8 Books for Nonprofits To Read and Book Giveaway | Beth's Blog

8 Books for Nonprofits To Read and Book Giveaway


Every year around this time,  I write a post about some books that should be valuable to those who work in the nonprofit and social good sector.   Since my colleague , Marion Conway, prepares such a fantastic and focused list of nonprofit book recommendations and there are so many social media book lists,  my list is eclectic.    I’m also going to give away a copy of one of these books.  If you are interested in any of these titles, please leave a comment about why you want to read the book.  I’ll pick a winner by Dec. 18th.

1. Little Bets:  How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims.   I had the honor of keynoting the Social Good Brasil Conference with Peter Sims and had an opportunity to hear his talk about the ideas in his book which resonated.   The book is about a concept called “Experimental Innovation” is a process of learning by doing, failing quickly to learn fast, being playful,  immersing in a problem, gathering insights, and iterating many small experiments into big breakthroughs.    Here’s a recent article in Forbes about the approach and how it is being applied in the nonprofit sector.   It is well researched and beautifully written and easy to read and love.

2. Giving with Confidence:  A Guide To Savvy Philanthropy by Colburn Wilbur with Fred Setterberg.    Colburn Wilbur is the former CEO of the Packard Foundation and before we moved into the new building, I had the great luck of having my desk be near by.  I had the chance to chat with him about social media, technology, and giving and hear his wisdom and stories first hand.   The book is intended to help donors both big and small give more strategically.      My favorite chapter is “Making Generosity Contagious” and the advice about including some “risky” donations into your mix (see the first book above).

3. Giving Back:  Discover Your Values and Put Them Into Action Through Volunteering and Donating by Steven P. Ketchpel, Ph.D.   This is a practical guidebook and especially useful for those of us who are parents and want to encourage kids to be lifelong givers.    It is a good primer to harness what is in your heart and strategically give of your time and or money – and do it as a family.

4. The Power of Infographics: Using Pictures and Connect With Your Audience by Mark Smiciklas.   I’ve been obsessing about visual marketing, infographics, and data visualization this past year.   This is by far the best practical guide about understanding, creating, and using infographics.   It is a like a field guide to infographics, includes lots of useful resources that help you do DYI infographics or find a designer who can create one for you.

5. The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand by Lee Lefever.      If you ever tried to explain social media to someone who might not understand it, you probably pointed them to one of the Common Craft videos.   Lee Lefever is the voice behind those videos that explain complex ideas and technology in a way that makes it easy to understand – and with humor and a distinctive style.     In this book, Lee shares his best tips and practices.

6. HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte.   I’m a huge fan of Nancy Duarte’s work and her two other books on presenting.   This newest one is great desktop reference that gives you lots and lots of practical advice and tips for presenting in a variety of situations.    I’m a very experienced presenter – and thought I knew it all.   But after reading Nancy’s book, I learned a bunch of new tricks.  I’m sure you will too.

7. The Wild Woman’s Guide To Social Media by Mazarine Treyz.   This book is written for small business owners, but is also very useful for small nonprofits as well.  It is very practical – filled with lots of tips and checklists and templates.

8.  APE:  Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How To Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki.  In 2011 the publisher of one of Guy’s books Enchantment, could not fill an order for 500 ebook copies. Because of this experience, he self-published his next book, What the Plus!, and learned first-hand that self-publishing is a complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process.   With Shawn Welch, a tech wizard, he wrote a book called APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur–How to Publish a Book to help people understand self-publishing.  APE’s thesis is powerful yet simple: filling the roles of Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur yields results that rival traditional publishing. He calls this “artisanal publishing”–that is, when writers who love their craft control the publishing process and produce high-quality books.

Scooter reminds folks that the Networked Nonprofit makes a great holiday gift

And, of course, if you are looking for a book on measurement and learning,  look no further than “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.”  (Here’s a recent review by a human and there are many more four-legged fans.)

Don’t forget about the book giveaway.  Leave a comment and tell me what book you want to read.  I’ll pick a winner by next week.


72 Responses

  1. […] Every year around this time,  I write a post about some books that should be valuable to those who work in the nonprofit and social good sector.  […]

  2. […] Every year around this time,  I write a post about some books that should be valuable to those who work in the nonprofit and social good sector.  […]

  3. Mary P says:

    I’d love to read the “Giving Back” book. Now that I have a child I’m trying to figure out the best way to teach her about generosity.

