George Smith

A letter that parades fine thoughts with fine language

by George Smith

You’ll see a letter here that George Smith thought one of the best he’d ever read. No, he didn’t write it. But he wished he had.

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A strange, old-fashioned plea for respect

messy picture

by George Smith

In this latest article George Smith doesn’t mean that all fundraising is nice and all advertising nasty. He does mean that advertising is generally pretty silly and that fundraising is pretty damned important. And we fundraisers would do well to dwell on the difference.

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A tribute to Terry A Murray

by George Smith

Terry Murray was a founder, former chairman and chief executive officer of Downes Murray International, the largest fundraising consultancy in South Africa. Terry started out in direct mail fundraising in 1962, building a company that went on to win international awards in the USA, Britain and Europe. The direct mail programmes run by DMI raise millions of rands each year not only from within South Africa but also from overseas donors.

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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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At Charing Cross station, I stood up and blubbed a little

Children carol singing.

by George Smith

This simple, heart-warming Christmas story from George Smith will reaffirm for you that fundraising is, and always will be, about emotion.

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Dislocation, dislocation...

by George Smith

No one is spared e-mails these days. Be you ever eminent or senior, most of your business messages will now come in this form. I recently winced when I saw an e-missive being sent by a young fundraiser to a prominent sponsor. And how did the missive start?

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Do you seriously want to be serious?

by George Smith

In this latest jewel from George Smith’s collection of articles in Up Smith Creek, he is not impressed by the way we conduct our agency pitches and staff interviews. He says, ‘The replacement of human conversation by earnest verbal ceremony can make for mediocre choice’ and might mean we miss the candidate who is ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ and with the vigor to really make our fundraising great.

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Doing good with Dundee cakes

Village fete

by George Smith

If fundraising was left to village fetes, the voluntary sector would be a nicer, if poorer, place.

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George Smith: working with suppliers, part one

Cartoon

by George Smith

A more serious article than ‘So you seriously want to be a client?, George says that if we really want to be creative in fundraising we have to know how to get help from suppliers.

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George Smith: working with suppliers, part two

Writing on white board

by George Smith

Are more people working during their journey to and from the office? George Smith thinks so and says it’s because we spend too much time in meetings.. In the second part of his article on working with suppliers, he shows how to manage those meetings, how to handle the approval process and how charities can achieve a mutually beneficial relationship with suppliers.

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Harold Sumption, Guy Stringer, CBE and Sir Leslie Kirkley, CBE

by George Smith

A profile of Britain’s founding fathers of modern fundraising

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In search of baubles

by George Smith

Now, as part of SOFII’s continued commitment to fine writing we further celebrate the brilliance, wit and wisdom of George Smith with a series of articles taken from his last book, Up Smith Creek. We start with a seasonal article that first appeared in Professional Fundraising magazine in February, 1997 – and it’s just as relevant today.

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Infantile musings: on the relationship between children and their grandparents

by George Smith

You’ll see a softer side of ace-curmudgeon George Smith when he announces he is about to become a grandfather. Though that doesn’t stop him from wondering why charities don’t make more of such joyous events. He says you should look at the greeting-cards industry, which rarely feels the cold wind of recession.

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Job-speak: a user’s guide

by George Smith

And now from the incomparable George Smith: an expose of all that is nonsense in recruitment ads from charities. Are you guilty of the ‘booming vocative’?

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So you seriously want to be a client?

by George Smith

This playful piece from George Smith flips the traditional view of the client/agency relationship on its head and explores how things might look if charities had to do the pitching to become an agency’s client. 

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Synecdoche, synecdoche…we all fall down

by George Smith

George again takes up the baton for fine writing. Or does he when he encourages you, the fundraiser, to grab the word ‘synecdoche’.? What in the name of sanity is that?

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The customers always write

A meeting

by George Smith

In 1983 George Smith was a revered columnist for the UK’s highly regarded Direct Response magazine. The first of the two articles featured here appeared way back then, shortly after the movie Chariots of Fire had come out, and was written as a direct result of one dreadful client meeting.

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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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About the author

A legendary marketing/fundraising guru and curmudgeon.