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What’s this blog about | Meet June | How I fell into fundraising

What’s this blog about?

This blog is about writing and talking to donors.

I see so much stuff written for CEOs, program staff, government and corporates… but not for donors!

And writing for donors makes a huge difference to your bottom line… I know because I’ve seen the results firsthand.

I’m a writer by trade so you’ll find a lot here about the craft of writing for direct mail, email and the web. And telling charity stories. Lots of stories. But the right stories!

You’ll also read about how important it is to honour and respect your donors, test your ideas and raise recognition of fundraising within your organisations.

This blog is my way of sharing with you what I’ve learned and what I’m learning about donors, fundraising and copywriting. I’ll be blogging up to three times a week.

The best way for you to get the latest posts? Just type in your name and email address into the Subscribe box over there on the right.

But I don’t want the conversation to be one-sided. Please tell me about your thoughts and experiences too!

Finally, smile… it’s a day worth seizing.

Meet June

Now I’m working with several non-profits, helping them to increase income and improve donor retention through direct response channels including mail, email, telephone and the web.

This includes raising funds through current donors, acquisition, monthly giving and major gifts.

I’ve had jobs in journalism, public relations, marketing and IT. I’m relatively new to the fundraising scene, having moved into my first fundraising management role at CBM Australia in 2008.

Then I began my direct response consultancy. Among my first clients were a couple of amazing charities. I enjoyed working with them so much that I decided to specialise in fundraising.

I’m a current member of the Fundraising Institute of Australia.

When I’m not in my office trying to figure out a fundraising offer, analysing appeal results data or writing an appeal letter, I’m playing chasey with my daughter her around the house or concocting a bad joke only my husband will laugh at (if I’m lucky).

View June Steward's profile on LinkedIn

How I fell into fundraising

I’m one of those people who plan their giving to charities every year. I love donating and I carefully select the causes and charities I care about. Then around May or June, I have a great time deciding how much I’ll give to each one.

I thought everyone did this. I wondered why charities would waste money sending me mail or ringing me up.

I was one of THOSE people who would rudely hang up on your telemarketers. Or ring you up in anger to DEMAND that you take my name off your database. And NEVER, EVER send me anything again.

After all, I reasoned, you didn’t have to convince me to give. I’d made my decision.

Apparently I’m a rare type of donor. It was a great surprise when I discovered most donors don’t plan their giving. They give because you ask them to.

How did I find this out? I got a job at a non-profit organisation. With amazement, I watched them send out huge volumes of mail to donors. Hundreds of thousands of pieces. Every month.

Worse, they would ring up donors to ask them for money. Horrors!

But they raised millions of dollars each year for people living in poverty all over the world. As a results-oriented person, I was forced to capitulate.

Sending mail, calling donors and now talking to donors via email, web and other channels… actually raises money. Lots of money. Money used to make the world a better place.

Far from wasting money, they were getting a fantastic return on investment.

The more I learned about fundraising, the more I loved it. I loved the strategy, the planning, the testing, the learning about donors. And as a writer, I loved creating the packages and writing the copy. Most of all, I loved seeing great results!


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