Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Five tweets about fundraising history

Five tweets about fundraising history

Fundraising has a long history. Channels might have changed, understanding of what motivates giving might have grown, but we can still learn from past examples. And is full of these lessons and examples from the past.

Here are five tweets about fundraising in the past.

1. WWF’s early fundraising ideas

A biography of naturalist Peter Scott includes some fascinating background to the fundraising tactics used in the early days of the WWF. 




2. Really old school fundraising

Mark Phillips blogs about how fundraising was taught in one school in 1350:


3. Right royal fundraising

The fundraising school resulted in David Burgess sharing details how emergency appeals were launched in the 1600s. He highlighted an example of a ‘brief’, a document of 1666 from the Essex Record Office’s archive which was a fundraising appeal on behalf of the citizens of Weymouth in Dorset who had suffered a major fire.

These briefs were copies of royal letters patent, which called for the gathering of contributions from ‘all well-disposed persons’. These would then employ collectors to travel around the country seeking donations.   


4. Victorian collecting dogs

Years ahead of the contactless giving dogs of Blue Cross, here are the collecting dogs of Victorian times.


It’s worth reading the whole thread, but here’s the final instalment:


5. Know what happened

If you’re still unconvinced about the value (and enjoyment) of looking backwards to look forwards, here’s Lisa Sargent’s advice:


As a historian and a fundraiser, it’s only right that we add a bonus tweet.

6. Donor plaque

How many donors are mentioned on blue plaques? Or how many blue plaques refer to the named individual’s philanthropy?

Here’s one that does. And note Mark Phillips’ comment underneath it, estimating the current value of such a donation:



Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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