9 Books That Need To Be on Your Nonprofit Reading List in 2022

Reading can prove to be a real investment in your professional growth. For nonprofit leaders in particular, it can spark new ideas, surface insights and best practices from other organizations, and help you do even more remarkable work.

If you’re looking for your next great nonprofit read, here are nine books to add to your reading list this year.

1. From the Ground Up

While technology and digital trends move quickly, virtual fundraising and events are likely here to stay. From the Ground Up: Digital Fundraising For Nonprofits by Brock Warner, CFRE, teaches nonprofit leaders how to build, design, and innovate using an effective digital fundraising program. From email marketing best practices to digital advertising strategies, this practical primer is a good resource for any organization. 

2. Start with Why

Most leaders talk about what their organization does. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek argues that it’s never the what or the how that drives great candidates to nonprofits, but the why. Sinek answers the question, “Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others?” This book started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and it can help nonprofit leaders find a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. If you’re more of an auditory learner, Sinek has also done a TED Talk in which he discusses how great leaders inspire action. 

3. The Networked Nonprofit

With the right social media strategy, your nonprofit can create an engaged and active online community that cares about your mission and is ready to help. The book The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine shows how nonprofits can effectively market in the digital age and harness the power of online networking. Not only does the book debunk popular social media myths that claim to hold organizations back, but it shows how nonprofits can succeed in the ever-changing world of social media. If your nonprofit is looking to integrate social media into your marketing strategy or elevate your efforts, then this is the book for you.

4. Charity Case

Dan Pallotta argues that everything society has been taught about charity is keeping nonprofits from solving large-scale problems like hunger and poverty. In his book Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World, Pallotta provides a blueprint for national leadership to transform the way the public thinks about giving. He explains what steps the nonprofit sector can take to change the conversation, including legal steps against defamation and ending the cycle that keeps organizations small and lacking in resources.

5. Forces for Good

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant identifies six practices that can be used by nonprofits of any size to achieve extraordinary social impact. Through real stories from organizations like Feeding America and Habitat for Humanity that have achieved extraordinary levels of impact, the book distills six practices that these organizations use to change the world. 

6. No More Duct Tape Fundraising

No More Duct Tape Fundraising: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Becoming an Inspirational Fundraiser by Rachel Ramjattan, CFRE, outlines an eight-step process used to raise money efficiently and build a successful fundraising team. Whether you’re new to the world of nonprofit fundraising or you’re a seasoned veteran, this book can give you the confidence needed to accomplish various fundraising opportunities at your organization. 

7. The Little Book of Gold

As the name suggests, The Little Book of Gold: Fundraising for Small (and Very Small) Nonprofits by Erik Hanberg is dedicated to helping small (and very small) nonprofits unlock their fundraising potential. This short guide helps new executive directors, active board chairs, and other key staff in charge of fundraising to learn the basics of professional and sustainable fundraising. Featuring common pitfalls to avoid and proven methods that work, this guide is geared towards newcomers and small-but-mighty teams.

8. The Blue Sweater 

Change is constant. In her memoir The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, Jacqueline Novogratz calls for us to rethink our engagement with the world and grant more dignity to low income countries and individuals. After leaving a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and find powerful ways to tackle it, Novogratz uses stories and characters from her travels to show the need for a new approach to abolishing poverty. With many professionals leaving the corporate world behind in favor of impact-driven roles, this memoir can be a valuable addition to your bookshelf if you’re considering entering the nonprofit world or know someone who is. 

9. Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind

With guidance on mission-driven leadership and weathering lean times, Changing the World Without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship by Alex Counts is a must-read book for nonprofit employees. A down-to-earth guide to mission-driven leadership, the book offers practical advice on fundraising, team-building, communication, and management that all nonprofit professionals can learn from. 

Whether you read on your morning commute, in quick bursts when you need a break, or as part of a team book club, this list should help you find something inspiring to dig into. Happy reading!