Our Favorite Nonprofit Books

Give-and-Take-Image-225x300.jpgIn keeping with this month’s theme of “Back to School Books,” we want to share a few of our favorite nonprofit resource books with you. Thanks to the YNPN Board members and other community members for their recommendations! We’ve linked to each book on the Seattle Public Library website when possible and have used their summaries for your convenience. All other links and summaries are from Amazon or directly from the books’ websites. We also received a lot of suggestions for online resources, which we will be publishing in a separate post next month, so stay tuned! Please share your favorite nonprofit resource books in the comments!

Psst, Don't forget that our FIRST EVER book club meeting is November 4!

Hint: You can search this page for easy reference by category! (Categories include: best practices, communications, individual work, productivity, marketing, nonprofits' stories, nonprofit sector, national leadership, resource list, fundraising, organizational development, self-assessment, strategy, strengths, storytelling, and writing.)

Book Title & Author Categories Summary
Getting Things Done – David Allen Individual Work, Productivity In today's world, yesterday's methods just don't work. Veteran coach and management consultant David Allen recognizes that time management is useless the minute your schedule is interrupted; setting priorities isn't relevant when your e-mail is down; procrastination solutions won't help if your goals aren't clear. Instead, Allen shares with readers the proven methods he has already introduced in seminars and at top organizations across the country. The key to Getting Things Done? Relaxation. Allen's premise is simple: our ability to be productive is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve stress-free productivity. His seamless system teaches us how to identify, track, and-most important-choose the next action on all our tasks, commitments, and projects and thus master all the demands on our time while unleashing our creative potential. The book's stylish, dynamic design makes it easy to follow Allen's tips, examples, and inspiration to achieve what we all seek-energy, focus, and relaxed control.
StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath Self-Assessment, Individual Work, Productivity, Strengths Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?Chances are, you don't. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in 2001 which ignited a global conversation and helped millions to discover their top five talents.In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment, language of 34 themes, and much more (see below for details). While you can read this book in one sitting, you'll use it as a reference for decades.
Charity Case – Dan Pallotta Nonprofit Sector, National Leadership A blueprint for a national leadership movement to transform the way the public thinks about giving Virtually everything our society has been taught about charity is backwards. We deny the social sector the ability to grow because of our short-sighted demand that it send every short-term dollar into direct services. Yet if the sector cannot grow, it can never match the scale of our great social problems. In the face of this dilemma, the sector has remained silent, defenseless, and disorganized. "In Charity Case," Pallotta proposes a visionary solution: a Charity Defense Council to re-educate the public and give charities the freedom they need to solve our most pressing social issues. Proposes concrete steps for how a national Charity Defense Council will transform the public understanding of the humanitarian sector, including: building an anti-defamation league and legal defense for the sector, creating a massive national ongoing ad campaign to upgrade public literacy about giving, and ultimately enacting a National Civil Rights Act for Charity and Social Enterprise From Dan Pallotta, renowned builder of social movements and inventor of the multi-day charity event industry (including the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Days) that has cumulatively raised over $1.1 billion for critical social causes The hotly-anticipated follow-up to Pallotta's groundbreaking book "Uncharitable" Grounded in Pallotta's clear vision and deep social sector experience, Charity Case is a fascinating wake-up call for fixing the culture that thwarts our charities' ability to change the world.
Recommended Reading for Nonprofit Leaders – The Bridgespan Group Resource List, Books of all kinds! Over the years, we have interviewed a number of nonprofit leaders, seeking their advice on myriad nonprofit leadership, recruiting, and career topics. Their thoughtful feedback and advice has proven valuable, so when we decided to ask “What resources have you read that you would recommend to other nonprofit leaders?” it seemed natural to start with these same individuals. Here we share a number of nonprofit leaders’ top picks which you can find in the Bridgespan Amazon bookstore. We hope you find their recommendations helpful as you consider your reading list.
Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits – Ilona Bray Fundraising Features advice and stories from over fifty experienced fundraisers, with information on how to work with individual donors, plan special events, solicit grants, get media coverage, and use the Web to further fundraising goals.
Good to Great – James C. Collins Organizational Development, Strategy Answers to commonly asked questions about how good-to-great principles can help social sector organizations make the leap to greatness, using interviews with over 100 social sector leaders.
