I’ve been a huge fan of Penelope Burk since I first heard her speak not long after I arrived in the Canadian fundraising world. She was presenting to the Toronto AFP chapter her research on thanking donors and the impact of gratitude on donor retention (which became the landmark book, “Donor Centered Fundraising“).
Penelope is a great speaker and I was excited to hear her speak a year or two ago about her emerging new research on “Donor Centered Leadership.” The new book builds on her previous work, since her focus is how to build a functioning team that keeps the donor front-of-mind, which strengthens donor confidence and engagement. Early on she notes:
One out of every two donors who made charitable gifts in 2011 said they could have given more, but that they held back, waiting for nonprofits to get it right.
If that isn’t enough to make you sit up and evaluate the importance of good leadership, reduced turn over, and a strengthened profession, I don’t know what will. And, if you think this is a book only addresses hiring and retaining fundraisers, you are in for a surprise.
Through five years of research with more than 12,000 fundraisers, leadership volunteers and donors, Penelope dives into the real (seen and hidden) costs of staff turnover (or the desire for greater career mobility and/or compensation), the change in the fundraising landscape (“unfortunately the fundraising system that is in place today is better at making money than profit”), and how to attract, hire and hold on to good great talent (oodles of smart advice, including internal promotions, succession planning and keeping good talent engaged and happy).
This book will add to your understanding of the current issues (some call it a crisis) facing our profession, it will help you learn where to focus your energies in your daily work and strategic planning and help you to create a better team.