Ken Burnett, Blogger on 101fundraising

Even for a charity there’s no such thing as a free lunch

By Ken Burnett • July 17, 2014

Even for a charity there’s no such thing as a free lunch

At least, not without some reciprocity.
I love people who do pro bono work. They offer their skills free of charge for something they believe in. They will inherit the earth.
My younger son Charlie, who’s just completed his training as a human rights lawyer, used to work pro bono on Fridays …

A debt to the master

By Ken Burnett • April 28, 2014

A debt to the master

How ‘the pope of advertising’ helped lay the foundations of my professional life.
by Ken Burnett
When the advertising and communications agency that I founded in 1982 opened its doors for business, its proprietor 
– me – would most likely be found sitting on the front doorstep of the terraced Victorian house …

The donor pyramid is no panacea

By Ken Burnett • March 24, 2014

The donor pyramid is no panacea

But claimed demise of fundraising stalwart is ‘greatly exaggerated’.
The opening several weeks of 2010 have seen all sorts of opinions bandied about the blogosphere by the fundraising chattering classes. The focus of their concerns this time has been the merits, or otherwise, of that fine institution, our old friend the …

Facing our deepest, darkest dread

By Ken Burnett • February 6, 2014

Facing our deepest, darkest dread

Fundraising and the purgatory that is public speaking. Particularly when it goes wrong.
This feature is somewhat longer than most, though as you’ll see, there is a reason. All this happened a few years ago, yet the memory of it is etched so painfully upon my mind that I fear now …

Bring back the indispensable guard book

By Ken Burnett • September 16, 2013

Bring back the indispensable guard book

The one thing we didn’t guard well was the treasured book itself.
There’s a lot that I recall with affection from my first fundraising job. But one thing I remember particularly fondly – the good old guard book. And not just because its content was so valuable. I loved its name, …

10 Essentials of an Effective Volunteer Board

By Ken Burnett • July 11, 2013

10 Essentials of an Effective Volunteer Board

Prepare for the Fundraising Trustee
Not long after the start of the current great recession a bright young man from deep inside the British Government came to see me, to talk about how volunteer boards in the UK might be strengthened and improved. He told me that scheduled government cuts mean …

Fundraiser, are you too busy to change the world?

By Ken Burnett • May 23, 2013

Fundraiser, are you too busy to change the world?

I wonder if, like me, you sometimes feel this modern world is going just too fast? Perhaps, as I am, you’re increasingly coming to doubt that the many technological advances of our times are actually making our lives easier and better, like they promised they would? By any chance, does …

Is direct mail finally dead?

By Ken Burnett • March 7, 2013

Is direct mail finally dead?

And is this the right question?
 
Of course we should question everything and assume nothing. But the questions fundraisers ask at times miss the point, sometimes by several miles. Like the perennial, ‘how long should a letter be?’, we will often find the answer to our most fundamental questions  just by …

A reminder about making rice and similar fundamentals

By Ken Burnett • January 10, 2013

A reminder about making rice and similar fundamentals

Why once a year at least we should all revisit the basics of our trade.
 
I remember being told, a while ago, that you don’t get to be a martial arts black belt by practicing 14,000 different moves, you get to be a black belt by practising just 14 moves, 1,000 …

Fundraising on the edge

By Ken Burnett • November 15, 2012

Fundraising on the edge

Just because they make verbs out of intuition and alchemy doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re about.
 
I’m sitting in a circle of nine apparently sane people at a beach resort just outside San Diego, California and I’ve just been passed the talking stick. As I grasp its fur-covered handle …

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