Fundraising archive

Fundraising has been around ever since people started to help each other. So examples of inspirational, instructive and innovative fundraising inevitably go back many centuries. But our records and record-keeping have not been all they should be. In this section SOFII aspires to display and describe the history of fundraising.

  • Treasures from the twentieth century
  • Wonders from history
  • The second oldest profession: fundraising from the dawn of time

Fundraising in the First World War: how the fundraising ground force made a difference

by Tony Charalambides

Asking someone in your immediate vicinity for monetary help is as elementary as fundraising gets. More often than not, it’s as effective as it gets too – which is why it pops up throughout history. Fundraising during the First World War was no different. 

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Fundraising in the First World War: fighting the good fight

by Tony Charalambides

Fundraising and charitable volunteering is a rather under-reported component of Britain’s war effort during the First World Ward, says Tony Charalambides, but it had an enormous impact on its outcome.

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The National Trust: recruiting members by the millions

by Aline Reed

The story of Octavia Hill, an amazing fundraiser and co-founder of the highly successful and respected National Trust.

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The Bhopal Medical Appeal grabs every opportunity to tell good stories

by SOFII

How very perverse that Dow Chemicals should pay to snoop on organisations working in Bhopal.

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United Negro College Fund: David Ogilvy’s letter

Grand Central Station

by SOFII

Go back in time to meet one of the commuters who, in 1968, found this superb letter from David Ogilvy on the seat of the train taking him home to his comfortable New York suburb.

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Great Ormond Street Hospital: Christmas mailing, from 1941

GOSH pack enclosure

by Aline Reed

What an achievement for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s fundraisers during the Second World War, someone kept their mailing for 70 years.

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Harvard University: how Harvard got its name. Major gift fundraising in the seventeenth century.

Harvard College

by SOFII

The examples in this exhibit are almost 400 years old, yet it would seem that we are still making the same mistakes today when it comes to major gift fundraising.

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Help the Aged: ‘you have this gift’ direct mail pack

Letter

by SOFII

Both the text on the envelope and the incentive in this classic direct mail pack from the 1980s have been copied frequently.

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Dr Barnardo’s Homes: how the death of Carrots led to a powerful slogan, from 1866

Ten-year-old orphan Jim Jarvis shows Dr Barnardo where some of the homeless children are sleeping.

by SOFII

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.

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Deerfield Academy: Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters from 1960, letter 22

by SOFII

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to bring you all these letters from that master of direct mail letter-writing, Bruce Barton. But, as the infamous ‘they’ say, ‘all good things must come to an end’. Yes, this is the last SOFII has. But, of course, as they also say, ‘the glass is half full’, so maybe there are more out there that will find their way to SOFII.

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