Our Summer Nonprofit Reading List

Welcome to summer, the season of rest and relaxation! Here at Mollard Consulting, we love to unwind by indulging in a good “beach read,” a category of books that are light, captivating, and ideal for taking on vacation.

While we are huge proponents of this self-care practice, it’s never a bad idea to mix in some reading for professional development purposes. To inspire your next nonprofit read, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites in addition to some suggested by LinkedIn for Nonprofits. We hope you’ll enjoy these reads on the beach, at the lake, or soaking up the sun in your own backyard.

1. Art of Relevance by Nina Simon

What do the London Science Museum, California Shakespeare Theater, and ShaNaNa have in common? They are all fighting for relevance in an often indifferent world. The Art of Relevance is your guide to mattering more to more people. You’ll find inspiring examples, rags-to-relevance case studies, research-based frameworks, and practical advice on how your work can be more vital to your community.

2. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Leadership is not about titles, status, and power over people. Leaders are people who hold themselves accountable for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and developing that potential. This is a book for everyone who is ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference and lead.

3. Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship by Alex Counts

Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind is a down-to-earth guide to mission-driven leadership. Drawing on his decades as an acclaimed nonprofit leader, Alex Counts offers practical advice on such vital activities as fundraising, team-building, communications, and management. He shows you how to run an organization—and your own life—both effectively and sustainably, giving joyfully to those around you while also caring generously for yourself.

4. Charity Case by Dan Pallotta

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.

5. Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant

What makes great nonprofits great? Authors Crutchfield and McLeod Grant searched for the answer over several years, employing a rigorous research methodology which derived from books on for-profits 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. This book has lessons for all readers interested in creating significant social change, including nonprofit managers, donors, and volunteers.

6. The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman

The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit presents realistic strategies for leaders looking to optimize organizational achievement while avoiding the common nonprofit burnout. With a uniquely holistic approach to nonprofit leadership strategy, this book functions as a handbook to help leaders examine their existing organization, identify trouble spots, and resolve issues with attention to all aspects of operations and culture.

7. The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter and Allison H. Fine

This groundbreaking book shows nonprofits a new way of operating in our increasingly connected world: a networked approach enabled by social technologies, where connections are leveraged to increase impact in effective ways that drive change for the betterment of our society and planet.

8. No More Duct Tape Fundraising: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Becoming an Inspirational Fundraiser by Rachel Ramjattan, CFRE

As the executive director of a nonprofit, the reality of being responsible for raising money to keep your programs operating is overwhelming. You keep it together, but often you just want a fundraising coach and a team to help, so you don’t have to worry about turning people away or running out of money. Rachel Ramjattan, a national fundraiser with decades of experience fundraising, understands how you feel. In No More Duct Tape Fundraising Rachel walks you through the eight-step process she uses to raise money efficiently and build a fundraising team.

9. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Any organization can explain what it does; some can explain how they do it; but very few can clearly articulate why. WHY is not money or profit—those are always results. WHY does your organization exist? WHY does it do the things it does? WHY do customers really buy from one company or another? WHY are people loyal to some leaders, but not others? Starting with WHY works in big business and small business, in the nonprofit world and in politics. Those who start with WHY never manipulate, they inspire. And the people who follow them don’t do so because they have to; they follow because they want to. Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire. This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others or who wants to find someone to inspire them.

10. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam M. Grant

Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity, but constantly willing to rethink their stances and that leaders who admit they don’t know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams. Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong.

Article by: Jenny Bergman, Senior Director of Communications and Operations, and Morgan Veach Kerns, Assistant Director of Communications

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