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Six degrees of Ken Burnett

Howard Lake | 26 August 2008 | Blogs

Professional Fundraising editor Becky Slack recently wrote on her PF blog about how the ‘six degrees of separation theory’ could be applied to major donor fundraising.
Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone on the planet can find a pathway to anyone else through just five intermediate people – a friend (one degree of separation) of a friend (two) of a friend (three) of a friend (four) of a friend (five) knows the person (six) I want to reach (I can get to Sir Paul McCartney in three!).
The idea originated from an experiment in 1967 by American psychologist Stanley Milgram (which he called the Small World Experiment) but many people will know of this through the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon party game.
I reckon we should have our own fundraising version of this game, Six Degrees of Ken Burnett maybe, for when the conversation runs out at the bar at the International Fundraising Congress this year.
You have to get to Ken via working with someone who worked with someone who worked with someone who worked with Ken – in six or fewer moves.
Under my rules, all these are allowed:
• You worked with someone in a paid job
• You worked with someone as a volunteer (e.g. trustee or intern)
• You worked with someone in an agency-client relationship
• Any combination of the above.
I can get to Ken in two.