An Orwellian View Of Fundraising

October 24, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

Fundraisers might not think they have much to learn from George Orwell, author of such futuristic books as “Animal Farm” and “1984.” But Ken Burnett, author of “The Zen of Fundraising,” thinks Orwell might have words of wisdom that could be of tremendous benefit.

Those words come not from either of the well-known novels but from Orwell’s essay “Why I Write.” The author explains his reasons for putting pen to paper, and Burnett thinks fundraisers can take a lesson from it, especially if they look past the desire to produce a work of art and focus instead on getting a message across.

    Orwell wrote that he didn’t set out to produce a great work of art, but wrote from other motivations:

  • Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered.
  • Aesthetic enthusiasm. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story.
  • Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.
  • Political purpose. Using the word “political” in the widest possible sense, this means a desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society for which they should strive.