Essential Reading for Nonprofit Directors, Organizers, & First-Timers

As thousands of readers, young and old, devour books for the Summer Reading Challenge, we don’t want to overlook recommended readings for nonprofit organizers and staff. Great summer reading isn’t all Percy Jackson & The Olympians or When Breath Becomes Air. It’s also an opportunity to find resources that offer new ways of thinking about your organization, teach you how to become more successful, or even highlight skills that can translate into a more effective operation.

The following recommendations cover essential topics from business planning and leadership practices to grant writing and fundraising. Click on the book cover for more information. Plus they’ll count toward your reading minutes for the Game On! Summer Reading Challenge…you are signed up, right?

BeforeYouSayYesBefore You Say Yes…; Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards by Doreen Pendgracs

Pendgracs shares valuable information from 25 years of experience sitting on various boards, and leads readers through the intricacies of management style, board etiquette, and financial obligations.


EffectiveGrantWritingEffective Grant Writing: Submit a Stronger Application by Angie R. Boecker

Gain a better understanding of grant making organizations’ and evaluators’ expectations including answers to commonly asked questions about grants.


EverythingNonprofitToolkitThe Everything Non-Profit Toolkit: the All-in-One Resource for Establishing a Nonprofit that will Grow, Thrive, and Succeed by Jim Goettler

Things every nonprofit organizer must know about setting up and running a successful organization: mission statements, staff, budgets, fundraising, business plans, and publicity.


LeadershipEquationThe Leadership Equation: 10 Practices that Build Trust, Spark Innovation, and Create High Performing Organizations by Erick Douglas

Douglas draws on his work with corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits to paint a picture of what happens inside high-performing organizations.


Nuts&BoltsGrantWritingThe Nuts & Bolts of Grant Writing by Cynthia E. Carr

Carr shares her expertise in writing and winning grants. Written for students, faculty, and university personnel, she shares her best practices for planning, writing, and winning research grants. Complete with embedded examples from a variety of disciplines.


WritingWinFederalGrantsWriting to Win Federal Grants: a Must-Have for your Fundraising Toolbox by Cheryl L. Kester and Karen L. Cassidy

This step-by-step guide is useful to both the novice and the seasoned writer. Its helpful hints, checklists, and progressive descriptions bring clarity and logic to the grant writing process. 

What other authors or books would you recommend to fellow entrepreneurs, business leaders, and nonprofit organizations? Share in the comments below.

Special thanks to Sarah Scobey (Nonprofit Librarian @ Old Town Library) for these recommendations.