Book recommendations for the fundraiser on your Christmas list

With 11 shopping days until Christmas, you still have time to pick up a book or two for that fundraiser on your list. If you’re looking for recommendations, here are four titles I’ve touted in presentations this past month – plus a couple of classics.

First to the newer titles.

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather Grant.
The authors didn’t set out to create a resource for fundraisers, but that’s what they accomplished. All six practices outlined in the book have application for fundraising. My personal favorite is found in Chapter 4, where the focus is on converting donors into evangelists for your cause.


Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World
by Laura Arrillaga-Andreesen. Written to donors, this is one of the most affirming, encouraging, hopeful, and helpful books about philanthropy that I’ve ever read. The author provides a powerful apologetic for generosity that treats everyone, from the widow with her mite to the mega-donors among us, with equal respect and appreciation. There’s also a great website that goes along with the book.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen. I reviewed this book a few posts back and haven’t stopped talking about it since. Collins and Hansen may not have written it with nonprofits in mind, but they offer the kind of commonsense, down-to-earth advice that boards, CEOs, and development staff need in today’s tumultuous times.

Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) by
Robert Lupton. This is far from the cheeriest book around, but it’s a must-read for fundraisers and other organizational leaders who want to do the right thing by their donors. Lupton’s “Oath for Compassionate Service” is worth the purchase price alone. In the words of reviewer Amy Sherman: “If we accept rather than resist his [Lupton’s] critique, the poor and non-poor will both be better off.”

And now for the classics.

Achieving Excellence in Fundraising by Henry Rosso. In my opinion, this is THE book that no fundraiser should be without. It provides the principles, strategies, and methods of successful fundraising. For all my long years in development, not a month goes by that I don’t reference this oldie-but-goodie.

Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry by Thomas Jeavons and Me. This book is encapsulates my approach to fundraising and introduces readers to six principles of development work as ministry. Although it’s been around for more than a decade, I’m delighted that the book continues to help development staff – including some who’ve been on the job for years – look at fundraising through the eyes of faith.

Happy shopping.

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