Fine writing for fundraising
Amnesty International: the pen pack
Amnesty needed a powerful and effective means of recruiting new donors to their great cause. This was it. This was, as far as we know, the first ever occasion when a free pen was included in an acquisition mailing, in the UK at least. This mailing was both brilliantly successful and started a trend that led to a flood of imitatorsView this exhibit.
Womankind Worldwide: donor recruitment mailing
This high quality direct mail package cleverly involves donors in delivering support and practical encouragement to a real individual.View this exhibit.
Amnesty International UK: press ads that shook a nation
These ads changed the political shape of Britain, raised social consciousness generally as well as concerns for human rights in particular.We do not have all the details about this campaign but SOFII decided to showcase it because we believe that every fundraiser wherever he or she works should be familiar with these ads and what they achieved.View this exhibit.
Bhopal Medical Appeal: press advertisements
On one awful night in 1984 the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India exploded sending clouds of poisonous gas across the city that would kill tens of thousands of people and inflict misery and suffering on future generations. Thus began the Bhopali people’s search for justice and treatment, which led to the founding of the BMA, whose advertisements have become the symbols of a crime that, more than 25 years later, still inflicts unimaginable suffering and still goes unpunished. The Bhopal Medical Appeal campaigns to change this, through its fundraising.View this exhibit.
How I wrote it – the classic Amnesty press ads
In this eight-minute video, legendary copywriter and author Indra Sinha reflects on the thinking behind some of the most poignant and affecting fundraising advertisements of all time. There are pearls of wisdom here for every enthusiastic communicator.View this exhibit.
‘The Last Word’: how copywriters can change the world.
A brilliant addition to the showcase of fine writing from acclaimed copywriter and author Indra Sinha.View this exhibit.
Twelve suggestions – and a bit more – to help you write effectively
No one ever felt more keenly about the English language than George Orwell. He was an enemy of cant in any form and particularly waspish about the abuse of English by politicians, bureaucrats and those in power generally. No one has ever rivalled the glittering common sense George Orwell offers us in Politics and the English Language, an essay written as long ago as 1946. I am happy to quote from it extensively because its succinctness has never been bettered.View this exhibit.
The customers always write
In 1983 George Smith was a revered columnist for the UK’s highly regarded Direct Response magazine. The first of the two articles featured here appeared way back then, shortly after the movie Chariots of Fire had come out, and was written as a direct result of one dreadful client meeting.
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UK fundraising’s premier wordsmith: George Smith
The master of asking properly and using words wisely.View this exhibit.
How I wrote it – the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s prospect letter.
In the second of a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Harvey McKinnon talks with Fergal Byrne about a fundraising letter he wrote for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Canada, in 2002. In this conversation Harvey tells how he wrote this letter and expands on his approach, paying special attention to the art and craft of writing and telling fundraising stories.View this exhibit.
The Bruce Barton letter: the classic long copy letter from 1925 that pulled a 100 per cent response
He sounds like the racy detective hero from a 1930s crime thriller. But Bruce Barton is something else, for sure – a great copywriter and communicator.View this exhibit.
Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy, from the 1940s.
Written between 1944 and 1960, the 22 letters in this series reputedly raised over US$2 million. Serious direct mail copywriters will study these letters carefully and will profit accordingly.View this exhibit.
Planned Parenthood Rhode Island: donor newsletter
PPRI used an already established newsletter formula since it has proved successful at bringing in extra revenue. may not be the very best newsletter in the world but it’s certainly a very good example of how to get this important communications vehicle right.View this exhibit.
David Ogilvy: A profile of the ‘father of advertising’
As a young fundraiser it never occurred to me to read or find out about David Ogilvy, but now, with a good dozen years under my belt, I realise what I’ve missed.View this exhibit.
A debt to the master
Part two of SOFII’s tribute to ‘the pope of advertising’, David Ogilvy.View this exhibit.
Dr Barnardo’s Homes: four fundraising greats from the distant past
Dr Thomas Barnardo was one of the Victorian era’s great philanthropists. These archive examples of his personal fundraising style and efforts are a unique treasure for the body of fundraising knowledge and best practice.View this exhibit.
Dr Barnardo’s Homes: how the death of Carrots led to a powerful slogan, from 1866
The death of a lonely young boy led Dr Barnardo to declare that the children’s homes that bore his name should never, ever close their doors to any child. A great example of fine writing combined with sincerity.View this exhibit.
The RNLI legacy letter
This letter raised £millions. It is a classic example of a direct appeal to supporters for information to help plan for future income. An example of a candid, plain-speaking, respectful letter to remind supporters that RNLI relies heavily on legacy income to fund their work.View this exhibit.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Christmas mailing in 1941
What an achievement for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s fundraisers during the Second World War, someone kept their mailing for 70 years.View this exhibit.
In search of baubles
Now, as part of SOFII’s continued commitment to fine writing we further celebrate the brilliance, wit and wisdom of George Smith with a series of articles taken from his last book, Up Smith Creek. We start with a seasonal article that first appeared in Professional Fundraising magazine in February, 1997 – and it’s just as relevant today.View this exhibit.
Sharing the unspeakable: the ultimate donation
The ultimate donation: When his family faced an unspeakable tragedy Ken Kesey, author of the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, found the strength and courage to write about it in intimate, personal terms, so creating a most moving, raw and inspirational piece of fine writing, a story so striking it’s sure to stay with you.View this exhibit.
Infantile musings: on the relationship between children and their grandparents
You’ll see a softer side of ace-curmudgeon George Smith when he announces he is about to become a grandfather. Though that doesn’t stop him from wondering why charities don’t make more of such joyous events. He says you should look at the greeting-cards industry, which rarely feels the cold wind of recession.View this exhibit.
A letter that parades fine thoughts with fine language
You’ll see a letter here that George Smith thought one of the best he’d ever read. No, he didn’t write it. But he wished he had.View this exhibit.
A strange, old-fashioned plea for respect
In this latest article George Smith doesn’t mean that all fundraising is nice and all advertising nasty. He does mean that advertising is generally pretty silly and that fundraising is pretty damned important. And we fundraisers would do well to dwell on the difference.View this exhibit.