Pare­to Fundrais­ing: Sean’s auto­mat­ed out-of-office email message

Exhibited by
Ken Burnett
September 30, 2014
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
August 2014

SOFII’s view

Sean Triner is co-founder of the Pareto Group of companies. He has dedicated his career to developing, testing and refining fundraising strategies with some of the world’s most successful and influential causes. Sean was a pioneer of face-to-face fundraising as well as of data-driven hyper-personalisation in direct marketing. He’s a frequent contributor to SOFII so his earlier works can be seen by clicking the links below.

While emailing Sean to encourage further contributions to SOFII we received an automated bounceback from him, as at the time he was travelling in parts foreign. We felt the idea within this simple administrative necessity was so good and filled with such useful advice that we had to share it immediately with SOFII’s readers.

For Sean’s inspirational out-of-office message, see below.

If there are any other bright sparks out there with similarly quirky and useful advice in an unusual format that they fancy sharing on SOFII, please email Carolina today. We want to hear from everyone with an interest in fundraising – consultants, hands-on fundraisers, back office professional, whatever. If it’s useful and inspirational, all are welcome to share on SOFII.

Special characteristics

The nuggets of free information in Sean’s bounceback are actually borrowed from another blog (see link below) by Katya Andresen, who in turn was inspired to write on the theme by the great Fraser Green, from Canada.

But that’s not the point. What Sean has done here is to take a dull administrative necessity and turn it into something fun and enlightening. And we can all borrow from that.

Here’s Sean’s bounce-back message

Automatic reply: an opportunity for you to share in the launch of SOFII, version 3

Hi. Please read on if you are interested in fundraising...
First - the out of office bit: I am out of office this week visiting lots of projects in East Timor. Lots of consulting when I get back, so please SMS after 24 August if you need me to get to your email soon, or if someone else (listed below) couldn’t help you.
Though I am trying to keep on top of them here, the internet is very, very, very, very slow!

In the meantime, if you are looking at any fundraising copy at the moment, make sure these words are not in it!

1. Capacity
2. Empower
3. Enhance
4. Indigenous
5. Partnership
6. Development
7. Systemic
8. Community
9. Innovation
10. Superlative
11. Outcomes
12. Support
13. Sustainable
14. Resources
15. Dignity
16. Facilitate
17. Diversity
18. Fostering


So, who to contact in my absence? If you are a client, please contact your account team or Emma Vincent. If you are interested in Pareto's work then please contact If it is about benchmarking then is the person you need to email!



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