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.

How I wrote it: Alan Sharpe’s War Child fundraising letter.

by Fergal Byrne & Alan Sharpe

In this, the sixth of a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Alan Sharpe talks with Fergal Byrne about a fundraising letter written for Canadian charity War Child in 2011. During this conversation, Alan reveals the thinking that went into his letter and what really matters in making a letter a success.

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The first big lesson in fundraising copy

by Margaux Smith

Margaux Smith, a new and enthusiastic fundraising copywriter, tells us how hard she struggled at first. Her love of fundraising compelled her to persevere until at last she heard: ‘Perfect!’ She must have felt just great.

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What would Steve Jobs do at your Nonprofit?

by James Read

James Read, creative director and copy chief at Grizzard asks, ‘What would Steve Jobs if he were CEO of your nonprofit?’ Wow your donors, obviously, but what else?

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How I wrote it: the Starlight Children’s Foundation emergency appeal

by Fergal Byrne & Sean Triner

In this, the fourth of a series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Sean Triner talks with Fergal Byrne about a fundraising appeal letter he wrote on spec for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Australia, in 2009. In this conversation Sean tells Fergal how he wrote the letter and what really matters in making sure this kind of letter is a success.

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The Fundraising Cycle: the shortest book on fundraising, ever

book cover

by Redmond Mullin

Great tips on all you need to make fundraising complete.

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We can boost donor retention. But only if we get smart

The leaky bucket

by Chuck Longfield

Chuck Longfield created a SOFII classic with his last interview Data is Gold, providing SOFII readers with free access to real fundraising gems hidden within their donor files. Today SOFII enthusiastically adds part two, an in-depth conversation with Chuck that draws out five more golden nuggets of smartness.

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Twelve suggestions – and a bit more – to help you write effectively

by George Smith

No one ever felt more keenly about the English language than George Orwell. He was an enemy of cant in any form and particularly waspish about the abuse of English by politicians, bureaucrats and those in power generally. No one has ever rivalled the glittering common sense George Orwell offers us in Politics and the English Language, an essay written as long ago as 1946. I am happy to quote from it extensively because its succinctness has never been bettered.

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How I wrote it: the ActionAid iguana letter

by Fergal Byrne & Aline Reed

In the third of SOFII’s series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Aline Reed, creative director at Bluefrog in London, talks to Fergal Byrne about a fundraising appeal letter that she wrote in 2005 for ActionAid, as part of their long-running mid-value donor programme. Here, Aline explains her approach to writing stories that move donors to action and takes us step by step through the letter.

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How I wrote it: the classic Amnesty press ads

by Indra Sinha

In this eight-minute video, legendary copywriter and author Indra Sinha reflects on the thinking behind some of the most poignant and affecting fundraising advertisements of all time. There are pearls of wisdom here for every enthusiastic communicator

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How I wrote it: the Sharp HospiceCare conversion letter

by Fergal Byrne & Tom Ahern

In the first of this SOFII series of interviews with leading fundraising writers, Fergal Byrne talks to Tom Ahern about a letter he wrote in 2002 for Sharp HospiceCare. Here Tom tells Fergal how he wrote this letter, explains his approach and takes us through the letter step by step.

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Major contributors to this section

George Smith

A legendary marketing/fundraising guru and curmudgeon.

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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.

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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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