No matter the number of years you have worked in the nonprofit sector, you can always learn more and upskill yourself as a fundraiser. Whether you are a reader, listener, or scanner of books, you will enjoy this list of the best nonprofit fundraising books.
We have included books that tackle various fundraising topics, from donor communications to donor-centered fundraising. So, there’s a book for every fundraiser in this article.
1. It’s Not Just About the Money, by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels
Written by authors Richard Perry and Jerry Schreifels, It’s Not Just About the Money gets to the heart of fundraising: relationships. Perry and Schreifels write about what it’s like to be a truly great fundraiser. They suggest that fundraising isn’t simply about money changing hands; it is about relationship building and getting to know your donors and prospects.
The authors argue that if you keep this mentality at the heart of your fundraising strategy, you will be more successful at retaining donors and increasing your nonprofit’s bottom line. They follow this ethos with practical tips and tried-and-tested methods for building and nurturing donor relationships.
While this book is geared towards major gift fundraisers, it still resonates with all types of fundraisers and is worth a spot on your bookshelf. We recommend this book to fundraisers who utilize donor-centered fundraising strategies.
It is also an excellent pick-up for those looking to step up their major gift fundraising game and build better long-term donor relationships.
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2. Fundraising for Social Change, Kim Klein
Kim Klein’s book is a field guide to fundraising; it is a great starting point for all types of young fundraisers. It is incredibly practical and walks the reader through the author’s process of creating a fundraising strategy that works. The 7th and latest edition includes new fundraising trends and covers the fundraising essentials such as program development, donor communications, and prospecting.
This book is highly recommended for new fundraisers who are just getting started in the sector or moving into fundraising roles. It is also a great ‘back to basics’ read for seasoned fundraisers.
3. The Smart Nonprofit: Staying Human-Centered in an Automated World, by Allison Fine and Beth Kanter
The Smart Nonprofit is a timely and recommended read for all nonprofit professionals. As automation technology becomes more commonplace in our world, this book acts as an introduction and caution to the possibilities that this “smart technology” offers the nonprofit sector.
Authors Beth Kanter and Allison Fine discuss how automation can replace the need for human resources to perform rote tasks and give nonprofits the ability to move on to and focus on tasks that only people can do. However, they warn about the pitfalls of handing over decision-making processes entirely to machines and suggest a future where nonprofit professionals and machines work together.
This book is hopeful, outlining how this technology can transform the sector so long as it remains human-centered. It’s a great read for any fundraisers and organizations looking to adopt new technology or stay ahead of the curve by looking at the future of the nonprofit sector.
4. Data Driven Nonprofits, by Steve McLaughlin
Data Driven Nonprofits shows nonprofit leaders how to use data to guide nonprofit decision-making. The author, Steve McLaughlin, is the Vice President of Product Management at Blackbaud, a nonprofit fundraising software, and his expertise shines through in this book.
McLaughlin makes a case for all nonprofits becoming more data-driven, no matter the organization’s size or their budgets. He also provides some practical strategies for becoming a data-driven nonprofit and outlines challenges that can be expected in the process. Interestingly, he explains how creating an organizational culture that values data will make a nonprofit more effective at being data-driven.
In this book, McLaughlin draws on interviews with industry leaders and many case studies of nonprofits that have embraced big data. These examples offer tangible insight and can act as a guiding light to organizations looking to do the same thing.
This book is an absolute must-read if you want to introduce data-driven decision-making processes to your fundraising team or even just help your team make the most of its data.
5. The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communication by Jeff Brooks
One of the most important tools in the fundraiser’s toolkit is communication, and author Jeff Brooks will show you how to use it as effectively as possible.
The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communication is a step-by-step guide to all things communication, specifically for fundraisers. It gets at all the unique challenges and communication angles that fundraisers must face. It also uses real-world scenarios to show you exactly how to employ the communication strategies explained.
The book includes communication strategies for all different mediums you might use like radio, print, social media, and email to fundraise. You will learn how to walk the fine line between motivating a donor to give and being pushy and how to find your nonprofit’s voice.
This book is recommended for fundraisers looking to overhaul their communication strategy or simply up their game. If you come from a communications background in another sector and now find yourself in fundraising, this book will be beneficial because it shows you to apply fundraising communications in your work.
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Which book are you going to pick up next?
Set aside a few minutes each day to tackle that book. Maybe on your commute, waiting in the school pick-up line, or in bed before starting your day. The sector is changing, ideas are evolving, and you can stay on top of it, one book at a time.