decorative image of PenelopeBurk_900 , Auto Draft 2019-11-06 08:33:26 Published: 11-06-2019

By Troy Moon, Pensacola State College

Penelope Burk literally wrote the book on fundraising. Actually, she’s written a few.

The nationally-recognized fundraising consultant and researcher brought her decades of experience to the inaugural Nonprofit Center For Excellence and Philanthropy at Pensacola State Summit on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 on the Pensacola campus.

“We’re going to talk about a concept called “donor centered fundraising,” said Burk, who recently released a new edition of her book, “Donor Centered Fundraising.”

“It comes out of research we’ve done for years on what keeps donors giving loyally and more generously over time. In other words, what makes more money?”

Representatives from area nonprofit organizations attended the event, hoping to gain insight and tools on how to better attract and keep donors to help support their works.

PSC NPC Nonprofit Summit

The PSC Nonprofit Center presented the first Nonprofit Summit, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Posted by Pensacola State College on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

“It’s really important to keep in contact with your donors and let them know they’re important to you,” said one of the attendees, the Rev. Sylvia Tisdale, pastor of Epps Christian Center, a Pensacola ministry that feeds and clothes the homeless.

“We’re trying to raise funds for what we do, but it’s not always easy, though we’ve had a lot of help in this community. I’m learning a lot. You need to keep your donors informed on how their contributions are working.”

Besides Burk, other speakers at the summit included Marie Claire Walther and Michelle Buchanan, both of Dini Spheris, a Texas-based fundraising consulting firm; Pensacola State College’s Debbie Douma, Dean of Grants and Federal Programs; and Chuck Loring, senior partner of the Indianapolis-based nonprofit consulting firm Loring, Sternberg & Associates, who warned those in attendance that any challenges currently faced in fundraising could get even tougher.

Loring said that last year, when adjusted for inflation, charitable giving nationwide went down.

“That’s not a good sign,” he said. “If you think fundraising is competitive now, check back with me in five years because it’s going to get more competitive.”

Want more?

The Nonprofit Center For Excellence and Philanthropy at Pensacola State College hosts workshops throughout the year.

The next workshop is Thursday, Nov. 21, and its focus will be “Donor-Centered Proposals & Presentations.” Cathy Brown from The Fund Raising School ─ Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis will conduct the workshop.

Workshop fees are $75 per person. Sessions run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Register at

Details: 850-484-1560.