The Fundraiser’s Toolbox

You know that fundraising is hard work. To be successful you need to be well equipped to take on all its challenges. At SOFII, we thought you might like some help. So we’ve put together this fundraiser’s toolbox that we’ll be filling with essential examples, formats, articles, case studies, ideas and tips that we think every fundraiser should know about.

Fundraising ethics – raise more money while keeping your donors happy. What could be simpler? Part one.

by Ian MacQuillin

How do you know what is and isn’t ethical in fundraising? Ian MacQuillin of the Rogare think tank explores this complex issue in this first of two fascinating and timely articles.

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Tutorial 16: how to write in a warm personal style.

by Jerry Huntsinger

A professional writer knows that a letter must have more than technical exactness. Personality has to radiate through the words. But what kind of personality?

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Tutorial 17: write the way you speak: 10 suggestions.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Psycho-copy is not crazy copy. I’m not always sure how to communicate the deeper levels of a ‘warm and personal’ style to letter writers. Perhaps it has to be caught, rather than taught.

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Tutorial 18: magic words: the formula for success.

by Jerry Huntsinger

What do Shakespeare, the Bible, the Gettysburg Address and a successful fundraising letter have in common? Magic words. And what makes certain words magic? Their length. Any common word of five letters or less is magic. Therein lies a formula for success.

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Tutorial 19: master grammar and write for action.

by Jerry Huntsinger

As a writer, you need to understand the basic parts of speech – verbs, nouns, objects, adjectives, adverbs, articles, and so on. But you don’t have to worry about the structure of a sentence. Just remember that every sentence usually has a subject, a verb and an object. ‘The house is red’: article, subject, verb, object.

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Tutorial 20 - paragraphs: forget school English.

by Jerry Huntsinger

You were taught in school that a proper paragraph had a beginning, a middle and an end. It was a self-contained idea. And that’s true, when you write a school exam.

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Tutorial 21: ‘really, it just doesn’t sound like me’.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Once upon a time I wrote a letter for the president of a nonprofit organisation and I thought it turned out rather well – that is, until she sent me this crisp critique: ‘I really don’t like this letter because it just doesn’t sound like me.’ Sigh. How many times have I heard that? So, dutifully, I called her and asked: ‘What do you sound like?’ She paused.

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Tutorial 22: whatever happened to real stories about real people?

by Jerry Huntsinger

You are probably going to have more successes than failures if you begin most of your letters with an illustration. Your readers are usually in neutral when the letter is being scanned; but once they get involved in the story, then suddenly you have captured their attention.

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Tutorial 23: beware the fatal disease of one-sidedness.

by Jerry Huntsinger

In this amusing, yet thought-provoking article, Jerry comments on a not-so-new affliction that affects many fundraisers…are you one of them?

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Tutorial 24: how to write a long letter.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Extensive testing by a wide variety of charities shows that long copy wins most of the time, especially for prospect mail and emotional house appeals. Of course, there are exceptions and it’s always best to test. Read more here.

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