Made to Stick – Heath & Heath Marketing, Communications, Storytelling Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas--business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others--struggle to make their ideas "stick." Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? Educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the "human scale principle," using the "Velcro Theory of Memory," and creating "curiosity gaps." In this fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures), we discover that sticky messages of all kinds--from the infamous "kidney theft ring" hoax to a coach's lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony--draw their power from the same six traits. This book that will transform the way you communicate ideas.--From publisher description.
Switch – Heath & Heath Organizational Development, Strategy, Nonprofit Sector Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our own brains, say authors Chip and Dan Heath. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two systems - the rational and the emotional - that compete for control. Here the Heaths show how everyday people have united both minds and achieved dramatic results.
The Power of Social Innovation – Stephen Goldsmith Organizational Development, Strategy, Nonprofit Sector This seminal book provides tools for civic entrepreneurs to create healthier communities and promote innovative solutions to public and social problems. It shows how to effectively tackle the intractable issues facing our country and world by exploring new ways to collaborate across sectors and leveraging strengths for the greater good. Based on the author's experience, his extensive ongoing research, and interviews with 100+ top leaders from across sectors, this book is structured around the six levers and guiding principles employed in the most effective entrepreneurial interventions.
On Writing Well – William Zinsser Writing, Marketing, Communications On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. With more than a million copies sole, this volume has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.
Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-impact Nonprofits - Leslie R. Crutchfield Organizational Development, Strategy, Nonprofit Sector Best Practices An updated edition of a groundbreaking book on best practices for nonprofits What makes great nonprofits great? In the original book, authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant employed a rigorous research methodology derived from for-profit books like Built to Last. They studied 12 nonprofits that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact 'from Habitat for Humanity to the Heritage Foundation' and distilled six counterintuitive practices that these organizations use to change the world. Features a new introduction that explores the new context in which nonprofits operate and the consequences for these organizations Includes a new chapter on applying the Six Practices to small, local nonprofits, including some examples of these organizations Contains an update on the 12 organizations featured in the original book'how they have fared, what they've learned, and where they are now in their growth trajectory This book has lessons for all readers interested in creating significant social change, including nonprofit managers, donors, and volunteers.
Mountains Beyond Mountains – Tracy Kidder  Leadership, Nonprofits' stories Tracy Kidder is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, Among Schoolchildren, and Home Town. He has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the "master of the non-fiction narrative." This powerful and inspiring new book shows how one person can make a difference, as Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it. At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life's calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer--brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti--blasts through convention to get results…
Banker To The Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty – Muhammad Yunus  Leadership, nonprofits' stories "Muhammad Yunus is that rare thing: a bona fide visionary. His dream is the total eradication of poverty from the world. In 1983, against the advice of banking and government officials, Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with minuscule loans. Grameen Bank, based on the belief that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a fortunate few, now provides over 2.5 billion dollars of micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh. Ninety-four percent of Yunus's clients are women, and repayment rates are near 100 percent. Around the world, micro-lending programs inspired by Grameen are blossoming, with more than three hundred programs established in the United States alone. Banker to the Poor is Muhammad Yunus's memoir of how he decided to change his life in order to help the world's poor. In it he traces the intellectual and spiritual journey that led him to fundamentally rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor, and the challenges he and his colleagues faced in founding Grameen. He also provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in "putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long." The definitive history of micro-credit direct from the man that conceived of it, Banker to the Poor is necessary and inspirational reading for anyone interested in economics, public policy, philanthropy, social history, and business. Muhammad Yunus was born in Bangladesh and earned his Ph.D. in economics in the United States at Vanderbilt University, where he was deeply influenced by the civil rights movement. He still lives in Bangladesh, and travels widely around the world on behalf of Grameen Bank and the concept of micro-credit."- Publisher's web site.

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  • published this page in Blog 2016-01-21 15:43:22 -0800

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