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Top 10: Reading List for Nonprofit Fundraisers

The summer days are wearing on…and maybe even wearing you down a little bit (especially if you’ve started planning your year-end fundraising campaign – hint hint). And we figure there might be a few of you out there in need of a jolt of inspiration. So today we’re sharing a few good reads that are sure to get your mental gears turning and creative lights blinking. 

There are so many great books out there and no way we could possibly capture them all here. So please message us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ if we missed any of your all-time, indispensable favs (you know the one you’ve practically highlighted every single page.) And we’ll try to add it to our list the next time around!

And now, we present our Top 10 Reading List for Nonprofit Fundraisers:

1. Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits by Heather Mansfield 

A practical, step-by-step guide to launching a new website and email newsletter that is compatible with mobile devices, as well as optimizing your efforts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other sites. 

BTW - Author Heather Mansfield will be joining us at our FUSE Conference for nonprofits on Aug. 6-7 to share more of her thoughts on mobile and social media. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to register! But until then, check out these 5 common mistakes nonprofits make in mobile responsive design.

2. Measuring the Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter

If there ever was a must-read for all nonprofit leaders, this is it. Having a social media measurement plan and approach can no longer be an after-thought. It is a requirement for success. 

Social media is an essential tool in every online fundraiser’s toolbox. This book teaches the importance of critical concepts and lessons like measurement, social listening and not getting lost in the ever-changing and often overwhelming world of social media.

3. TED Talk: The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong by Dan Pallota

Okay, okay - so it’s not a book, but it’s packed with some really great ideas that will force you to question the entire nonprofit space. Watch the whole thing, but pay close attention to the point on allocating organizational funds to fundraising (11:46). This TED Talk will make you want to cry, pump your fist in the air, and barge into your Executive Director’s office with a list of demands. Or maybe, it will give you just the strength you need to challenge your colleagues the next time they say something crazy like this.


Salsa Online Fundraising Demo

4. The Power of Infographics by Mark Smiciklas

Need to overcome information overload and get your message across? Infographics are your secret weapon. Using them, you can deliver knowledge and ideas visually, so your audiences can understand them quickly - and take action. 

Fundraisers are constantly grappling with the challenge of how to best demonstrate their impact. Infographics - love ‘em or hate ‘em - are simple and engaging for audiences that may need a little help in seeing the big picture. Get inspired by checking out some of our recent infographics for nonprofits or watch this video about visual storytelling:

5. The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

The riveting story of how a young man, beginning with only $25, created more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life.

Get ready to be taken on an adventure and be reminded about the reason we do the things we do to change the world. Need more inspiration? Check out our Nonprofit Inspiration board on Pinterest.


6. David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell

Best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, now turns his attention to challenging how we think about obstacles and disadvantages. He offers a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks. 

Fundraising is a hard job - and you’re doing it! And with a little help from your friends - that’s us - we can help make your job a little easier. See our Best of End-of-Year Fundraising Blogs for some useful tips on how to make your fundraising efforts more successful.

7. Relationship Fundraising: A Donor Based Approach to the Business of Raising Money by Ken Burnett

Learn successful techniques for marketing to donors in a way that emphasizes the need to build mutually-rewarding long-term relationships. The book is illustrated throughout with case histories, donor profiles and action points designed to help the professional fundraiser to convert the most current marketing theory into practical relationship fundraising. 

Donor cultivation is extremely important and the stronger your foundation is for building those donor relationships, the more likely you’ll see higher returns in the long-run. Learn more about how to move donors up the ladder of engagement.

8. The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause by Kivi Leroux Miller

This down-to-earth book shows how to hack through the bewildering jungle of marketing options and miles-long to-do lists to clear a marketing path that's right for your organization, no matter how understaffed, or underfunded. You'll see how to shape a marketing program that starts from where you are now and grows with your organization, using smart and savvy communications techniques, both offline and online. Learn more about developing a successful communications and content marketing strategy.

9. The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World by David La Piana

The world changes continuously and rapidly. It’s foolhardy to believe that strategies should not do so as well. Nonprofit leaders already know this, but traditional strategic planning has locked them into a process that’s divorced from today’s reality. 

In this groundbreaking book, strategy expert David La Piana introduces “Real-Time Strategic Planning,” a fluid, organic process that engages staff and board in a program of systematic readiness and continuous responsiveness. With it, your nonprofit will be able to identify, understand, and act on challenges and opportunities as they arise. 

We all get caught up in the grind - especially the closer we get to year-end. The key is to plan ahead. Consider breaking out of your box with a #GivingTuesday campaign or some other event outside your regular routine.

10. Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant. How Small Gifts Can Be Powerful Tools to Support Any Organization by Erica Waasdorp

This is one of the few books available on monthly giving. It's one of the most recent books out there helping nonprofits raise more money through sustained giving programs. It’s filled with case studies, examples, charts and graphs, and with contributions from some major national and international players in monthly giving. 

BTW - Ira Horowitz, founder at Cornershop Creative, has a session at the upcoming FUSE conference called “Turning One-Time Donors into Sustaining Donors”. It’s a can’t-miss if you’re interested in learning more about monthly giving. And shameless plug here, but if you need some help getting the right tools in place for setting up your monthly giving program, chat live with a Salsa support specialist now. (We did warn you.)

We hope these books help make your journey toward fundraising success a little more enjoyable. And remember to tell us what you think about our little list on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Happy reading!


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