SOFII history project

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

Heart and soul: Charles Dickens on the passion and power of fundraising

Children at a ‘ragged school’

by Aline Reed

‘Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.’ Charles Dickens.

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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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Lessons for fundraisers from yesterday’s cigarette advertising: instructive campaign images from the 1930s, 40s and 50s

by Ken Burnett

This article has been on SOFII for some time, but I have a feeling we didn’t actually tell anyone. We hang our heads in shame and urge you to check out some astonishing cigarette adverts – and what campaigners and fundraisers can learn from them.

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David Ogilvy’s letter for the United Negro College Fund, from 1968

by Mark Phillips

Back in 1968, David Ogilvy was appointed as Chair of the United Negro College Fund. He soon realised that he might be able to use his copywriting skills to help the organisation raise funds and wrote a piece that used an unusual delivery mechanism: a train.

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Announcing the SOFII history project

by Mark Phillips

An illustrated journey through time, with commentary by Mark Phillips, especially for SOFII users.

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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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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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Anatomy of the Wishing Well Appeal. Part 1.

by Marion Allford

The overall fundraising strategy

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A Dismal Swamp: an extract from Our Mutual Friend showing Charles Dickens’ view of fundraising in Victorian England

One of Marcus Stone’s illustrations from the first edition, featuring some of the principal characters.

by SOFII

Charles Dickens’ perceptive view of fundraising from Our Mutual Friend, 1864. Download this entertaining and instructive insight into fundraising from 150 years ago.

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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 set up Bluefrog with one objective – to be the agency he would have wanted to employ. He is now confident he has achieved his goal. Mark also manages Bluefrog's planning function. Mark started out working at ActionAid and later became Head of Fundraising at YMCA England.

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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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