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Ten Books for Nonprofit Professionals

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Yes, I am going to contribute to the continuing listification of the Internet. But hey, who doesn't like a good Top Ten list? Here are some books on my shelf that I keep going back to for wisdom and inspiration.


b2ap3_thumbnail_sustain.jpgNonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability
by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, Steve Zimmerman

208 pages, published Nov 2010, $28

When it comes to decision-making, as I've written before, we sometimes let our subjective opinions or biases get in the way. Bell, Masaoka, and Zimmerman provide an excellent framework that will help you and your team give importance to the aspects of your planning that deserve it.


b2ap3_thumbnail_organization.jpgA Nonprofit Organization Operating Manual: Planning for Survival and Growth
by Arnold J. Olenick, Philip R. Olenick

484 pages, 3rd edition published Jul 1991, $30

This has been out for a while but it covers all the basics of finance, budgeting, HR and more. Some may think that's boring stuff but if you don't get this part right, you risk going down in flames. This book has all the info you need to keep your organization out of the fire.


b2ap3_thumbnail_achieve.jpgAchieving Excellence in Fundraising
Editors: Eugene R. Tempel, Timothy L. Seiler, Eva E. Aldrich

554 pages, 3rd edition published Nov 2010, $48

A classic on philanthropy and charitable work, this book is packed with wisdom, advice, and inspiration.


b2ap3_thumbnail_managers.jpgTrade Secrets for Nonprofit Managers
by Thomas A. McLaughlin

240 pages, published Nov 2001, $42

Thomas McLaughlin, an expert on finance and strategic management for nonprofits, has authored several books that you may find useful. He is a contributing editor for Nonprofit Times, one of my favorite publications.


b2ap3_thumbnail_ultimate.gifThe Ultimate Board Member's Book: A 1-Hour Guide to Understanding and Fulfilling Your Role and Responsibilities
by Kay Sprinkel Grace

110 pages, published Nov 2003, $34

This guide should be part of your board member orientation and it's a good one to share with staff who work with board members, too. We all have expectations about who's responsible for what and many problems can be avoided just by having roles and responsibilities clearly articulated and communicated.


b2ap3_thumbnail_truth.jpgThe Truth About What Nonprofit Boards Want: The Nine Little Things That Matter Most
by June J. Bradham, CFRE

141 pages, published Jun 2009, $32 (e-book)

Whether you are an executive director, administrative assistant, or junior staffer who works with board committees, do yourself a favor and read this book. There are no great organizations without great boards leading them and you definitely don't want your best board members to get frustrated and leave.


b2ap3_thumbnail_spunk.jpgSpunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style
by Arthur Plotnik

288 pages, published May 2007, $12

You really can't be a great nonprofit executive if your writing skills are lacking and what you learned in school may not be what works in the real world. Spunk & Bite will help you to write copy that people will actually read instead of walls of text that make the eyes glaze over.


b2ap3_thumbnail_woe.jpgWoe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English
by Patricia T. O'Conner

228 pages, 3rd edition published Jul 2010, $13

An excellent companion to Spunk & Bite, this is the book I reach for when I have a question about possessives, plurals, or punctuation. (Note: Oxford comma fans will be pleased with Ms. O'Conner's stance.)


b2ap3_thumbnail_zen.jpgPresentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations
by Garr Reynolds

288 pages, 2nd edition published Dec 2013, $40

Who hasn't had to put together a slide deck for one thing or another? Presentation Zen puts a bullet in bulleted lists, so to speak. If you have a message to share, visuals and design are becoming an increasingly important part of communication.


b2ap3_thumbnail_purple.jpgPurple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
by Seth Godin

224 pages, published Nov 2009, $15

"You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice."

I suppose there are people out there who want to be average but I bet you're not one of them.

For me, fundraising and communications go together like peanut butter and jelly – delicious & filling!

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