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on 16 May 2009
This is undoubtedly the best book ever written on the subject of creativity in fundraising and communication. A short list, admittedly, but an important subject nonetheless. OK, I confess to some bias here as George Smith is a lifelong friend and I do own The White Lion Press Limited, his publisher. But if you want to see lots of other independent reviews of this timeless classic go to their site on line. You'll see a common consensus that this is one book no serious fundraiser should be without.

George Smith is world famous as a witty, perceptive observer of voluntary action and a precise, concise and captivating writer. He senses the beaming ghost of Orwell peering over his shoulder as he writes. So Asking Properly is an entertaining read from start to finish. But its 220 brightly illustrated pages add up to much more than that, built as this seminal book is upon anecdotes and experiences from more than three decades of engineering and crafting many of the best fundraising and social change campaigns of our times. Smith is an accomplished and rigorous guide, who frequently stops his readers in their tracks, forcing them to reconsider long-held views that he effortlessly exposes as ill-conceived or just plain wrong. As former UNICEF fundraising supremo PB Le Bas said of it, `Asking Properly is one of those very few books you will want to keep beside you, for life.'

Ken Burnett
Relationship Fundraising: A Donor-based Approach to the Business of Raising Money (Jossey-Bass Nonprofit and Public Management Series)
The Zen of Fundraising: 89 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop Your Donor Relationships
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on 26 June 2012
Essential - timeless wisdom. Full of candour and humour.

George's warning of our 'dreadful ability to worship formulae rather than content' is as true today as the day he wrote them. Whether your medium was/is mail or email, pound pack or SMS, the fundamental principles of asking properly don't change.

George frequently offers both practical guidance and illuminating inspiration (often within a single sentence) that all of us in the sector should heed. At a time that attrition is hovering at the 50% mark his insistance on focusing on what the donor wants is crucial.

'Asking Properly' is a rare treat; an absolute master of his craft honestly sharing experience and (well entitled) opinion on the art of fundraising.

A strong theme that runs throughout is that 'all fundraising copy should sound like someone talking'. It's worth taking a moment to review whatever you're working on and ask if it measures up to this maxim.

And one other maxim that I love, 'If your client or boss is comfortable with the copy it is probably under achieving'.

Thank you George.
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on 13 May 2016
Written properly with great care and insight too - I keep quoting it and recommending it, buy it, read it and you'll be doing the same.
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