The Porcupine Principle

Fundraising can be a prickly business...

the porcupine principle book cover

The Porcupine Principle is your unique companion that provides thought-provoking insight into the art of fundraising and also a fresh and engaging take on how to be an outstanding fundraiser.

It features 41 mini-stories, which illustrate that it’s not just the mechanics of fundraising that you need to understand but also the motivations of people who give.

Who should buy this book?

Invaluable for all voluntary and paid fundraisers, this book will challenge and change your assumptions and make you reflect deeply on how and why you fundraise.

What does it cover?

Hugely popular when originally published back in 2006, this fully revised second edition features eight new stories making up the collection of 41 humorous and pin-sharp vignettes. Peppered with practical fundraising tips and adroit advice, it includes:

  • Divine compost – why what you do now matters
  • Move the snail – how problem-solving can be simpler
  • The map is not the territory – accepting that change will happen

What people say about this book

‘This book is superb and it should be essential reading for anyone in fundraising… The Porcupine Principle is not a dry read. It is teeming with theories and ideas, and is a relevant and well-written challenge to all fundraisers.’

Lindsay Boswell, former CEO, Institute of Fundraising and former CEO, FareShare


‘Thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking  read. This gem shares nuggets of wisdom through engaging short stories that will resonate with every fundraiser at every level of their careers. It won’t just entertain you – it will leave you thinking!’

Katie Docherty, CEO, Chartered Institute of Fundraising


‘Contains a wealth of ideas from someone who has been there and done it.’

Sir Stuart Etherington, former CEO, NCVO


‘It is rare to read a book about fundraising that makes you smile, teaches you something unexpected and leaves you with plenty to mull over. Jonathan breaks down many fundraising myths with great humility and reminds us why we choose the rollercoaster of a career in fundraising.’

Judi Newman, CEO, St Elizabeth Hospice


‘This is a great little witty read that is so well written. Best of all, it is probably the only fundraising book that might trigger a snigger. It’s packed with wise fundraising vignettes and no-nonsense nuggets of myth-busting practical advice. It has great humanity running through it, and you will learn much more than just about fundraising. Enjoy!’

Sam Rider, NFP Catalyst Consulting


‘Broken into bite-sized chapters and with references ranging from Take That to the Romans, to (of course) porcupines, this book is an accessible and engaging read. Its many practical tips made me rethink not just how I approach fundraising but also how I think about charities more broadly.’

Sarah Vibert, CEO, NCVO


Look inside

Have a look inside The Porcupine Principle.

About the author

Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood

Jonathan is Director of Giving for the Church of England and is also a Lay Canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. He has held senior leadership, fundraising and governance roles within the charity sector for over 30 years. While at St Luke’s Hospice in Plymouth, his ‘Thanks a Million’ campaign won the Institute of Public Relations Gold Award for best community PR campaign in the country. He is a full member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, has a certificate in management and holds an MA in Applied Theology.

Jonathan speaks at events on fundraising, marketing and management. The Porcupine Principle, originally written in 2007, has quickly developed into a unique fundraising classic.


Jonathan has kindly donated his full author fee for this book to Force Cancer Charity.


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