The book that will lead the cam­paign­ing fundrais­ing revolution!

Fundrais­er Tanya Jack­son shares her review of Ken Burnett’s brand new book, The essence of Cam­paign­ing Fundrais­ing in 52 exhibits and 199 web links.

Written by
Tanya Jackson
May 16, 2021

The essence of Campaigning Fundraising in 52 exhibits and 199 web links is going to revolutionise fundraising. For years to come, this book will be acknowledged as the tool that gave fundraisers the confidence to move away from a target-driven mindset to one of truly inspiring donors to give.

Right now, this should be the first book given to a new fundraiser and everyone in the fundraising department needs to have a copy. They deserve to be given the key to Campaigning Fundraising

Not only will this book transform our donor’s experience of giving but it will instil a sense of pride in fundraisers, confirming that they have an essential role to play in society as a campaigning fundraiser. The author, Ken Burnett, has given donors, our causes, and fundraisers a true gift by writing this book.

Imagine! We might never have to ask some donors for money, ever again!

Burnett begins by clarifying why he believes that Campaigning needs to be as important as Fundraising to every fundraiser. It’s not about asking for money; fundraisers need to inspire donors to give to make good things happen. Both parties will benefit from this change of approach:

‘Understanding that our job is to inspire, not to cajole, persuade or plead, is utterly, liberatingly transformational for everyone of any age or level of experience who does this job, wherever they may be. It changes everything’.
‘The campaigning dimension is so central to why the donor is there. They’re not there to give us money. They’re there to make a difference, to change the world’.

To show us that this is not just a pipe dream, Burnett skilfully guides us through a journey of 52 exhibits and 199 web links to illustrate what we need to do to be successful campaigning fundraisers. The author is not suggesting that fundraisers won’t ever have to ask. Not at all. Just that it works much better if the donor’s commitment and enthusiasm drives the process, not pressure or persuasion from the fundraiser.

This is a very readable book full of humour and insightful comments. The content of each of the 52 exhibits is succinct and structured with QR codes and web links for more detail. Most of these links direct you to the website, which, once discovered, will continue to be your one-stop shop fundraising mentor!

The book is laid out in a style that makes it quick and easy to access specific information; perfect for every time-poor fundraiser. Need help with your regular giving programme? Flick straight to exhibit 20 and be inspired by ActionAid, Plan, Dogs Trust, and others. As Burnett says:

‘... the purpose of this book, quite simply, is to show you what you need, where to go to find it and how to get there in the shortest possible time’.

Burnett’s use of language makes it difficult to resist turning the page to the next exhibit with enticing titles such as: ‘storytelling that shook a nation’, ‘transformational campaigns’, ‘the irresistible proposition’ … Burnett’s skilled copywriting makes this book a joy to read!

Campaigning Fundraising inspires substantial donations

Campaigning fundraising may be a new term to us, but it seems that it’s not a new concept. 

In the section on ‘Lessons from history: where we’ve come from’, Burnett shows us how in the past, successful fundraisers worked as campaigners as well as fundraisers to achieve goals for their causes. A letter written by a Japanese monk over 800 years ago seeking to build a monastery in his homeland is still a brilliant guide on how to do fundraising by direct mail.

It’s obvious that we’ve a lot to learn from our fundraising past. For example, Burnett shares an appeal letter from the 1920s that achieved a response rate of 100 per cent! Moreover, exhibit 11 illustrates how just after the end of the Second World War in 1946, a huge, highly detailed campaign by the British Red Cross raised more than £500 million, which would be equivalent to around £7.7 billion in today’s money! 

The Campaigning Fundraising toolkit

Burnett guides you through the basic fundamentals of campaigning fundraising, including inspiring donors, building the dream, reciprocity, looking at opportunities in the right way, asking properly, and always having the essential foundations at the heart of everything you do. You’ll be reminded of the importance of the 34 fundamental foundations, the 11 pillars of fundraising wisdom and the five great assumptions that underpin effective fundraising.

Among the foundations of fundraising and campaigning, Burnett includes integrity, the role of trustees, understanding why donors give, and the importance of regular giving and legacies. Burnett saves us hours of searching on Google by including an exhibit on essential reading and the leading lights in fundraising who we need to learn from:

‘…the true sages can give you a shortcut or two, or at least a hand up’.

Thecase studies of creativity, innovation, and inspiration’ to help you be the best of the best are bursting with ideas! I’ll not drop too many spoilers but expect to read about the charity that had to stop fundraising because they were too successful, and a cold mailing that achieved a response rate of 40 per cent!

Communication is the Campaigning Fundraiser’s most important skill

In his exhibit on the power of words, Burnett tells us that:

‘... words are precision instruments capable of taking us directly to the hearts of our donors ...’

This advice was very timely recently when I was writing a cover letter to send out with our charity’s donor newsletter. I re-read my cover letter after completing the exhibit and added a few changes to make a better connection with our donors. I told them about the primary school child who had given her pocket money ‘to help the sick children’, about the man who couldn’t swim, but signed up (and completed) a triathlon to help support children with cancer … just little everyday examples of the overwhelming kindness of our donors. 

Those changes resulted in donations of over £30,000! It didn’t require any additional spend, I was simply telling our story better, just as Burnett recommends. 

Now I’m wondering what I could achieve if I implement the lessons from the other 57 exhibits! What might be possible if our CEO bought a copy of this book for all the fundraisers in my team and we all became Campaigning Fundraisers?

After finishing this book, you can’t help but experience the warm glow that we always aim to give our donors. Everything that Burnett talks about in this book feels right. It feels that Campaigning Fundraising should always have been what we did. 

The approach advocated by Burnett is evidently the only way forward and this book gives every aspiring campaigning fundraiser the toolkit they need to hit the ground running! 

© Tanya Jackson 2021

Get your own copy today!

For just £29.90 (plus P&P), you will receive a USB key with all the weblinks fully loaded, and £10 of the purchase price will be donated to SOFII. 

Don’t miss out, get your very own copy by clicking here

About the author: Tanya Jackson

Tanya Jackson started her career building customer loyalty in the private sector, firstly at Virgin Atlantic Airways and then British Airways. Her focus at both was to unlock consumer insights for mutually beneficial long-term relationships. Moving on to become a brand manager for Guinness Ireland, she developed and implemented their customer relationship marketing programme, which succeeded in winning an ECHO Award.  

Wanting to use her knowledge and skills from the private sector to help the not-for-profit sector, she joined Cancer Fund for Children as a fundraiser in 2019 and now works as their donor development manager, transforming their direct marketing.

Related case studies or articles

The essence of Campaigning Fundraising in 52 exhibits and 199 web links - get your copy today!

The essence of Campaigning Fundraising in 52 exhibits and 199 web links is the latest book by Ken Burnett, SOFII co-founder and managing trustee. Secure your copy for just £29.90 (plus P&P) today and £10 of your purchase price will be donated to The SOFII Foundation.

Read more

Ken Burnett’s archive on SOFII

Index to Ken Burnett's archive

START HERE! Click here for the full list of content with direct links to each article. For your convenience all content is grouped under headings: exhibits, case histories, stories, opinion pieces, techniques, books, videos and podcasts, plus additional material too. So dive in here, now.

Read more