Top tips & how tos

The focus in this section is on practical ‘how to’ lists. Here the world's leading fundraisers share the distilled wisdom of their experience in digestible bite-sized nuggets that you can use immediately.

15 things I would do if I were the new head of donor development, part 1

by Ken Burnett

This list came about when a US journal for fundraisers asked me to imagine I’d just started in a new job, with a clean slate and sufficient resources to set about transforming the donor development function. It’s included here to help anyone in an even vaguely similar situation. And to help me set out my philosophy of donor development.

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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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The Obama effect

Obama and a blackboard

by Jonathon Grapsas

Six lessons from President Obama’s fundraising team to help fuel growth in your organisation.

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How to write a better thank-you letter (and why it matters)

by Lisa Sargent

‘Dear Friend,’ the thank-you letter began... and it broke my heart. Don’t they know my name? I wondered. (It was on the cheque I sent them, after all.)

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SOFII announces the return of the thank-you letter clinic

by Lisa Sargent

New thank-you letter clinic to champion a renaissance in charity thank-you letters, starting with Lee Saunders – and YOU.

It all started when veteran fundraiser and SOFII user Lee Saunders kindly sent SOFII a packet of charity thank-you letters he’d written for charities in Western Australia.

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An earlier incarnation of NSPCC’s The Children’s Friend

The Children’s Friend cover

by Ken Burnett

Managing trustee, Ken Burnett, shares with SOFII readers how the idea for the original NSPCC supporter magazine The Children’s Friend was born. In this revealing article, Ken gives us a glimpse into how NSPCC’s most significant donor communication was developed and how it became something of a family affair – SOFII’s not just thrown together you know!

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Supporter insights: what are they, why bother with them and how to uncover them?

by Kevin Waudby

In this thought-provoking article, Kevin Waudby shows how great supporter insight can help differentiate your charity from your competitors and be the difference between a supporter giving to your cause instead of theirs.

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The donor pyramid is dead… Long live the donor pyramid!

by SOFII

Sarah Clifton shares her thoughts and asks: What exactly is the purpose of the donor pyramid if not to map the upgrade journey to a major gift?

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FREE: ten years of fundraising experience!

by SOFII

Everything that Reinier Spruit has learnt in his his first ten years of fundraising and all in one handy read.

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Copywriting and design strategies for better donor newsletters: a before and after success story

Letter pre overhaul.

by Lisa Sargent

Fundraising copywriter Lisa Sargent and designer Sandie Collette, of S.Collette Design, discuss how copywriting and design go hand-in-hand to make a Dublin-based charity's newsletter overhaul a success. Discover the strategies that helped make it happen in this case study of a nonprofit newsletter.

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Major gifts: fundraising from the frontlines

by Rebecca Davies

Director of fundraising for Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, Canada, Rebecca Davies shares with SOFII readers the qualities that have made her a stronger major gift fundraiser over her career.

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Top ten techniques for fresh thinking

by Lucy Gower

In this article, Lucy explains how you can come up with fresh ideas and creative thinking. Whoever would have thought that putting yourself in the shoes of Homer Simpson could be so rewarding!

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