  4. Norman Reiss says:

    ‘Art of Explanation’ sounds like a great read. Being able to explain things clearly is a skill we all aspire to.

  5. Ashley says:

    So hard to choose just one! I’m thinking that Little Bets or The Power of Infographics would top my list although I’d love any of these!

  6. Martha Garvey says:

    I would looooove to read anything by Lee Lefever wrote. Because he makes magic. His style of explaining is so simple and so powerful.

  7. Martha Garvey says:

    PS: I have Little Bets and I highly recommend it.

  8. I love Lee Lefever’s Common Craft videos. The “Social Networking in Plain English” is my favorite and still very useful even though so much have changes in social networks online since 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc
    I’d like to read his book, “The Art of Explanation.”

  9. Ruth Schubert says:

    Well, now, this is just killing me. I really have to pick just one? I’ve been very interested in the concept of “little bets” since reading about it in your books/blog/presentations. It is so easy to over plan and never get started–especially with social media. I have seen this in organizations I have worked for. It is also something we’ve talked about in my Social Media Certificate program at the University of Washington. The idea of trying things out and failing fast is so appropriate in the social environment, where we’re all still learning.
    That said, I’m obsessed with info graphics!

  10. Hi Beth,

    great post, thanks for the additions to my Xmas list :).. I’d love to receive the book Giving Back, to discuss my and my children’s values, and decide together which charity to give to.

  11. If I had to choose just one, I would like to read Giving with Confidence: A Guide To Savvy Philanthropy by Colburn Wilbur with Fred Setterberg. As a freshfaced development employee in a changing environment, I am trying to bring new perspectives to the table. Understanding philanthropy and giving from a donor’s perspective is extremely important and often overlooked, and I would really love to read it!

  12. Since I’m always looking for jazzy ways to present info to staff and others, I’m interested in the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations. I really want people to participate in the planning process because we will all have to work on the implementation so that buy-in is incredibly important.

  13. Several compelling, contemporary picks on the list…however, you caught me with your honest comment that you felt that you already had your bases covered on giving effective presentations. I think it is invaluable for each of us every now and then to pause, study and reflect on how to communicate better. Especially in today’s fast-paced, fragmented attention, visually demanding environment. I am going to add HBR’s Guide to Persuasive Presentations to my Christmas stocking list!

  14. I’m graphically challenged and need to push myself into some uncomfortable territory and improve and expand my skill set. I would love to read the The Power of Infographics.

  15. Sheryl Puracchio says:

    Love Nancy Duarte, she is on Ted Talks – http://youtu.be/UfQF3DXG-S4 Have all her books and highly recommend her as well. Being that I have already read and recommended “The Networked Nonprofit” (not that that should sway you:) I would love to receive “The Art of Explanation” because these days my thinking tends to be getting a little fuzzier and it would be great to have some useful tips to fall back on,both in my business and personal life. Thanks for your Holiday offerings!

  16. Hi Beth,

    Thanks so much for the compliment and shout out for my Wishlist of Books for Nonprofit Folk post. I am reading Giving with Confidence right now (My copy is full of highlighting) and will be discussing it in a post on Philanthropy soon. I agree with your comments and especially the having some risky choices in your mix. That was a theme in Grassroots Philanthropy also with Fred Setterberg.

    My choice on this list would be APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How To Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki because publishing a book – either self publish or eBook is on my list of things to get started on in 2013. I want to start a series particularly for small nonprofits because too much that is written is too advanced for them to actually commit too.

    Have a joyous holiday,


  17. Ira Wise says:

    I am looking forward to reading The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand by Lee Lefever. Our 150 year old synagogue is in the process of wrestling with how to best serve a 21st century congregation in a way that meets current and future needs (spiritual and communal) while being true to our original mission. As a multi-generational congregation we know that communicating hwat is changing – and what is not – will be crucial to our success for the next 150 years. I am hoping that we can learn from Lefever’s work in helping people understand and reconnect.

  18. Eva Brune says:

    Wow, such wonderful books! I would love to read Little Bets (sounds inspiring!) and the Art of Explanation, because we could all use a little help with getting our point across!
    Thanks for all you do!

  19. Terri says:

    Hi Beth, I would love to read the Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. Having just completed my M.S. degree in organization development, I know how valuable metrics are and have been working with my org to determine what metrics make sense for us to measure, particularly around fund raising and giving.

