Book, film and video reviews

Just the best books, films and videos, summarised, reviewed and recommended one by one by your peers, to help you to have a bookshelf that you can rely on, that contains only the best published works on fundraising to be found anywhere. Fundraisers will find here reviews of the cream of fundraising’s best books.

How we deal with data, why it matters and why we’ve really got to get this right, right now

by Ken Burnett

Access to and control of data is becoming more and more restricted, which will have serious repercussions on UK charities, so we need to get how we deal with data right - now. This is the realisation Ken Burnett came to after reading Steve MacLaughlin’s Data Driven Nonprofits and his conclusions are essential reading for all fundraisers. 

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Harold Sumption: the shy pioneer

by Joanna Culling

In this addition to SOFII’s Fundraising Legends series, Joanna Culling talks to Ken Burnett, who proudly shares the full text of Harold’s only published material – Yesterday’s trail-blazing and pointers for tomorrow

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Do you want to increase your fundraising income by spending a tenner?

by Laura Croudace

If you are looking for a fundraising mentor, you won’t go wrong with this book says Laura Croudace in her review of Rob Woods new work, The Fundraiser Who Wanted More.

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A simple equation, plus three big reasons to buy this book

by Craig Linton & Giles Pegram CBE

There are many good books on fundraising, says Craig Linton, but not many truly great ones. Retention Fundraising by Roger Craver of the Agitator is one of those books and is an instant classic. At its heart is the simple equation: retention + commitment = increased lifetime value. Read it, find the big reasons – and banish attrition forever.

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Do we really need another book on storytelling? Part 2

by Bethan Francis & Rory Green

Click here to see more thoughts and opinions on Ken Burnett’s Storytelling can change the world from Bethan Francis in the UK and Rory Green in Canada. Just a little trailer: you can’t make important change if you aren’t an expert teller of stories.

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Do we really need another book on storytelling?

by Charlie Hulme & Rob Woods & Joe Jenkins

An important new book about storytelling is given a special review from not just one, not just two but three of the UK's most eminently qualified reviewers.

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The six essential building blocks of fundraising success

by Roewen Wishart

A fundraising text from Australia is unusual, says Roewenn Wishart. Read his review of Yes You Can Fund It by Shannon Anderson, which he says is well worth reading whether you’re new to fundraising or an old hand.

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Advertising’s earliest genius and how he can help your advertisements to work better, predictably

by Claude Hopkins

You shouldn’t miss Claude C Hopkins’ new book.

Actually Scientific Advertising was first published 91 years ago, so new it really isn’t. But if its content is new to you, says SOFII’s reviewer, this concise classic can still teach you valuable lessons to improve your communication skills and enhance your career too. Hopkins was, by rather a long way, the highest paid advertising person of his generation. Find out why here

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Practical advice on how to make the most of social media

by Alisha Fernandez Miranda & Alissa Steiner

A practical guide to social media for charities and social enterprises, published as a free service for charities by Unity Trust Bank and Social Misfits Media, London. 

Reviewed for SOFII by PhD researcher Suay Melisa Ozkula.

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Which of our ads will work best, where, when and why?

by John Caples

‘I have seen one mail-order advertisement actually sell not twice as much, not three times as much but nineteen and a half times as much merchandise as another ad for the same product. Both were run in the same publication. Both had photographic illustrations. Both had carefully written copy. The difference was that one used the right appeal and the other used the wrong appeal.’



So said the legendary John Caples. Is that worth knowing? You bet. Read our review of a timeless fundraising classic here.

Reviewed for SOFII by Ken Burnett. 

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Major contributors to this section

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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Marie Burnett

Marie Burnett is director of The White Lion Press and a trustee of SOFII.

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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.

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