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Retrospective: My 2007 top picks of books for the non-profit connoisseur
Joanne Fritz
January 01, 2008

Judging from the number of books I read about the non profit sector in 2007, I am a much better educated non profit blogger than I was twelve months ago. I digested thirteen books in that time and wrote reviews of them or used them in articles.

I thought I would rank all of them in some sort of order such as the most rewarding to the least. But, frankly, I don't review books unless I think they would really be helpful to readers, so I gave up on the ranking. Nevertheless, the following books were especially rewarding for me and, like all good books, kept me glued to them from beginning to end.

Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age, Allison H. Fine. This book was a real eye opener when I went looking for information on "social media." Fine does a wonderful job of explaining social media and provides suggestions on how nonprofits can use it.

PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds, and Business of Boomer Big Spenders, Marti Barletta. Barletta's book is for marketers in the business world, but I found her insights totally applicable to the issue of getting Baby Boomers to volunteer and donate to nonprofit causes.

Made Possible By: Succeeding With Sponsorship, Patricia Martin. Martin's book is a real godsend to nonprofits interested in developing sponsorships with businesses. She explores the cultural differences between profit and nonprofit and provides a blueprint for getting past the gates and to an agreement that helps both sponsor and sponsored.

How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money, Tom Ahern. This book is the best I've seen about understanding your audience and writing to it. Ahern's typology of readers makes such good sense, it inspires us to go try that annual report or letter or brochure again, but with more insight.

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant. This book was the starting point for my own research into social entrepreneurism. It is based on quantitative and qualitative research that is then synthesised in a way that any reader can grasp. Just learning about the various organisations the authors surveyed and how they tackled problems made the book worthwhile.

Fund Raising Realities Every board Member Must Face: a 1-Hour Crash Course on Raising Major gifts for Nonprofit Organisations, David Lansdowne. I loved this book and wished that someone had put it into my hands years ago when I served on boards and worked with boards from the staff side.

Transitioning to the Nonprofit Sector: Shifting Your Focus from the Bottom Line to a Better World, Laura Gassner Otting. I am so grateful that this book is available. It really should be the first thing anyone seeking a position in the nonprofit world reads.

Charity On Trial: What You Need to Know Before You Give, Doug White. Reading Charity on Trial was like reading a favourite mystery. White weaves the stories of nonprofits that became "ethically challenged," with some great advice for nonprofits to avoid scandal and for donors who want to know that their money is well taken care of.

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