SOFII history project

Welcome to the SOFII history project. An illustrated journey through fundraising's history with commentary especially for SOFII users.

Magic moments: The founding of Cripplegate Foundation and North London Cares

by Aline Reed & Ken Burnett

There is a lot going on in this addition to SOFII’s founding magic moments. It has a wonderful ghost story and is a great example of a consistent donor relationship that has lasted over 500 years. And it shows how philanthropy moves on, changes and can help younger organisations do the same. 

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A fundraising challenge to raise money for a legendary expedition

Postcards from Australia, Canada, SA and Sumatra.

by Aline Reed

Aline Reed comes up with another gem of fundraising memorabilia, this from the roaring twenties. Click here to see a wonderful idea that raised the funds to reach the top of Everest for the first time.

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Magic moments part two: how some of the world’s best causes got started

by Aline Reed & Ken Burnett

SOFII casts its spotlight on the early instants of inspiration that gave rise to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Greenpeace, Centrepoint, Freedom from Torture, NSPCC, the Fred Hollows Foundation and University College London

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Magic moments part one: how small beginnings inspire great causes

by Aline Reed & Ken Burnett

In this article Aline Reed and Ken Burnett describe some great founding moments – how small beginnings can inspire great causes.

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United Negro College Fund: David Ogilvy’s letter

Grand Central Station

by SOFII

Go back in time to meet one of the commuters who, in 1968, found this superb letter from David Ogilvy on the seat of the train taking him home to his comfortable New York suburb.

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The Salvation Army’s innovative fundraising from a century ago – and a lesson in how to say thank you properly

by Sarah Bond

With ‘established’ charities like Oxfam celebrating their seventieth birthday next year and Amnesty International celebrating their fiftieth this year, it might surprise you to learn that the Salvation Army has been around since 1865 – nearly 150 years – and has a longer fundraising history than most.

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The pearly kings and queens and their fantastic fundraising

A new pearly queen has just been crowned.

by Mark Astarita

In May there was the biggest coronation of pearly kings and queens in over a hundred years. If you’re wondering what on earth the pearlies are, then click here to find out all about them.

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David Ogilvy’s secret weapon

Ogilvy press ad

by SOFII

Few people more deserve the term ‘giant of fundraising’ than David Ogilvy. Here, in a fragment of film from days gone by, Ogilvy passes on a single gem from his glittering experiences. Those who heed his words will prosper.

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Dr Barnardo’s Homes: how the death of Carrots led to a powerful slogan, from 1866

Ten-year-old orphan Jim Jarvis shows Dr Barnardo where some of the homeless children are sleeping.

by SOFII

The death of a lonely young boy led Dr Barnardo to declare that the children’s homes that bore his name should never, ever close their doors to any child. A great example of fine writing combined with sincerity.

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The Salvation Army: the ‘for God’s sake care, give us a pound’ campaign

by SOFII

In this campaign the Salvation Army revealed the urgent need of people who had fallen off the edge of society. Their shocking photographic campaign sought to jolt people into action with the hope of raising £1 million.

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Major contributors to this section

Aline Reed

Aline Reed is a freelance copywriter and creative. She worked for fourteen years at Bluefrog, a London-based agency that specialises in fundraising, where she progressed from copywriter to creative director. She has written fundraising campaigns for all kinds of organisations – charities, museums, galleries and universities. Her work has successfully run internationally in the Netherlands, US, Australia, Ireland as well as the UK. Away from fundraising, she writes book reviews for the Sunday Express and blogs about books and travelling.

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Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips started fundraising for ActionAid UK in the late 1980s and later became head of fundraising at YMCA England. He set up Bluefrog in 1997 with one simple goal – to be the agency he would have wanted to employ. His approach to fundraising is based on understanding and answering donor needs. Mark shares his ideas and findings through his blog, queerideas.co.uk.

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Reinier Spruit

Reinier Spruit is in love with fundraising since 2001. Ever since he's trying to improve his own fundraising skills and those of others. He's also the founder of 101fundraising, the crowdblog on fundraising.

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