‘Who says that, in 2013, off-the-page donor recruitment can’t be massively profitable?’

Written by
Ken Burnett
Added
July 02, 2013

Though it’s just happened, the story below is about to become a piece of fundraising history, for it records a time just two weeks ago when something really significant happened.

The exhibit described here is the reason one of SOFII’s star speakers for the Once Upon I Wish I’d Thought of That event on 6 June was prevented from appearing on the big day. If you missed Indra Sinha at IWITOT 2013, here’s your chance to make up for it, in part at least. (Next, we’ll ask Indra to tell us the story he was prevented from telling that afternoon, Thank you for the days.)

For the moment at least Indra Sinha – in SOFII’s view the world’s greatest living fundraising copywriter – is still writing great ads and still pushing the boundaries of what can and should be said in the interests of truth and justice, to raise money for one of the world’s great causes, to help right one of the world’s great wrongs.

What follows below is Indra’s email to SOFII’s Ken Burnett following frantic phone calls on the day, to explain what really happened to prevent him from being with us on 6 June But first, read here the whole page press ad that caused the problems. Then, below, read what this ad achieved.

Download a PDF version of the ad here.

SOFII asks, is there any cause, anywhere, getting such a return from cold donor acquisition? Particularly, from a method and media so long since assumed to have had their day?

If so, please tell us here so we can share it with SOFII readers everywhere.

And if you are intrigued by Indra’s challenge to spot the paragraph that inspired the poet and/or to give your views as to why this ad worked so well, please post a comment (with your name please) below or email it to SOFII here. Thank you.

PS Now that his time with Bhopal Medical Appeal has come to an end Indra is threatening to set his copywriter’s pen aside, permanently. Which, we think, would be a great loss to effective fundraising. When Ken pressed him on this he said, ‘Well, if you know of any charity with a really interesting challenge, I could, just possibly, perhaps, be persuaded. But only the most interesting, mind…’

SOFII as you know is dedicated to encouraging fundraising creativity and to covering the most interesting challenges that fundraisers face. So we feel we’ll be doing everyone a favour by effecting an introduction to any charity who thinks they might have a challenging project worth putting to the man himself. Though we’re sure he’s neither cheap nor undemanding, we’re tempted now to say, ‘do yourself and the world a favour and brief Indra to write your next ad’.

But what you do with this is entirely up to you.

If you have a project you wish us to pass to Indra Sinha, send it to SOFII here.

About the author: Ken Burnett

Ken Burnett

Ken Burnett is author of Relationship Fundraising and other books including The Tiny Essentials of an Effective Volunteer Board (The White Lion Press Limited, London, UK) and The Zen of Fundraising, (Jossey-Bass Inc, San Francisco, USA). His latest – and in his view, most important – book is Storytelling can change the world, just published by The White Lion Press.

Ken is also SOFII's managing trustee.

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