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Sunday, 5 December 2010

My fundraising books wishlist for Christmas.

By Christiana Stergiou

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, for those of you who don’t but may still have an end of year holiday (like me), and for those that just need to get inspired for the year ahead, I thought I would share my fundraising book wish list with you all.

Whether you write fundraising letters, content for your website, donor newsletters, promotional brochures or anything else for your organisation, here are my top ten fundraising books to make you a better copywriter (in no particular order of excellence).

  • Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. This book completely changed my thinking on how to create effective messages that ‘stick’ to the minds of our donors.
  • How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters and Revolution in the Mailbox by Mal Warwick. Time and time again, when I need inspiration for a fundraising letter, I turn to Mal and the many excellent letters and ideas he features in these two awesome books. Read the review of Revolution on SOFII here.
  • Tiny Essentials for Writing for Fundraising and Asking Properly by George Smith. Brilliant and simple. George Smith is the George Orwell for fundraising writers. Find out more about George on SOFII here.
  • The Influential Fundraiser by Bernard Ross and Clare Segal. This book examines fundraising asks, both written and verbal, from the donor’s perspective. It also explains different communication preferences and explains the many ways people receive and process information. Check out SOFII’s review here.
  • Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. Entertaining and excellent. If you are thinking of advertising, or even already advertise, this might be the guidance you have been looking for.
  • Read the review on SOFII here.
  • Tested Advertising Methods by John Capels. David Ogilvy once said that John Capels was the person from whom he had learned everything about copywriting. This book was first published in 1932 and the current revised edition in 1998, though not a lot has changed.
  • Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes and How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise more Money by Tom Ahern. Tom’s books are worth their weight in gold. He is mentioned all over the SOFII site but a good place to start is with his nine-step communications audit.

So, what will I be reading over my end of year break? The Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. I’ve only read the intro so far, but I’m hooked. Here are two people who really understand the dilemma of many nonprofit staff trying to come to terms with social media and the online world. I can’t wait to finally have some time to read the rest of it.

Happy reading to you.


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