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12 Books for Non-profit Managers

12 Books for Non-profit Managers

We take a look at 12 books recommended by =mc as being thought pieces, influencers and guides for non-profit managers and emerging managers. Add to the list by leaving us a comment.

1. Managing at the Leading Edge

by Mike Hudson
This is a great insight into organisational thinking for non-profits in the UK and wider. Hudson covers governance, management, leadership, and strategic alliances. He bases his work on practical experience as a consultant.

2. Managing the Non-Profit Organization: Practices and Principles

by Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker was one of the great management thinkers of the 20th century. He had a great passion for the work of not-for-profits. The book covers, through interviews and writing, marketing, mission and managing yourself.

3. Breakthrough Thinking for Nonprofit Organizations: Creative Strategies for Extraordinary Results

by Bernard Ross and Clare Segal

First book by =mc founders Clare Segal and Bernard Ross. The book essentially explores how to transform your performance as a not- for profit organization. Great international case studies based on their consulting work and full of wonderful examples of breakthrough ideas in practice. The book one best non-profit management book award in the USA in 2005- the only time Europeans have won this award.

4. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

by Jim Collins

This book has become enormously influential in the business world but the lessons are almost entirely applicable to not for profits too. The book is based around the study of a small number of companies that have achieved sustained significant growth. The learning from these companies is incorporated in a small number of powerful metaphoric ideas- ranging from the hedgehog principle to the flywheel and clock.


There is also a companion monograph specifically for charities. Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

5. Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits

by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant

The authors studied US nonprofits over four years and identified 12 outstanding organizations that shared six best practices. The best practices are advocate and serve, make markets work, inspire evangelists, nurture networks, master adaptation, and share leadership. All are nicely illustrated with examples and case studies. The organizations ranged from Habitat for Humanity to The Heritage Foundation so the focus is very US-based.
The book also covers six key misconceptions which are a useful complement to the six good practices.

6. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip and Dan Heath

The Heath Brothers have identified the key elements of a sticky idea- one that is memorable and makes a lasting impact. The idea is summed up in one word SUCCESs. This word is the formula covering: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories. Obvious? Well yes but we are all victims of the Curse of Knowledge- knowing too much about our cause. The book is a great mix of case studies and academic research. And although not strictly for not-for-profits it has great resonance for the way we share our complex messages.

7. Relationship Fundraising: A Donor-based Approach to the Business of Raising Money

by Ken Burnett

Ken Burnett is single handedly responsible for inventing a whole new way of thinking about fundraising- relationship fundraising. This is an update of the original groundbreaking book with lots of great advice based on case studies. The book is well written so a pleasure to read- with great action points to put the ideas into practice. Ken is also generous in his praise of others’ work and damming of the kind of factory fundraising that destroys donor confidence.

8. The Influential Fundraiser: Using the Psychology of Persuasion to Achieve Outstanding Results

by Clare Segal and Bernard Ross

In this book Bernard Ross and Clare Segal =mc directors combine their practical experience of international fundraising and the latest psychological and neurological research to show how to become influential. Using a 5P original model they developed the book offers step-by-step guidance for gaining confidence and learning the necessary skills and techniques ideas have a powerful impact. The result?… successful relationships and substantial amounts of money raised.

9. Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World and Why We Should Let Them

by Matthew Bishop & Michael Green

This book caused quite a buzz when it was published some months ago. The thesis is very simple- that there is, even post crunch, a significant amount of money in the hands of a small number of people-Bill Gates is a good example- and with the proper motivations these individuals could address many of the major social inequalities we face.

10. Digital Giving: How Technology is Changing Charity

by Dick Mc Pherson

Dick MacPherson has written an accessible and useful guide to new technology in charities. It’s not quite up to date with twitter etc but nonetheless provides some really useful principles- based on interviews and insights- on which to build any digital relationship with donors.

11. Ten Steps to Fundraising Success: Choosing the Right Strategy for Your Organization

by Mal Warwick

Mal Warwick tends to write more about techniques than strategy, but this book is a solid and substantial read in terms of the big issues you need to address when designing an approach for your organisation. It’s clearly written as you’d expect from a copy-meister and the steps are methodical and sensible.

12. The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave: How You Can Inspire Someone to Give Generously

by Harvey McKinnon
This is ‘a watershed book in the field of fundraising’.
People might well point to Harvey McKinnon’s work and say, Harvey has identified 11 core questions, ranging from “Why me?” to “Will my gift make a difference?” to “Will I have a say over how you use my gift?” Fortunately he has also supplied suggested answers each illustrated by wonderful examples from how the chair of a YWCA sparked a first-time gift of $100,000 with a single disarming question from her heart to how, with an exquisite 30-minute presentation and a double-shot of espresso, the Head of Fundraising for Greenpeace transformed a $1M gift into a $10M one.

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