How I wrote that fundraising letter

SOFII has a collection of interviews and articles with leading fundraising copywriters that explains the inspiration and approach to the art of writing fundraising stories. Here's a few of them.

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January 19, 2016

How I wrote it: the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s prospect letter

By Fergal Byrne

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.

How I wrote it: the classic Amnesty press ads

By Indra Sinha

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

How I wrote it: why I owe my career to a sea turtle

By Fergal Byrne

The direct marketing agency, Lautman & Company had hired Richard Armstong to write what he anticipated to be a routine fundraising package for the Center for Environmental Education. It seems there was a problem developing on the beaches of Florida; bright lights from beachfront properties were distracting hatchling sea turtles on their way to the ocean, reducing their chances of survival. In response, the Center for Environmental Education created the Sea Turtle Rescue Fund.

How I wrote it: the Sharp HospiceCare conversion letter

By Fergal Byrne

In the first of this SOFII series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Fergal Byrne talks to Tom Ahern about a letter he wrote in 2002 for Sharp HospiceCare. Here Tom tells Fergal how he wrote this letter, explains his approach and takes us through the letter step by step.

Related case studies or articles

How I wrote it: the ActionAid iguana letter

In the third of SOFII’s series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Aline Reed, creative director at Bluefrog in London, talks to Fergal Byrne about a fundraising appeal letter that she wrote in 2005 for ActionAid, as part of their long-running mid-value donor programme. Here, Aline explains her approach to writing stories that move donors to action and takes us step by step through the letter.

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How I wrote it: the Starlight Children’s Foundation emergency appeal

In this, the fourth of a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Sean Triner talks with Fergal Byrne about a fundraising appeal letter he wrote on spec for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Australia, in 2009. In this conversation Sean tells Fergal how he wrote the letter and what really matters in making sure this kind of letter is a success.

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How I wrote it: Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s multimedia, email and video

So far in the ‘how I wrote it’ series, we have focused on the traditional form of campaigning. In other words, packages only using the written word. Here we look at a communication package that uses multimedia, email and video.

Here Jonathon Grapsas talks to Fergal about his work for the charity Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Jonathon is based in Australia where he works for a number of local charities.

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How I wrote it: the Sharp HospiceCare conversion letter

In the first of this SOFII series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Fergal Byrne talks to Tom Ahern about a letter he wrote in 2002 for Sharp HospiceCare. Here Tom tells Fergal how he wrote this letter, explains his approach and takes us through the letter step by step.

Read more

How I wrote it: the Amnesty pen letter

In this, the ninth in a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Karin Weatherup talks to Fergal Byrne about the legendary Amnesty pen letter she wrote for Amnesty International – the pack was Amnesty UK’s banker for 10 years or more and was copied or adapted by many Amnesty International sections around the world.

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How I wrote it: Jules Brown talks about the Women’s Aid fundraising letter

In Fergal Byrne’s seventh interview with leading fundraising copywriters, Jules Brown from New Zealand explains why he begins with a case study. ‘I immerse myself in the case study. For me, it forms the guts of what fundraising direct mail is all about.’ Click here to see the powerful case history he used in the featured letter that he wrote for Women’s Aid in Ireland.

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How I wrote it: the Salvation Army UK’s first large-scale cold mailing

In this, the fifth of a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Pauline Lockier talks to Fergal Byrne about a fundraising appeal letter written for the Salvation Army in 1990 which subsequently became their control for eight years. In this conversation Pauline tells Fergal how she wrote the letter and what really matters in making sure this kind of letter is a success.

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How I wrote it: Alan Sharpe’s War Child fundraising letter.

In this, the sixth of a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Alan Sharpe talks with Fergal Byrne about a fundraising letter written for Canadian charity War Child in 2011. During this conversation, Alan reveals the thinking that went into his letter and what really matters in making a letter a success.

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How I wrote it: Mal Warwick on his letter for the Union of Concerned Scientists

A new interview from Fergal Byrne gives a fascinating insight into a master fundraiser at work: Mal Warwick. In it he describes how he wrote the letter that, in one form or another, was used to recruit new supporters for the Union of Concerned Scientists in the USA over many years.

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How I wrote it: the NSPCC’s Simple pack

When Robbie Rae started working as a fundraising copywriter at the turn of the millennium, he felt that true masters of direct mail had perfected the art in all its form. Despite that, he thought that it was time to change the orthodoxy. Click here to discover how he wrote a hugely successful pack that did just that.

Read more

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

Read more

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.

Read more

How I wrote it: why I owe my career to a sea turtle

The direct marketing agency, Lautman & Company had hired Richard Armstong to write what he anticipated to be a routine fundraising package for the Center for Environmental Education. It seems there was a problem developing on the beaches of Florida; bright lights from beachfront properties were distracting hatchling sea turtles on their way to the ocean, reducing their chances of survival. In response, the Center for Environmental Education created the Sea Turtle Rescue Fund.

Read more

About the author: SOFII

The SOFII collection aims to be the most comprehensive, best organised, and most inspiring collection of fundraising related content from around the world.

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