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The Zen of Fundraising: 89 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop Your Donor Relationships

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8314-7
180 pages
April 2006, Jossey-Bass
The Zen of Fundraising: 89 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop Your Donor Relationships (0787983144) cover image


If all that has ever been said and written about the art and science of fundraising could be distilled down to just what really matters—what fundraisers everywhere need to know—there would be only a small number of true gems deserving of the description, “nuggets of information.”

Leading international fundraiser Ken Burnett, author of the classic Relationship Fundraising, has identified and defined 89 such nuggets which he presents here as The Zen of Fundraising, a fun read, one-of-a-kind look into what makes donors tick and–more importantly–what makes them give.

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Table of Contents


All You Really Need to Know About Donor Relationship Development.

Chapter One: Playing Smart and Preparing for Action.

The Trouble with Fundraising; Plus 15 Things I’d Do If I Were the New Head of Donor Development.

Chapter Two: Right from the Start.

10 Concepts That Will Ensure Your Thinking Is Sound.

Chapter Three: Keep Revisiting the Basics.

19 Gold Nuggets: The Solid Foundations of Fundraising.

Chapter Four: Getting Your Messages Spot On: Appreciated, Understood, and Remembered.

14 Keys to Communications That Reach In and Grab Audiences.

Chapter Five: What’s Essential?

12 Important Things to Think of When Relating to Your Donors.

Chapter Six: What Underpins It All?

6 Vital Characteristics of the Effective Relationship Fundraiser.

Chapter Seven: What’s Next?

13 Things That Will Be Coming Your Way.


When It Comes to Saying Thank You, This Book Practices What It Preaches.

About the Author.

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Author Information

Ken Burnett is an international fundraising, marketing, and communications specialist. He is author of six other books and writes regularly for magazines, newspapers, and journals on both sides of the Atlantic on issues concerning international development, fundraising, and nonprofit governance.
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New to This Edition

Author Platform Burnett is one of the biggest names in fundraising.  World famous in the US and Europe, he is the first-choice plenary speaker at conferences around the world including, AFP and the International Fundraising Congress. He is a columnist for Contributions and Professional Fundraising and can get articles/interviews in all of the major nonprofit trades.

Track Record:  Burnett’s book Relationship Fundraising, which is for a higher level & smaller audience than the current book, has sold close to 11,000 copies in two editions.  The Zen of Fundraising is for a much broader, staff level audience and should substantially exceed these numbers.  

Smart, Witty, and Accessible Guide:  Burnett offers the 89 principles with wit and grace and applies 30 Zen principles to the art of fundraising. Can be read cover to cover in a couple of hours.

International Potential: Burnett speaks and consults around the world and has a strong European and Australian following.

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"Ken Burnett knows what donors want and how fundraisers can provide it. The Zen of Fundraising illustrates simple yet hard-earned lessons through which fundraisers can engage their donors as real partners, raising more money than ever. But to succeed, fundraisers need to aspire to greater levels of communication and donor engagement. This book shows us how"
—Chuck Longfield, founder and CEO, Target Software Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts

"The refreshingly brief principles provide inspiration and learning to anyone striving for exceptional fundraising practice."
—Nicci Dent, director of fundraising, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, Sydney, Australia

"A gentle blend of humour, personal experiences and practical examples (but underpinned by pure steel), this book makes the most compelling case yet for thinking seriously about donor relationships."
—Adrian Sargeant, professor of nonprofit marketing and fundraising, Bristol Business School, UK, Adjunct Professor of Philanthropy, Indiana University Center on Philanthropy

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