MSK Partners


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Fundraising of Old

Eglantyne Jebb might be called the ‘mother’ of non-profit marketing – the deluge of fundraising ads that today scream for attention from TV screens, newspapers, the web, and our mail boxes.

Jebb was the founder of global children’s charity Save the Children – and pioneered the kind of communication techniques that modern charity marketers now see as the norm.

She was rather controversial. Jebb was taken to court in May 1919 accused of being a traitor for distributing a poster in Trafalgar Square, London showing emaciated Austrian children threatened with starvation because of an Allied blockade lasting beyond the end of World War 1.

The former teacher, though, showed what a persuasive advocate she could be. Despite being fined £5, she got a donation for her charity from the prosecuting counsel.

Jebb understood the value of publicity for what she did. She ran the first full-page charity ad in The Times of London, which helped raise £400,000 – the equivalent of about $13 million today – by the end of Save the Children’s first year.

And she was one of the first non-profit organizers to understand the value of sponsorship and celebrity endorsement by persuading Thomas Hardy and George Bernard Shaw to give their support.

As she famously said: “The world is not ungenerous but unimaginative and very busy.”

Filed under: Communication