The dog days of summer are here, and whether your summer plans include travel, days in the water, or just more time in the Air Conditioning (no judgement), it is a great chance to take some time and invest in yourself and your mind by picking up a book! Below, I’ve compiled a Summer Reading List of books focused on personal and professional development which I hope will be relevant to our YNPN members and friends! These books came out of a combination of online research, recommendations from fellow nonprofit professionals, and existing lists (shown below) These books are separated according by personal and professional development, and then by the broader non-profit industry and the sub-sectors, such as marketing, fundraising, etc. Take a look, and let us know in the comments if you plan to read any of them!
How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Associates
Even if you’ve read the original HTWFAIP, this is a great update, and covers a lot about how we can build relationships, even across immense distances, which hasn’t always been possible! Life’s better when we do it together, so let’s get good at doing it together.
The Fine Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine
This is a great read for anyone from the person who stays in the bathroom at networking events, to the person who thinks they have nothing more to learn about networking. Relationships between people are what our sector is built on, and the truth is, most relationships start with small talk. If we can get good at something most people dislike and are notoriously bad at, we can stand out and our profession will be advanced (This is actually next up on my personal list, and I’m super excited about it).
Drive by Daniel Pink
Daniel Pink flips motivation on its head in this book, and teaches us some surprising things about how we can motivate others, and even ourselves, focusing on autonomy, mastery, and purpose as mechanisms to do so. If you need to break a cycle of burnout, lethargy, inefficiency, or are looking to take your effectiveness to the next level, this is a great read for you!
Never Eat Alone, and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi.
Relationships are built on commonalities. And what is one thing we all have in common? We all eat! So why not use it as a shared experience? Avoid falling into the background, and always be a “standout” by using Ferrazzi’s system of 1) don’t keep score, 2) “ping” constantly, 3) Never Eat Alone, and 4) Become the “King of Content.”
The Nonprofit Industry
The Revolution Will Not be Funded by Incite!*
This book was written by many nonprofit experts and strategists, with a goal to evaluate the history of the nonprofit sector, as well as where we need to go in the future. We all love our sector, but there’s no denying there are major flaws in the way we operate, which these authors call the “non-profit industrial complex.” This book seeks to break the mold and provide a different framework within which nonprofits can accomplish their missions.
Culture Code by Daniel Coyle
Coyle looks at many groups and businesses, including the San Antonio Spurs, US Navy SEAL Team Six, Zappos, and Upright Citizens Brigade to find out what makes a team successful, and how diverse groups function with a single mind. This is a great read for both team leaders and team members, as it shows that culture is what you ARE, not what you DO, and a team’s strength comes from who they ARE, together.
Asking by Jerold Panas
This book, from the late author and fundraising expert is the greatest use of your lunch break I can think of. It literally takes less than an hour to read, and will change your perspective on why and how fundraisers do their job. If you have trouble working up the courage to ask a donor for funds, or difficulty telling when might be the right time to ask, give this book 45 minutes -- I promise you won’t regret it.
Keep Your Donors by Tom Ahern & Simone P. Joyeaux
Part of the AFP Fund Development Series, this book is a comprehensive guide to getting new donors, and keeping them. This is a must-read for anyone looking for a proactive way to increase their organization’s fundraising.
Donor-Centered Fundraising by Penelope Burk
Ask any group of nonprofit professionals what book helped them the most in their career, and this one will probably come up multiple times. This is a classic, and is another one a person can read multiple times and always get something different. It’s humorous, applicable, and poignant, and is a must-read for anyone in the fundraising field.
Successful Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations: Winning in the Age of the Elusive Donor by Barry J. McLeish
I actually read this in college, and thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the report I did on it. It balances well between jargon and layman’s terms, so a seasoned nonprofit marketer and an entry level young professional would both stand to benefit from reading this book. You walk away from this book with tangible tactics and new techniques for analyzing your market, enabling to better share your organization’s story.
BrandRaising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money Through Smart Communications by Sarah Durham
This innovative read will show you how to stand out in the oft-crowded business world, and leverage your brand to win more charitable dollars. Durham looks at marketing in a nonprofit-specific light, and provides a framework for effective positioning which can benefit your whole organization.
The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D and Spencer Johnson, M.D.
This is another one that takes less than an hour to read, but will pay dividends for as long as you think about it. It’s an allegory about a manager that finds a new way to cut through the red tape and monotony of the world, and empower his employees like they haven’t been before.
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
Conflict can be scary, especially when tensions are as high as they can be in mission-driven work. Whether the conflict in our lives is in the workplace, with a donor or constituent, etc, we could all use a little guidance sometimes. Conflict, when handled well, can lead to a better relationship than there was before the conflict if we can just navigate it correctly.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
Radical Candor provides a roadmap to becoming both a better boss and a better colleague. Hint: the trick is to CARE. Scott explains how you can care about your team, and simultaneously expect the best out of them by Caring Personally, and Challenging Directly.
Start With Why by Simon Sinek (also TED talk)
Simon Sinek is the force behind the growing movement, Start With Why, which urges people to break the mold of, “Here’s what I do, here’s how I do it, here’s why it matters,” and move towards “Here’s the difference I can make, here’s how it can happen, so here’s what I’m going to do.” You may recognize him from his TED Talk. Read this book to dive into the details of how Sinek’s “Golden Circle” can change the way you see almost everything.
Shout out to these resources for suggesting some of the books on this list:
The (Almost) Complete Reading List for Fundraisers by Lisa Sargent
Your Summer Reading List is Here! by Lynne Wester
*INCITE includes Christine E. Ahn, Robert L. Allen, Alisa Bierria, Nicole Burrowes, Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA), William Cordery, Morgan Cousins, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Stephanie Guilloud, Adjoa Florência Jones de Almeida, Tiffany Lethabo King, Paul Kivel, Soniya Munshi, Ewuare Osayande, Amara H. Pérez, Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide, Dylan Rodríguez, Paula X. Rojas, Ana Clarissa Rojas Durazo, Sisters in Action for Power, Andrea Smith, Eric Tang, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Ije Ude, Craig Willse