  20. Julie says:

    Would love to read Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. Or Little Bets. Or even Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media. Too many to choose from, but would love a little gift.
    Thank you. I look forward to reading your posts.

  21. Helene says:

    All of these are going on my list – but the one I would love to start with is The Wild Woman’s Guide To Social Media! I am about to start my thesis on Crowdfunding and the role social media plays in today’s philanthropic envrionment, and this book sounds like an awesome resource. I also work for a small non-profit that teaches women craft artists in WNC how to effectively run their small businesses and be successful entrepreneurs – this book would be a great resource for them and our classes!

  22. Tom David says:

    Beth –
    Thanks for this great list and for all the wonderful resources you share with us throughout the year.
    Happy Holidays!

  23. Elisa says:

    Three years ago, I overcame my fear of public speaking by attending a course at a local college. I learned how to tame the butterflies, connect with my audience, and believe in myself. Since then, I’ve discovered how much I actually enjoy public speaking and I look for more opportunities to do so. As a result, I am working on a business plan for a consulting business which will allow me to use my new skills for a greater purpose.

    I would LOVE a copy of HBR’s Guide to Persuasive Presentations because I am sure that her tips would continue to give me inspiration, practical advice, and the confidence to keep at it. Thanks.

  24. Wanda says:

    I would truly appreciate The Power of Infographics. When I see these used on websites and in presentations, I am in awe. I would love to be able to do that. I’m reading The Art of Explanation now and love Nancy Duarte’s work. Thanks for sharing and the opportunity!

  25. Many thanks Beth. I would be most interested in your book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, (and if possible, a signed copy would be cherished), as our field is constantly being challenged on measurability and sustainability as benchmarks for success. Your insight will be sincerely welcomed…

  26. Andrew says:

    Thank you for your wonderful blog and being so generous to your readers. I would appreciate receiving Little Bets. I am currently developing a community mediation framework that takes place around a dinner table. Essentially, I want to help address intractable social issues that arise due to our differences and use the table as an entry way to address the underlying issues through transformative mediation. This book would be a powerful tool in helping me understand better how to craft the small victories into a major victory for my community. Happy holidays Beth.

  27. Ruth Schubert says:

    A question for you, Beth: I went to look at the Forbes article you link to in the “Little Bets” description. It’s not about nonprofits, and I’m wondering if you linked to the wrong one? thanks.

  28. Thanks for including my book “Giving Back” on this list, Beth! I’m honored. Coincidentally, I’m doing a Kindle Give-away day today, so your readers can head over to Amazon today, 12/12/12, and download the electronic version for free at http://amzn.to/W7010b

    It was a pleasure to meet you at your Stanford PACS talk, and I love the visual nature and step-by-step lists of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.

  29. Yesenia says:

    Thank you for this concise list of books for Nonprofits!

    So many books are avaialble on non-profits and social media that it can be very difficutl to suss out which are the best ones to read, or just event start with, and which ones we can avoid.

    I would love to win a copy of HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations!

    I’ll be sure to add the other ones on my Amazon wishlist and start reading them as well.

  30. Ruth Schubert says:

    Steve Ketchpel, thanks for alerting us to your Kindle giveaway!

  31. lenore says:

    Little bets! Trying to tackle some big picture giving ideas, and am thinking that would be great for initiative.

  32. Micol says:

    Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries
    I love the encouragement of failing to learn and being playful – these characteristics are not typically valued in the workplace, especially in the religious institutions with which I work, and yet again and again, we hear that experimentation, risk-taking, a willingness to fail, all help contribute to success and innovative breakthroughs. I would love to read about this “Experiential Innovation” process, how it’s been applied and the outcomes it has achieved. I believe this will help me introduce this process and its benefits to the educators and institutions with which I work and I think we will all be better off for it!

  33. If so lucky, I would share the Art of Explanation with our Fellows to deepen their capacity to communicate the social change efforts they have undertaken in clear and compelling ways.

  34. Amanda says:

    Thanks Beth! I would love to read The Wild Woman’s Guide To Social Media!!

