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About Mal Warwick

mal warwick

I am a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Northern California Book Reviewers. I served as a judge for General Nonfiction for the 35th Annual Northern California Book Awards. I began writing this blog in January 2010.

I’m the co-author with Paul Polak of The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers, published September 2013 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. The Business Solution to Poverty won a Gold Award in the 2014 Axiom Business Book Awards.

I call myself an author, book reviewer, impact investor, and sometime activist. I’m one of three partners in the One World Play Project, a social enterprise I helped establish in Berkeley, California, in 2010; in addition to a growing list of other products, we manufacture and distribute a virtually indestructible soccer ball that never goes flat. The company has distributed more than 1,600,000 balls, bringing the joy of play to over 48 million disadvantaged children in more than 175 countries.

For three decades—the 1980s, 90s, and 00s—I focused on the nonprofit sector as an author, consultant, and public speaker on marketing and fundraising for nonprofit organizations and on the private sector as an advocate for socially and environmentally responsible business policies and practices.

Is that enough for you? If not, and if you have a lot of patience, read on . . .

I’m the founder and chairman of Mal Warwick | Donordigital (, Berkeley, CA, and Washington, DC), a fundraising agency specializing in integrated, multi-channel fundraising and marketing that has served nonprofit organizations nationwide since 1979. The company is a Founding B Corporation and is now employee-owned.

I’ve written or edited a total of twenty books, including the best-selling fundraising text, How to Write Successful Fundraising Letters. The third edition was released by Jossey-Bass Publishers in June 2013 under the title How to Write Successful Fundraising Appeals.

A serial entrepreneur, I’ve been active in promoting social and environmental responsibility in the business community nationwide for two decades. I’m the co-author of Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money, and Have Fun (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006) with Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s. The Business Solution to Poverty is my second book for Berrett-Koehler.

Along with Cohen and others, I was a co-founder of Business for Social Responsibility in 1992 and served on its board during its inaugural year. In 2001, after more than a decade as an active member of Social Venture Network, I began a six-year stretch (2001-7) on its board, serving as Vice-Chair for two years and Chair for four; for several years, I chaired SVN’s Board Nomination Advisory Committee, and I co-chaired the organization’s 25th anniversary conference in New York in fall 2012. I was also a member of the Founding Advisory Board of the Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2002-3.

For 25 years until February 2011, I edited the free monthly electronic newsletter, Mal Warwick’s Newsletter: Successful Direct Mail, Telephone & Online Fundraising™, which served more than 10,000 subscribers in 69 countries. During my fundraising career, I spoke and led workshops throughout the world, teaching fundraising on six continents to nonprofit executives from more than 100 countries.

Among the hundreds of nonprofits my colleagues and I served over the years are many of the nation’s largest and most distinguished charities as well as six Democratic Presidential candidates and scores of small, local, and regional organizations. (The company’s most notable Presidential campaigns were those for Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, and Paul Wellstone.) Collectively, my associates and I were responsible for raising close to one billion dollars—largely in the form of small gifts from individuals.

I played a leadership role in the fundraising and direct marketing fields both nationally and internationally. In 2009 and 2010, I co-founded and chaired the International Fundraising Congress Online, the world’s first virtual fundraising conference, involving more than 400 sites in 42 countries, and I chaired its successor, Fundraising Online 2011. Previously, in 2007-8, I served as Chair of that event’s sponsor, the international Resource Alliance (London, UK). The Resource Alliance is the organizer of the annual International Fundraising Congress in The Netherlands and a leading force globally in developing the fundraising capacity of nongovernmental organizations to build civil society. Having helped establish one of its two predecessor organizations in the early 1980s, I was also an active member of the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation (Washington, D.C.). I also served for ten years on the board of the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel (Washington, D.C.), two of those years as President.

In 2004, I received the Hank Rosso Award as Outstanding Fundraising Executive from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter and Northern California Grantmakers. In 2009, I was granted the Max L. Hart Nonprofit Leadership Award by the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation, in recognition of my lifetime contributions to direct marketing.

I chaired the board of GreatNonprofits (San Francisco, CA) for six years (2009-14), which is partnering with major institutions to bring the voice of donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries to the forefront in evaluating the impact of nonprofit organizations.

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador for more than three years in the 1960s, and in 2015 I joined the Board of Directors of the National Peace Corps Association. Since 1969 I’ve lived in Berkeley, California, where for a great many years I was deeply involved in local community affairs. Early in the 1990s, I co-founded the Community Bank of the Bay (Oakland, CA), the nation’s fifth community development bank, and the Berkeley Community Fund, where I served on the board (with one year as its president) until 2006. I also served for 11 years as Vice-President of the Board of the Berkeley Symphony (1991-2002).

In 2006, I was awarded the Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal by the Berkeley Community Fund as “Berkeley’s most useful citizen” in recognition of lifetime contributions to the community. I joined environmental leader David Brower, celebrated chef and restaurateur Alice Waters, renowned orchestra conductor Kent Nagano, and other notable Berkeleyans as a recipient of the award.

I’m the grandfather of Dayna, Iain, Matthew, Gwen, Andrew, Kaleb, and Benjamin.

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