Lately I’ve been rifling through the general non-fiction stacks and reading all the books I can about managing and marketing nonprofits. I’m new to the world of nonprofits, so I’ve been reading in order to help me help you, our patrons; and I’m also reading to learn more about the nonprofit I work in.
This weekend I read Streetwise’s Managing a Nonprofit: How to Write Winning Grant Proposals, Work with a Board, and Build a Fundraising Program by John Riddle with Tere Drenth (Franklin Public Library call number 658.048 RID).
Streetwise’s Managing a Nonprofit is a broad-based primer on how a nonprofit works, the unique hurdles in nonprofit management, and how to begin developing a nonprofit fundraising strategy. It’s one of those books that covers many aspects of the topic, but just barely skims the surface of each aspect. We learn about all kinds of stuff, including how a nonprofit works; daily management skills necessary for a nonprofit manager; fundraising through special events, corporate donations, direct mail, and grants; marketing and public relations; and board assessment. But if we really want to learn about writing a grant proposal or fundraising through direct mail, we’re better off consulting a different, more targeted book.
The most helpful section of this book is the second chapter, “Crafting a Mission Statement.” The authors outline a strategy for writing or revising a nonprofit mission statement, including how to overcome resistance from coworkers. The chapter concludes with 28 sample mission statements from well-known nonprofits. I was inspired by how succinct and accurate some of them were.
If, like me, you are new to the world of nonprofits, Streetwise’s Managing a Nonprofit: How to Write Winning Grant Proposals, Work with a Board, and Build a Fundraising Program by John Riddle with Tere Drenth is a great introductory book. However, if you have been working in a nonprofit for a long time, I doubt there’s much new information in here for you.