These 5 Books Can Help You in Your Fundraising Career (Recommended By Shelagh Murray)

These 5 Books Can Help You in Your Fundraising Career (Recommended By Shelagh Murray)

5 fundraising books - shelagh

After Lisa Harris in May and Wayne McKenzie in June, our Senior Fundraising Consultant Shelagh Murray shares her five favourite fundraising books. Shelagh has more than twenty years’ experience in the non-profit sector. These books have helped her at different stages of her successful career.


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Relationship Fundraising1. Relationship Fundraising – A donor-based approach to the business of raising money by Ken Burnett

This book has been listed by Wayne McKenzie as one of his favourites last month but my list wouldn’t be a true list if I didn’t include it. It’s a classic that is still quoted in many articles and seminars. It was the first fundraising book I ever read as part of the reading material for Fundraising 101 – Principles and Techniques of Fundraising Course from the Fundraising School at Indiana University. And it is still one of the best.


Achieving Excellence in Fundraising - 1st ed2. Achieving Excellence in Fundraising by Henry A. Russo and Associates

This is the original version that has been updated by Eugene Temple, Tim Seiler and Eva Aldrich (as listed by Wayne McKenzie).  This is the most comprehensive introduction to the art and craft of fundraising I have read.

It provides a detailed guide to successful fundraising explaining the profession’s major principals, concepts and techniques. The authors use practical examples to explain the reason behind the planning and selection of strategies for all fundraising activities.

The late Henry Rosso, one of fundraising’s all-time great teachers and practitioners, gets to the heart and soul of fundraising as he clearly presents the basic techniques. His love for philanthropy and his respect and admiration for donors are infectious.


How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money3. How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money: The Art, The Science, The Secrets by Tom Ahern

My go to book whenever I’m stuck.

Tom Ahern is an authority on donor communications and this book shows you how to lose the jargon and write persuasively. His advice is relevant to organisations of every kind.

This book complements his other acclaimed book “Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes: How to Make a Persuasive Case for Everything from Your Annual Drive to Your Planned Giving programme to Your Capital Campaign.”


Capital Campaigns - Strategies that Work4. Capital Campaigns: Strategies that Work (third edition) by Andrea Kihlstedt

A well written, practical, hands-on guide to capital campaigns. It outlines step by step what you need to know to conduct a capital campaign with real life stories about campaigns and examples of solutions.

Each chapter has a specific focus. This is effective and helpful for those who have not been through a campaign previously or for those who wish to brush up on their skills. One of the book’s best attributes is that it contains great information for all types and sizes of campaigns.

This edition has the added value of a CD that has all the forms that can be modified for particular situations. It is a helpful and insightful tool.


How to win friends and influence people5. How to win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. Because of its understanding of human nature, it is just as useful today as it was when it was first published.

Carnegie believed financial success is due 15 percent to professional knowledge. The rest is due to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasises fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated.

You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offence or arousing resentment.

The quintessential guide to fundraising and life!


What about you? What are your five top fundraising books?  Join the discussion on LinkedIn!

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Fundraising Consultants & Researchers at AskRIGHT
AskRIGHT fundraising consultants and researchers help non-profit organisations raise more money by providing optimal fundraising strategies, identification of donors and fundraising training.
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