Screenshot 2015-10-04 10.51.03

One of my biggest frustrations is that in the drive to "professionalise" our sector, the need to actually learn about fundraising is often ignored.

Instead of focusing on what donors need from charities, too many fundraisers have adopted expensive and wholly unnecessary corporate style re-brands or leapt in to new technology without even thinking if it was going to enhance the donor experience. And don't even get me started on the newly arrived commercial marketeer who wants to 'break the mould' before they even begin to understand what it is.

The result is that we have pushed donors away from us. We have turned charities that donors once loved into organisations that they hardly recognise. The fundamental question that seems to have escaped the sector following this summer's crisis, is why have so few donors spoken out to defend us?

I wholeheartedly support Giles Pegram's Commission on the Donor Experience, but we should remember that wheels do not need to be reinvented.

So whilst we await the Commission's report, can I respectfully suggest that anyone who works in fundraising or charity communications (including the brand team) will get a great head-start if they read the following books. I can assure you the ideas and approaches you'll read about really do work.

Asking Properly – George Smith (£28.50)

Relationship Fundraising – Ken Burnett (£34.99)

Keep your Donors – Tom Ahern and Simone Joyaux (£47.52)

The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications – Jeff Brooks (£13.62)

Retention Fundraising – Roger Craver (£30.19)

How to Love Your donors (to Death) – Stephen Pidgeon (£28.80)

(If you think I've missed any books off the list, please feel free to add them in the comments).