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Reviews of The Zen of Fundraising

In eZine 6, issue 18, ePhilanthropyFoundation.Org, USA, professor Adrian Sargeant wrote:

The Zen of Fundraising is classic Burnett, but unlike Relationship Fundraising it can sit neatly in your pocket to be thumbed on your travels or when there are a few moments to spare. The bite-sized chunks that comprise this text make it ideally suited to this purpose.

‘An odd title though? As Ken says in his introduction, the term Zen has come to mean “thoughtful wisdom and insights” and there are 89 of these “timeless ideas” in this text. No more than a page and a half is devoted to each so they come at the reader at quite a pace. Not all are new, extensions only of common sense, but it is always amazing how much of “common” sense turns out not to be common at all. Conference speakers, for example, have stressed the importance of thanking donors appropriately for as long as I can remember yet, as a donor, I’m frequently surprised at how few organisations manage to do this well. The Zen offers a number of suggestions for improvements here…

‘With 89 ideas there really should be something for everyone in this text. If you find just two or three of them to be worthwhile implementing, this little book will have paid for itself many times over.’







From the website of Nonprofit Charitable Organisations,, USA, Joanne Fritz wrote:

‘The Zen of Fundraising: 89 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop Your Donor Relationships by Ken Burnett is one of those little but powerful books that you will go back to over and over.

‘Ken Burnett is a well-known expert on fundraising and in this book he has employed the essence of Zen. A hallmark of Zen is “koans” or little parables that teach through stories, examples, and riddles.

‘Burnett doesn't make us solve any riddles, thankfully, but he does capture the heartfelt and wise quality of Zen with his little parables drawn from his own vast experience.

‘These bits of wisdom don’t seem obvious until you read them and then they do seem very obvious making you wonder why you didn’t think of that.

For instance, Burnett suggests that since we, as fundraisers, do not have unlimited resources, we must be choosy. He suggests that we focus on donors who really count. And who are those? A “real donor,” for Burnett, is someone who has given repeatedly over time. People who have only given once are “responders,” and not yet donors.

‘Burnett would use his resources to “ask fewer people for more money for better reasons.”

‘How commonsensical but profound is that? Such is the essence of Zen, and of Burnett’s book.

‘We loved this little book so much that we had to restrain ourselves from reprinting the whole thing right here.’