Communications toolbox

How can you raise money for your organisation if no-one knows about the good work you do or the need for funds? In the SOFII communications toolbox you will find some great tools and advice to help you tell stories to your donors that will motivate them to give.

Brilliant donor care: 15 steps to make sure your organisation gets it right

by Jonathon Grapsas

Before I launch into some tangible ways to improve the way you deal with donors, let me preface this by looking at the current climate. Just how are charities in different parts of the world interacting with donors on a daily basis?

Read more

How I wrote it: the Amnesty pen letter

by Fergal Byrne & Karin Weatherup

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.

Read more

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

by Pauline Lockier

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.

Read more

In search of baubles

by George Smith

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.

Read more

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

by Fergal Byrne & Mal Warwick

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.

Read more

Changing the world is the only fit work for a grown man

by Fergal Byrne

Changing the world is the only fit work for a grown man: the story of Howard Luck Gossage, an adman who hated the ‘mad men’ and the hard sell campaigns they produced.

Read more

Is your newsletter great donor relationship-building, or an unwise self-indulgence?

by Tom Ahern & Sean Triner

Almost all nonprofits produce a newsletter and send it out with their warm appeals. But should they?

Read more

Ten tips to spur the creative grant proposal-writing process

by Pamela Grow

Pamela says: ‘Your final step should be a gracious letter to the foundation, thanking them for their time and their thorough review of your proposal. You’d be surprised at how few organisations take the time to thank the foundation.’

Read more

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

This was the newspaper advert used during the appeal.

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.

Read more

In-memoriam donation thank-you letter samples

by Lisa Sargent

These letters are part of Lisa Sargent’s thank-you letter clinic: How to write lively memorial donation thank-you letters.

Read more

Major contributors to this section

George Smith

A legendary marketing/fundraising guru and curmudgeon.

See all

Fergal Byrne

Fergal Byrne is a seasoned freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Financial Times, The Guardian and The EveningStandard. He’s been writing about finance and business for more than 20 years, but his main area of interest is now non-profits and charities. Contact Fergal here.

See all

Charlie Hulme

Charlie Hulme is managing director of DonorVoice. He helps charities uncover what, of all the things they do, improves the strength of relationships  and what is harmful. Partners see a massive improvement in performance, value and retention.

Voted top speaker at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention in 2013, he writes frequently for SOFII, 101fundraising, the Institute of Fundraising and many others.

See all