanks so much for the insight Penelope!

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