  35. Jennifer says:

    I would love love love to read the wild womans guide to social media…because I am an aspiring wild woman and I love me a checklist 😉

  36. I was part of a group of young leaders who helped create an organization called Kanu Hawaii several years ago that asks people to make personal commitments to achieve broader systems change. The organization has been staffed for about 4 years and has been experimenting on the fly with social media strategies and offline organizing to create an operational framework that implements our vision. I would love to read Little Bets, but more importantly share it with the board and staff as a way for us to have some back up when we ask for funding support on why our approach (which seems aligned with the principles in the book) may actually lead to big breakthroughs. The book would be a great resource for us and a great tool for our leadership development work.

  37. […] Every year around this time,  I write a post about some books that should be valuable to those who work in the nonprofit and social good sector.  […]

  38. Samantha says:

    Wow! Excellent blog …

    I would love to read the Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media!

  39. Katherin Titus says:

    I am looking forward to checking out the non profit specific reading list you mentioned! Oh so many resources, so little extra reading time… I consider myself an emerging arts professional and am ready to soak up tips & tricks and put them to work. With that said I can see myself getting the most from the Harvard Business Review Guide to Persuasive Presentations. Thanks for this jam packed reading list Beth. I can’t wait to jump in to some practical holiday reading!

  40. Debra says:

    I need the “Wild Woman’s Guide”–as a small nonprofit exec in a low profile but high potential organization, I’m figuring out our social media pieces on the fly. I’m asking for lots of advice, but really need help developing a comprehensive plan to address visibility, fundraising, mission control and more. Hope you’ll choose me!

  41. I would like to read the Guide to Persuasive Presentations. As a Speech Pathologist who works at the VA in the critical care units, I went very “out of the box” for me by starting a new nonprofit: Racing Hearts. Although I have this professional background, sharing my personal story in larger community settings has been rather challenging. I know I need assistance with this!

  42. Lucy Read says:

    Through my work I have lots of engagement with young people who English is not their first language and signing is their main method of communication. Infographics have huge potential for deaf young people and explaining information in an interesting way that lends to visual learners. I would love to have the The Power of Infographics to learn more about the possibilities. Infographics opens up information and moves away from over complicating things. A great blog thank you for the suggestions

  43. John Cox says:

    I would love to read Measuring the Networked Non-Profit because effective measurement tools are what non-profits lack that for profit corporations have($$$).
    Keep up the great writing!

  44. Esther Wieman says:

    Beth, thanks for this list! Would love to receive a copy of ‘The Art of Explanation’. I work for a capacity building project that provides an online database and analytical tools for the arts and cultural sector, and it is always a challenge to capture the essence of the project in a compelling and easy to understand way. I’m sure Lee Lefever’s book will provide great suggestions!

  45. Ashley Pero says:

    Great list, thanks for sharing! I’d like to read The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand by Lee Lefever. As an education provider to nonprofit professionals, it is hard to “sell” our mission.

  46. Zyta says:

    I want all books! I am from Poland and we don’t have any books about marketing, PR, philanthropy,donation do dedicated to NGOs. We have huge lack of this kinde of literature.
    I want you book “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit”!

  47. Virginia says:

    I would love to read The Wild Woman’s Guide To Social Media, for four reasons: 1. I have a small business, 2. that business is a creative services agency, 3. I love social media and marketing for non-profits and 4. I love the title.

  48. Whitney says:

    I’m crazy interested in both the Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media and the data visualization book. I got a degree in multimedia journalism and have always been interested in figuring out how best to tell a story from bits and pieces of information, but in my new job I am becoming more of a strategic marketer and community builder as opposed to a content producer. While I think there are a lot of similarities that are making the transition a bit easier for me (and also the fact that I’ve been a lifelong volunteer and love the fact that I can work in a nonprofit that does something I believe in), it’s still a bit hard to wrap my head around parsing data in order to make better decisions while also reconciling messaging, mission and community.

  49. Hannah M-P says:

    This is such a great list! I am particularly excited to see what Mark Smiciklas’ book on infographics has to say. I have seen more and more of them around, but there are certainly some better than others- I’d like to know the secret! I’ve gotten more and more into graphic design, so I would love to see how this can contribute as well.

    Organizations like Invisible Children and Charity:Water have had wild success because of their visuals in film. I would love to bring that back to my non-profit, Humanity for Children, which works in East Africa to lift up communities at the grassroots level.

  50. Julia says:

    I would love to read The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media most of all. I’m not a novice but there is so much to it and I would like to be able to better use it in my business.