The great fundraiser’s bookshelf

Where do you start, if you want to find the best books on fundraising? Look no further: welcome to the great fundraiser's bookshelf. With help from fundraisers around the world, SOFII has assembled a list of around 150 great fundraising books. About thirty of these have already been reviewed on SOFII, and we encourage readers to submit their own reviews of the others. It’s easy to do, just follow the links below for a handy guide.

You can find an introduction to the great fundraiser's bookshelf here along with ways to get in touch, and the full list is here. We look forward to hearing from you.

The essence of fundraising practice from the world’s most famous fundraising academic

by Adrian Sargeant

‘A comprehensive selection of knowledge that is both readable and well structured’. Be sure to let us know if you agree.

Reviewed for SOFII by Roewen Wishart. 

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All you need to be a complete fundraiser

by Steve Harrison

Howard Luck Gossage reinvented advertising to change the world. He created a revolutionary approach to combining press and PR, kick-started the Green movement, coined the term ‘interactive’, influenced and continues to influence advertisers and communicators the world over. In so doing he became ‘the complete fundraiser’. If you know less about HLG than maybe you should, start reading here.

Reviewed for SOFII by Ken Burnett.

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Asking Properly: the art of creative fundraising

Asking properly cover

by George Smith

Charlie Hulme asks you to use the quotes in his review of George Smith’s seminal work Asking Properly: the Art of Creative Writing as a mirror. If you despair at times, don’t worry; if you see where you’re going wrong Asking Properly will put it right.

Reviewed for SOFII by Charlie Hulme.

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Something to Tweet About: creating great content for social media

by Carlos Miranda & Alissa Steinner

Finally the report that changed someone who was, at best, lukewarm about social media to an almost fan: Something to Tweet About. You will learn how to gather those yearned-for ‘likes’ and maybe turn them into gold.

Reviewed for SOFII by Marie Burnett.

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David Ogilvy: A profile of the ‘father of advertising’

by Christiana Stergiou

While the thought of another ‘must read’ book for fundraisers might overwhelm, you really should read this book, especially if you want to hire, or are currently working with an agency, want to apply for a job, have to write copy or are using …

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How to really understand fundraising’s reigning big idea, direct mail

by Mal Warwick

The foreword to this short and readable book summarises its value well, ‘For reluctant writers who need warm-up exercises and structured lessons…and for seasoned grant writers who get caught up in the jargon of our fields’…

Review by Jan Chisholm. 

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Philanthropy in a flat world, inspiration through globalization

by Jon Duschinsky

Here Clare McDowall, explains why this book changed her outlook and attitude to fundraising. Following Jon’s advice, she recommends throwing out the rule book and making the most of the huge opportunities (and challenges) that are facing the nonprofit sector today.

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Ask Without Fear: A simple guide to connecting donors with what matters to them most

by Marc Pitman

‘Simple but profound’ is how Joanne Fritz describes this book. She concludes that the author, Marc A Pitman has skilfully de-mystified major giving using entertaining and humorous anecdotes which leave you with a can-do attitude.

Review by Joanne Fritz.

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A ‘magic porridge pot’ for those new to major gifts – but keen to learn

book cover

by Neil Sloggie

Major gift fundraising has been the ‘next big thing’ in a number of fundraising markets around the world for far too long. By this I mean that, although there is excellent work being done in this area by some not-for-profits, too many are held back by fear and lack of understanding…

Review by Charlotte Grimshaw.

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How to grow income rapidly, at a reasonable cost, retaining donor loyalty along the way

by Ken Burnett

In Relationship Fundraising, the classic read for all fundraisers, Ken Burnett takes us carefully through the fundamentals of good fundraising. Ken reminds us that a unique relationship exists between donors and the causes they support, and shows us how to preserve and develop that relationship.

Review by Neil Sloggie.

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Major contributors to this section

Lisa Sargent

As head of Sargent Communications, Lisa Sargent helps nonprofits raise more money and keep more donors through better donor communications. A creative strategist and copywriter, Lisa works exclusively with nonprofits on direct mail, email fundraising and donor care communications – acquisition appeals, annual reports, proposals, welcome packages, e-appeals, newsletters, thank-you letters and more.

Lisa’s articles have been featured in Mal Warwick’s newsletter, FundRaising Success Magazine and The Agitator. Lisa also publishes The Loyalty Letter, a free e-newsletter for nonprofit and charitable organisations read by subscribers around the world.

Lisa has regularly contributed to SOFII, including the wonderful thank you letter clinic, which you can read here.

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Marie Burnett

Marie Burnett (1949-2019) was director of The White Lion Press and a trustee of SOFII.

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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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