Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Need a Holiday Gift for Someone in the Nonprofit Community - A Curated List of Books

This is the third year that I am making a list of books that you might want to consider giving to your nonprofit friends. This is a curated list - I asked leaders in the nonprofit community to contribute to this blog post. This year’s contributors to this list are Marc Pitman, Gail Perry, Maria Semple, Linda Czipo, Amy Sample Ward and a few of my own.

Amy Sample Ward
Amy Sample Ward was clearly thinking about new ways of thinking about organizational structure and people working together when she recommended this trio:
The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age
by David J. Neff and Randal C. Moss

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (Hardcover)
by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom

Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World
by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant

These books are sure to give you a whole new outlook about how your organization can be successful in the future.

Linda Czipo, Executive Director of the Center for Nonprofits in New Jersey was also thinking about developing stronger nonprofits when she recommended:

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability
by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman. Linda gives it a rave review with these comments: “It helps guide organization managers through crucial analyses (fund raising profiles, program and organizational viability, etc.) in a very accessible manner. Great blend of user-friendly prose, matrices, and diagrams to help organizations sift through the "tough questions." Very useful.” Every year I add some books to my own reading list as I put this one together and this is certainly a must read for me this year.

Marc Pitman
Marc Pitman has been reading books about human behavior and as the "fundraiser extraordinaire" that he is, he knows that understanding human behavior is a key to successful fundraising. Here are his recommendations:

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini. If you read Influence by Cialdini – this is the sequel with lots of examples of the principles.

How We Decide
by Jonah Lehrer. This book describes the neuroscience behind decision making, and is a good compliment to Yes!

Two other good fundraising building block books are by two of the contributors of this list.

Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion Into Action (AFP Fund Development Series) (The AFP/Wiley Fund Development Series)
by Gail Perry

"Panning for Gold: Find Your Best Donor Prospects NOW!"  by Maria Semple is an interactive e-book with links to 75 websites used by prospect researchers. Vist Maria’s website to download this book. http://www.theprospectfinder.com/id12.html.

Encore Recommendations
Books recommended over the last two years and now recommended again include:

Ask Without Fear!: A Simple Guide to Connecting Donors With What Matters to Them Most by Marc Pitman

50 Asks in 50 Weeks: A Guide to Better Fundraising for Your Small Development Shop
by Amy Eisenstain

The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change
by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine

The Pollyanna Principles: Reinventing "Nonprofit Organizations" to Create the Future of Our World
by Hildy Gottlieb

See the links to those posts at the end of this article.

Now for my picks.

I have to include You and Your Nonprofit: Practical Advice and Tips from the CharityChannel Professional Community
- I am proud to be a contributor to this book featuring over 40 contributors with articles on a wide range of topics important to nonprofit professionals. It features practical advice and tips from the Charity Channel Nonprofit Professional Community. This is an excellent on the shelf resource for new and experienced nonprofit leaders alike. There is a 25% discount until 12/31/11 if referred by a contributor. See the sidebar for details.

I’d like to also include a couple of good children's books for your holiday gift list. My favorite is
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
by Barack Obama
I reviewed this book featuring stories about American heroes and beautiful illustrations at my other blog – The Grandma Chronicles. This book is one of those that should be on every child’s bookshelf.

Kate Smith Milway has written another excellent book for children: The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough (CitizenKid)
is about a young girl in Hounduras who learns new farming techniques at school, uses them and home, and grows food that can be sold in the local market. This book takes a difficult subject and tells an upbeat story. 

I hope you find a book that is of interest to you on this list. I know that I have. The list goes the gamut from philisophical and strategic to the practical and down to earth. The common thread is the interest these books should have for the nonprofit community.  I thank Amy, Gail. Linda, Maria and Marc for their thoughtful contributions to this list.

Some Related Links:

A Wish List of Books for Nonprofit Folk - 2010
Nonprofit Books That Make Great Holiday Gifts - 2009

Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2010 – The Well Known and a Few Discoveries (2009)
You and Your Nonprofit – Just Published!
Of Thee I Sing - A Letter to my Daughters by Barack Obama

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