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The Great Fundraising Book Debate

There is a wealth of information about fundraising out there – whether you look online at websites dedicated to the subject, subscribe to blogs (such as this one) or just good old fashioned books. In fact, the sheer amount of information can be slightly overwhelming!

So today I’ve decided to put together a list of some of the great books out there in the fundraising world that I would highly recommend you put on your reading list if you haven’t yet already.

Now, like any ‘best of’ list, the contenders are open to debate and no doubt depends on what area of fundraising you are in. So rather than try to cover all areas of fundraising I’ve broken it down into bite sized pieces of three areas of fundraising and the top books in each area.

Donor Relations

Relationship Fundraising – Ken Burnett

I’ve mentioned this book in this blog before, but it totally needs to be on this list. It’s one of the all time classics of fundraising. I have actually read reviews of the book where people within the industry have said that it totally changed their view of the profession. The book is full of practical tips and insights into building and sustaining donor relationships.

While we’re with Ken Burnett I’d just like to mention a particular favourite of mine Zen of Fundraising. The essence of fundraising distilled down to 89 gems of fundraising wisdom. The book offers insights into understanding your donors, how to communicate more effectively with them and how to involve and inspire them. Ultimately it’s about being a great fundraiser and enjoying our work at the same time so we can continue to make a difference.

Direct Mail

Revolution in the Mailbox – Mal WarwickIf you googled ‘direct mail fundraising’ I can assure you the name ‘Mal Warwick’ would definitely appear!

For some time there was a rumour floating around the non profit sector that, with the arrival of online giving, direct mail was dead. That death notice however appears to have been rather premature. As Mal states;

“Direct mail fundraising is still the most cost-effective way to build a stable base for a non profit organization.”

Another of the fundraising gurus, Mal’s book is the complete ‘how to’ of direct mail. It is a comprehensive A-Z guide – with real life case examples – what works and what doesn’t, so the learnings from it and take aways are very clear.

Social Media

Twitter for Good – Claire Diaz Ortiz

Claire is the head of social innovation and executive leadership at Twitter. This is a great book especially for those new to the world of Twitter. It encompasses everything from the basics of explaining how Twitter works, the all important first tweet, how to get more followers and the impact Twitter can have. It has been demonstrated on numerous occasions that Twitter can be used, not only as an awareness raising tool, but to unite people from around the globe who have similar passions and interests, resulting in positive change and impact.

Criticism has at times been leveled at social media; claims that it encourages narcissism and self interest. However, Twitter for Good demonstrates that social media can actually make a positive difference in the world. It can be used as a call to action and a way to reach and engage many people instantly. You can change the world ‘one tweet at a time.’

We looked at the book in further depth in a post when the book first came out last year. You can read it here.

So, these are just a few books and I’ve barely scratched the surface. What are some of your favourite, must-read books on fundraising? Please share.  🙂

See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick


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