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Ken Burnett

Ken Burnett is an author, lecturer and consultant on fundraising, marketing and communications for nonprofit organisations worldwide. After an early career in publishing Ken was UK director of ActionAid from 1977 to ’79 and director of fundraising and communications there from 1981 to ’83. After that he founded the influential Burnett Associates agency, the first company of its type in Europe. For two decades Burnett Associates produced some of the most original, donor-focused and effective communications campaigns to be found anywhere. This tradition continues with the Burnett Works agency. And after a long gap Ken is working with them again now. In the recent past he has worked closely with several other communications and marketing agencies in the UK, Australia, North America and India. Ken is partner in the transformational development consultancy Clayton Burnett Limited, a director of specialist publishers The White Lion Press Limited and is currently working with fundraisers worldwide to build and develop SOFII, the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration.

Ken has served on several non-profit boards. He recently stepped down after completing 13 years (with a one year break) as trustee of the international anti-poverty NGO ActionAid, ultimately as an independent trustee of ActionAid International, of which he is a founding board member. Ken was chairman of ActionAid from 1998 to 2003, is a former vice chair of The UK’s Institute of Fundraising and is a former trustee of BookAid International and the International Fund Raising Group (now The Resource Alliance). At the end of 2011 Ken was appointed to the Finance and Funding committee of ActionAid International. Ken is a fellow of the Institute of Fundraising and an honorary fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing. In the recent past he has contributed numerous articles for parts of Guardian Newspapers Group, including Guardian Weekly, The Guardian Unlimited/Society Guardian website and also other magazines and websites, and for many years he was a regular contributor to the US journal Contributions. Ken is author of the worldwide best seller Relationship Fundraising, its sequel Friends for Life: Relationship Fundraising in Practice, How to Produce Inspiring Annual Reports (with Karin Weatherup), Tiny Essentials of an Effective Volunteer Board and The Zen of Fundraising. All of his books can be found here, or on the White Lion Press website. Ken’s first non-fundraising book, The Field by the River, was published in July 2008 by Portico books, an imprint of Anova, to high critical acclaim. A paperback edition of this book was published in 2009, Kindle in 2013.

Ken is a member of the Editorial Advisory Council for Advancing Philanthropy Magazine, the journal of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, in the United States and for a while served on the editorial advisory group of The Raiser’s Ask magazine in South Asia (from Bangalore, India).

In 2007 Ken Burnett was recipient of Professional Fundraising magazine’s ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award (click here to download PDF) and the UK Institute of Fundraising’s ‘Lifetime Contribution’ award.

In 2010, with friend and long-time business partner Alan Clayton, Ken set up the transformational coaching, consulting and creativity company Clayton Burnett, now renamed as Revolutionise. Revolutionise offers its clients a little bit of magic, the extra something that makes individuals and organisations excel. In a poll of readers of the UK magazine Fundraising in July 2011 Ken Burnett was voted to be the most influential individual in British fundraising.

In November 2012 Ken Burnett was elected to be an independent trustee of the UK Disasters Emergency Committee, with a specific remit for fundraising. Towards the end of 2013 he was appointed to the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing, as a commissioner.

Ken's latest book, Storytelling Can Change the World, will be published in August 2014. For WLP’s advance publication offer, click here.

When not travelling on behalf of clients or giving seminars Ken spends his time between Scotland (for Clayton Burnett), rural France and London. So he’s easiest to contact by email, at You can follow Ken on Twitter @kenburnett1

November 2013


To review or buy any of Ken’s books click on the image above.

‘It pays to cultivate the art of seeing the invisible.’
Jonathan Swift

‘Tales are related in a fabulously human way with wit, honesty and a touch of sarcasm, as if by a friendly uncle chatting with those with whom he’s at most ease.’

From the numerous reviews of Ken’s books that you’ll find here.

The Inchnacardoch Lodge Hotel, Loch Ness, where Revolutionise
(formerly Clayton Burnett) host their transformational seminars.

Two of Ken’s books are featured in this new compilation from the USA
of Books that changed my life. Click the image to download.