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Asking Properly: The Art of Creative Fundraising [Hardcover]

George Smith
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It's wise, uncomprising, devastingly critical of poor fundraising, brilliantly illustrative of what is good... -- Pierre-Bernard Le Bas, UNHCR, Geneva, Switzerland

There's a practical benefit on every page. When you apply its secrets you can hardly fail to improve your fundraising. -- Harvey mcKinnon, Harvey McKinnon & Associates, Vancouver,Canada

From the Publisher

When we reprinted Asking Properly our first thought was to revise and update it, given that it first appeared in 1996. But on reflection that proved to be both impractical and unnecessary. So please don’t be distracted by examples from the recent past or by statistics that may now have been surpassed. Just enjoy the brilliant words, the well-chosen illustrations and the instructive anecdotes. And benefit from this fine depiction of the art and craft of fundraising which time has shown to be not just instructive and enduring, but quite remarkably prophetic.

From the Author

My mother always told me to 'ask properly' for things. I got told off if I was impolite or over-aggressive. I was reprimanded for asking in sloppy language or incomplete sentences. I was scorned for asking for the impossible. I was honoured when, on occasion, I did manage to ask properly. The reward in those days must have been a bag of sweets or fourpence for a bus fare. But it does seem to me that charities are beginning to commit the same sins as that badly-behaved child. This book is dedicated to the difference.

From the Inside Flap

The whole gallery of creativity and media is surveyed and assessed, with hundreds of examples of fundraising campaigns from around the world illustrating the need to 'ask properly'. This book is provocative, refreshing, entertaining and, above all, highly instructive. Read it, apply its lessons and it must enable you to raise more money.

From the Back Cover

George Smith tears open the conventional wisdom of fundraising creativity in trying to analyse why people give money to charity. Asking Properly: the Art of Creative Fundraising is that rare thing - a book that will change the rules of an apparently established trade. It is irreverent, funny, savagely critical and genuinely inspiring - often on the same page. Only George Smith could have written this - we should be glad that he has.

About the Author

George Smith was founder of the pioneer agency Smith Bundy, where his copywriting skills were applied to a diverse number of directing marketing clients. Yet fundraising was always a specialism and among the awards he has won is a DMA Gold for Greenpeace. He was also a director of the highly acclaimed agency Burnett Associates, chief executive of the International Fundraising Group - responsible for the celebrated Noordwijkerhout conference and a growing number of events around the world - and chair of the Institute of Direct Marketing. He was awarded honorary fellowship of the IDM and of the UK's Institute of Fundraising - the only person to date to have been given both honours. His monthly articles in Britain's Direct Response magazine were published in 1987 as a collection called 'By George'. He is author of Tiny Essentials of Writing for Fundraising and contributes to a wide variety of trade journals, seminars and conferences the world over, as well as acting as consultant to several leading UK charities.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

You're watching an eight-year-old tot not quite making the descant in 'Away in the Manger', you're watching the kids who are so tired that they've stopped pretending to sing, you're watching the teachers trying to keep them in line. Look around the crowd and you can see that everyone is beaming. The old-fashioned term for this is goodwill and the new-fangled term is probably the feel-good factor. All I know is that I have wandered over to beam. And that, when the teacher comes round with the tin, I give a pound. And that, on occasion, I blub inwardly a the sheer niceness of it all. You should know that I am more Srooge than Bob Cratchit when it comes to Christmas. So never let anyone tell you that fundraising is finally anything but an emotional business. It always was. It always will be.
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