The SOFII his­to­ry project part one: trea­sures from fundraising’s history

Wel­come to part one of SOFII’s his­to­ry project. Dive in to explore the best cam­paigns from antiq­ui­ty to the 20th century.

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April 17, 2019

Take a trip in time with SOFII to discover the great fundraising of before

To explore SOFII’s history project is to go on a journey through time. Part one will send you back to the dawn of civilisation, into medieval times and beyond to the enlightenment as we share case histories (literally!) from humanity’s forebears.

In part two we explore the great era of philanthropy: the Victorian times. Reacting to bloody wars and ever-changing living conditions, the great and the good of the 1800s pioneered many of the techniques fundraisers still use today.

And where would we be without those who went before us in the twentieth century? From David Ogilvy to Kenneth Leech, we are standing on the shoulders of giants, as the exhibits in part three aptly demonstrate.

As a special treat we bring you Bruce Barton’s fundraising letters for Deerfield Academy, all gathered in one place and the magic moments that saw the birth of some of the greatest charitable organisations on the planet.

Note: have we forgotten any of the giants of times gone past? If so, please e-mail with suggestions of campaigns or pioneers we should be including in our treasures from history.

Click here to return to the contents to view parts two and three.

1) From antiquity to the enlightenment: the best campaigns from way back when

The oldest campaign on SOFII: Moses raises funds for the tabernacle

Greeks, Romans and Egyptians: philanthropy in ancient times

The first ever major donor dinner: c. 970 BC

Fundraising from the very early Christian church with the Apostle Paul

Is this the oldest fundraising letter?

Pliny the Younger and the first appeal for matching funds, c. 100 AD

Moses Maimonides: the 90-degree shift, 800 years ago

Eihei Dogen’s fundraising letter from 1235

Magic moments: The founding of Cripplegate Foundation and North London Cares: over five hundred years of collaboration

How Harvard got its name: major gift fundraising in the seventeenth century

The Foundling Hospital Appeal, 1728-1745

Establishing the need for fundraising in 1788: The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade

2) Those generous Victorians

Great Ormond Street Hospital: legacy marketing 1856

Dr Barnardo’s Homes: four fundraising greats from the distant past

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

The pearly kings and queens and their fantastic fundraising

Charles Dickens shares how fundraising was viewed in the 19th century. An extract from Our Mutual Friend

‘Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.’: more wisdom from Charles Dickens

William Quarrier: the most determined fundraiser of all time?

A fundraising song bigger than Band Aid?: check out ‘The Absent-Minded Beggar’ by Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Sullivan

Fundraising for a timeless landmark: the Statue of Liberty

The Elephant Man: a fundraising success story from 1886

Britain’s first ever street collection from the RNLI, in 1891

A lesson in how to say thank you properly from over one hundred years ago

The amazing story of Octavia Hill and the National Trust

3) All change in the 20th century

How the suffragettes became one of the most successful brands ever

Fundraising in the First World War: fighting the good fight

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

Tank Banks: more sensational fundraising from the First World War

From the roaring twenties, a fantastic postcard to raise money for a legendary expedition.

Lessons for fundraisers from yesterday’s cigarette advertising

Albert Street Methodist Sunday School: the foot of pennies from the 1930s

RNLI: ‘stand behind these men’ press ad

A classic Christmas mailing by Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1941

Dr Barnardo’s Home: the home collecting box

UNICEF: the card that launched UNICEF’s fundraising

The Leprosy Mission: phial of sixpences, from the 1960s

‘The most important piece of dramatised documentary ever screened.’: learning from Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home

‘For God’s sake give us a pound’: a superb campaign from the Salvation Army in 1967

A brilliant letter from a trail-blazing genius: David Ogilvy in 1968

How one fundraiser wished he’d thought of David Ogilvy’s letter

Words of wisdom from ‘The Pope of advertising’

How the RNLI turned one fundraiser into a donor

ActionAid: the inserts with built-in reply mechanism

RSPCA’s pile of dead dogs advertisement

The gold standard of fundraising: the NSPCC’s centenary campaign. Part one: laying the foundations

The gold standard of fundraising: the NSPCC’s centenary campaign. Part two: exceeding expectations

A never bettered direct mail pack: Help the Aged: ‘you have this gift’

The Wishing Well campaign from Great Ormond Street: an incomparable appeal

The Harry Secombe soft sell legacy approach

The Bhopal Medical Appeal grabs every opportunity to tell good stories

RNLI: the legacy letter

Millennium magic: the NSPCC’s Full Stop campaign, a complete retrospective

4) Magic moments and the Bruce Barton letters

Rock band Queen don’t feature in this section, but we’re sure they’d love these stories.

Magic moments part one: how small beginnings inspire great causes

Magic moments part two: how some of the world’s best causes got started

Bruce Barton’s classic letter with a 100 per cent response rate

Deerfield Academy: Bruce Barton’s first and second letters

Deerfield Academy: letters three, four and five

Deerfield Academy: Bruce Barton’s letters six to eight

Deerfield Academy: Bruce Barton’s letters nine to eleven

Deerfield Academy: the letters from the fifties

Deerfield Academy letter 15: Bruce Barton’s words in 1951

Deerfield Academy: letters 16 and 17 from Bruce Barton

Deerfield Academy: letters 18 and 19 in 1956 and 1957

Deerfield Academy: letters 20 and 21 in 1957 and 1958

1960 - the last letter. Bruce Barton’s 22nd appeal

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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