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March 2015

Nonprofit Blog Carnival: A Celebration Of SOFII - Will You Inspire Or Invest?


The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration (SOFII) is one of my favourite fundraising resources. When I’m stuck with a fundraising problem it is my first point of call for inspiration.

However, it is only as good as the exhibits and articles it showcases. The current archive is amazing, but it only features a fraction of all the innovative and inspiring fundraising work that exists.

That is why I’m dedicating April’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival to gathering new articles and exhibits for SOFII and I need your help…

Get involved and help me gather 100 new articles and exhibits for SOFII.

Don’t be shy. Showcase the most successful fundraising efforts you have been involved in. What made them special? How could they inspire others? What lessons did you learn? 

Not got a blog? It is still easy to take part.

You can download the exhibit form and send your submission direct to me. My e-mail is [email protected]. Alternatively, I’d be delighted to interview you via Skype or telephone.

Not got an exhibit? Why not say ‘thank-you’ to SOFII and make a donation to help pay for the upkeep of the site. Just like Wikipedia and Firefox, SOFII is dependent on the generosity of its users to keep it free and always available for everyone.

SOFII’s founder and managing trustee, Ken Burnett had this to say about the ‘Celebration of SOFII’:

‘Fundraising’s history is, in essence, a history of big, bold ideas shared widely and borrowed wisely. That’s what SOFII is all about – spreading ideas to change the world.

'Now you can be a part of it.

'Making history starts here, now, with your April contribution. Inspire or invest, which will it be?

'Or, why not do both?’


  1. Bloggers – please include a link to SOFII and a request for people reading your exhibit to donate to SOFII.

  2. All submissions will be subject to SOFII’s editorial standards.

  3. You can read March's carnival at the Rad blog. The topic is 'Breaking through the noise'.

  4. Please encourage others to take part. We suggest the #sofii100 on Twitter.

Find your purpose and 'why' – lessons from the saddest donor letter I’ve ever read

Hugh Macleod Market to Believe In

I believe understanding the ‘why’ and purpose about your cause is fundamental to fundraising success. It’s the reason I put it in the centre of my chart on relationship fundraising.

This was brought home to me recently by a letter I received from a donor. It’s fair to say it brought a tear to my eye and illustrated why people give and the joy that donating can bring*.

“I have been a supporter for several years now and thank you greatly for all the excellent work you do amongst the children in the nursery. Lives are altered and valued with all your efforts.

“I am in the sad position of experiencing pancreatic cancer and must therefore try to clear all my affairs whilst I am able to make decisions sensibly. This will be my last donation.

 “My funding is very limited now and I wanted to send this cheque to you before costs take it all!

 “Your work in every way and every area is so wonderful but if it is possible to add this cheque towards something in the nursery area I would be delighted.

 “I was involved with nursery work in my working life and my heart goes out to all your children. Keep them happy in your hard work.

“My thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

It was very humbling to think that someone with a terminal illness wanted to take the time to make a final donation and help others. The work of RLSB meant something to her. Donating gave her purpose and a sense of control at a difficult time of her life.

Finding your ‘why’

For most charities the ‘why’ should be apparent. Yet often our fundraising does not allow it to shine through in our work. So how do you make your ‘why’ and purpose integral to your fundraising plans?

I’d highly recommend Bernadette Jiwa’s book Difference.

Creating value, in the fundraising sense, is where your fundraising meets your donor’s worldview and you create an offer that the donor wants to ‘buy’. The letter from the donor is the perfect example of where our beliefs and worldview’s collide and the donor wants to make a difference.

Value Creation Jiwa

So how do you define your ‘why’? Jiwa suggests answering the following questions to create your own ‘difference map’^

  • Principles: truth about charity, the market, the donors/people we want to serve

  • Purpose: why do we exist?

  • People: who is this for? What do they care about?

  • Personal: How can we change how people feel? How can we help them live better lives?

  • Perception: What do they believe? What would we like them to believe about us?

  • Product: What do we really want or need? How do we create value for our customers?

Once you’ve found your ‘why’ and decided how to share it with the world, you can begin building the other factors that make a successful relationship fundraising programme.


*You can join the lady and support the RLSB nursery by donating to their Easter appeal.

^You can download a Difference Map template here:

This post has been submitted to March’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival. The theme is ‘Breaking through the noise’. It is hosted by the RAD Campaign

Fundraising Reading Round-Up

I've just had the pleasure of spending three days in Israel with the Amnesty fundraising team there.

They are one of only two NGOs actively fundraising on the streets of Israel and it was fascinating learning more about their programme. Tel Aviv was an interesting city (we didn't get chance to visit elsewhere) and the hummus was amazing!

The visit meant I had to delay my latest reading round-up, so without further ado, let's get on with it...

Jeff Brooks describes two types of complaints and explains how to respond to each.

Fearless Fundraising with a four-part series on e-mail writing for gift officers.

The For-Impact blog challenge you to change your non-profit language.

Network for Good share a new publication: The Millenial Donor Playbook. It contains some great content if you want to retain an recruit young donors, activists and volunteers.

Pamela Grow uses a powerful case study to explain the five stages of transformational nonprofit storytelling.

10 things great leaders do to that drive innovation by Lucy Gower.

Macmillan Cancer Support explain the thinking behind their latest 'experience' event in the Fundraiser magazine.

Charlie Hulme shares a tale of two donors over at 101 Fundraising.

Also on 101 Fundraising, Richard Turner on storytelling.

The Fundraising Collective share their love of direct mail!

Kivi Leroux Miller with 54 ideas for strong leads and smooth transitions in your appeals.

Drayton Bird shares an important story on what advertising should be about.

The Fundraising Coach hosts the February non-profit blog carnival on celebrating your nonprofit.

According to the Veritus Group, 'now is the time!'

Wild Woman Fundraising reviews 'Zero to One' a book on the misconceptions about the tech bubble of the late 90s and relates it's teaching to fundraising.

Do you use donor personas in your work? David Meerman Scott reviews a new book that might help you.