Monday, November 23, 2009

Nonprofit Books That Make Great Holiday Gifts

We have a tradition in our family for the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone is prepared with their list of books, CDs and DVDs they want for Christmas and we go to as a group and I get to do a good deal of my Christmas shopping all at once. I keep a notebook with notes on books I would like or I think will be a good gift and it has clippings I’ve saved during the year with books I’d like to have. Sometimes we just have an author or artist and we check to see if there is something new. Some things don’t make it to the order because I think they are too expensive or an individual’s budget has been met. All in all it is fun and a great way to get your shopping done.

This year I decided to blog about books you might want to give your nonprofit friends or put on your wishlist for the holidays. I’ve included books that I have read and blogged about and I asked my Nonprofit network on LinkedIn and Twitter what they recommend. The LinkedIn groups I asked are Web 2.0 for Nonprofit Organizations and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. So each book on this list comes with a recommendation from a member of the nonprofit community:

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath was recommended on LinkedIn by Bronwen Dearlove, and on Twitter by @MemberClicks. The book’s website says this book seeks to answer the questions: Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas?

Tom Luege recommended Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand by Rahaf Harfoush. Tom says this book “gives an excellent overview over how the Obama campaign used social media to mobilize people to donate time and money."
Read Tom’s review of Yes We Did

Sticking with technology, John Dukovich recommends Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission: A Strategic Guide for Nonprofit Leaders edited by Holly Ross, Katrin Verclas, and Alison Levine. He says “These days, it's all about choosing the technologies that complement and advance your organization, and effectively managing them once they are in place.”

EllenSmith-Israelson said the new Charles Bronfman book, The Art of Giving: Where the Soul Meets a Business Plan provides good insight into the strategies and motives of a major philanthropist. I also discussed this book in my post:
A Conversation about Foundation Giving, Individual Giving, Motivation and What Should Be Done

Another book in the Philanthropy category” that I have read and blogged about is Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker
by Bill Somerville. This slim, thought provoking volume is a quick read.
My review of Grassroots Philanthropy

There are lots of books about fundraising but these two should top any list:
No list of books would be complete without Ask Without Fear!: A Simple Guide to Connecting Donors With What Matters to Them Most
by Marc A. Pitman. The reviews on Amazon say it all.

Esther Alix and Brad Stith recommended Fundraising When Money Is Tight by Mal Warwick. Their comments: “It's a good reminder of fundamentals.” “A must read for these times.”

And for Board Members:
June Bradham said that many organizations are giving copies of her book to their boards and staff for holiday presents. You can read more about What Nonprofit Boards Want. Nine Little Things that Matter Most. at June's website. This book also has great reviews at

Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World by David LaPiana is great for a board beginning to think about what they’ll do for strategic planning. They may decide on a whole new and streamlined approach after they read this book.
My take on The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution

There has been a lot of buzz on Twitter about The Pollyanna Principles: Reinventing "Nonprofit Organizations" to Create the Future of Our World by Hildy Gottlieb. You can learn about this book and read a sizable excerpt at the website. (My five month old grandson has been sitting on my lap for a while and he really liked the cover of this book shown on the website.)

People Issues
With all the discussion about the impending retirement of Baby Boomers a new book from Fieldstone Alliance, Managing Executive Transitions: A Guide for NonprofitsBy Tim Wolfred may be the perfect gift for some people.

And on the flip side of managing executive transitions for someone interested in working in the community benefit sector, also from Fieldstone Alliance is The Nonprofit Career Guide: How to Land a Job That Makes a Difference by Shelly Cryer

I know this list in incomplete. Please add your own recommendations to the comments and let us know if you buy one of this books what you think. I’ve added an Amazon widget in the sidebar so that you can just click and go to Amazon to find out more about any of these titles or buy the book. If there are a bunch more recommendations maybe I'll make another post.

I’ll be placing my order on Friday. It will be my grandson’s first day after Thanksgiving Amazon ordering party. He really doesn’t need anything but that is completely irrelevant.


Marc A. Pitman, CFCC said...

What a great list. Honored to be included on it!

ntenhross said...

Thanks for including us Marion! I would also add that I keep coming back to Forces for Good this year. Not a new book, but really great.

DDC said...

Thanks for pulling this list together, it's great to see and will plan to add a few to my reading list.

Shannon Otto said...

Thanks for including our suggestion, Marion! I hope you enjoy "Made to Stick."

Unknown said...

I would add Edgar H. Schein's 'Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help,' which could be useful to nonprofit professionals on many levels.

Unknown said...

Everyone should also know about "The Nonprofit Guide to Going Green," which will be the first comprehensive work on the subject. I am one of the editors and authored the chapter on green fundraising. It comes out Dec 14, but right now you can put it on hold at Amazon:

Joanne Fritz said...

Thanks for such a nice list, Marion. I would add Peter Singer, The Life You Can Save; and Shel Israel's Twitterville, which has some terrific info about fundraising on Twitter.

Frank Martinelli said...

Great list! Can I also suggest our Nonprofit Picks of the Week soon to be entering its sixth year. We include a "Publication of the Week" pick.

Frank Martinelli