Fundraising archive

Fundraising has been around ever since people started to help each other. So examples of inspirational, instructive and innovative fundraising inevitably go back many centuries. But our records and record-keeping have not been all they should be. In this section SOFII aspires to display and describe the history of fundraising.

  • Treasures from the twentieth century
  • Wonders from history
  • The second oldest profession: fundraising from the dawn of time

Moses Maimonides: the 90-degree shift, 800 years ago

Moses Maimonides

by Reinier Spruit

Moses Maimonides, Jewish philosopher and scholar, and his famous Eight Levels of Giving.

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Philanthropy in ancient times: some early examples from the Mediterranean

amphitheatre

by Sarah Bond

In this new addition to the SOFII history project we look at the early beginnings of charity. We uncover the origin of the word ‘philanthropy’ and how the philosophy of philanthropy permeated the lives of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans on every level of their daily lives.

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The Wishing Well Appeal for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital

by SOFII

It's difficult to do justice to a capital campaign as wide, and complex. This is a condensed summary of a major capital campaign which, at the time, was the largest appeal ever mounted in the UK.

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Pliny the Younger and the first appeal for matching funds, c. 100 AD.

by SOFII

About 20 years after famously witnessing the eruption of Vesuvius that engulfed Pompeii, Pliny the Younger, perhaps the most generous benefactor of the Roman era, created a matching fund to help the parents in his home town to fund their school.

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The elephant man: a fundraising success story from 1886.

by Ken Burnett

The extraordinary story of how a successful fundraising appeal transformed the final years of one of the most tragic and moving figures of the Victorian age.

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The first ever major donor dinner – c. 970 BC

by SOFII

With a clear target, a list of major prospects, an inspirational lead gift and a fantastic end result, the only thing that's not 'state of the art' about this event is that it happened 3,000 years ago.

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The Leprosy Mission: phial of sixpences, from the 1960s

by Ken Burnett

The product featured here captured the imagination of a 10-year-old boy who went on to work with some of the most successful fundraising organisations around the world. It’s a simple proposition and an easily usable collecting device with a clear, tangible objective and outcome.

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Moses raises funds for the tabernacle – c. 1,500 BC

by SOFII

This is now the oldest exhibit on SOFII (and will be, until you tell us different). It's also a surprisingly instructive fundraising case history. If you look at the detailed notes it becomes quite clear that the prophet Moses was an accomplished fundraiser who both understood his audience and appreciated the nuances of his fundraising proposition and how it would be received.

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Dr Barnardo’s Homes: four fundraising greats from the distant past

by SOFII

Dr Thomas Barnardo was one of the Victorian era's great philanthropists. These archive examples of his personal fundraising style and efforts are a un…

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The early Christian Church: Paul the apostle motivates his church’s donors – c. 56 AD

Painting of St Paul

by SOFII

This could be the first ever appeal for regular, committed donors. In the early days of the Christian church the missionary Paul asked his supporters in the city of Corinth to set aside a small portion of their income regularly, to sustain victims of a famine and then later to support good works generally.

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