Thanks to Liz Heath of Sound Nonprofits who asked nonprofit leaders what they are reading. We have added some of our favorite books, newsletters, magazines, blogs and podcasts.
Who has time to read?
Reading and listening to podcasts can help us interpret our environment and better analyze the context for key decisions. The concept of "generative" discussions (using in the Governance as Leadership by Dick Chait, Bill Ryan, and Barbara Taylor) uses this idea of "sense-making" – making sense of what we know - as a key tool for leadership. The more we know, the more sense-making we can do of all the information that is flooding in each day.
Publications & Newsletters
So, with limited time for reading what are your favorite magazines and newsletters? We asked this question of nonprofit leaders throughout the country and received many suggestions.
Only three publications were read by 50% of the respondents. The three top hits were Blue Avocado, the BoardSource newsletter, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Here are some of the other publications that nonprofit leaders recommended:
- Stanford Social Innovation Review
- Harvard Business Review
- The Nonprofit Quarterly (the quarterly magazine and/or the daily "Newswire")
- Advancing Philanthropy (AFP member publication)
- Nonprofit Online News
- LaPiana Consulting Alerts
- Charity Channel
- Claxon's Blog from Erica Mills
- PhilanTopic from Philanthropy News Digest
- Nonprofit AF from Vu Le
- Clairification from Claire Axelrad
- Beth's Blog from Beth Kanter
- Getting Attention from Nancy Schwartz
- Have Fun Do Good from Britt Bravo
- CharityLawyer Blog from Carter Law Group, P.C.
- Nonprofit Law Blog from NEO Law Group
- La Piana Consulting's Blog
- from Dr. Debra Beck Project
- Nonprofit Management from Dr. Eugene Fram
- ...and of course, The Commons, 501 Commons' blog
- See blogs and newsletters on our curated list of anti-racism reading materials.
- Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villanueva
- So You Want to Make a Difference, an advocacy manual written by Nancy Amidel
- Emergent Strategy - Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown
- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
- The Networ ked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath
- Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
- Content Marketing for Nonprofits Kivi Leroux Miller
- First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
- Good to Great and Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins
- Governance as Leadership by Richard Chait, et al.
- Keeping Good People by Roger E. Herman
- Leading Change by John P. Kotter
- Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution by David La Piana
- Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant
- Uncharitable Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World by Dan Pallotta
- The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex by INCITE!
Don’t have time to read but want something to listen to instead? Try podcasts! Podcasts are great to listen to at your desk, in the car, or on public transportation if you have a long way to commute.
- Nonprofit Radio Show – Sunshine for Small Nonprofits - Loaded with practical advice and insights prepared with Nancy Bacon's special flair for presenting and breaking down information so it really sticks with you.
- Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio: A weekly podcast that explores a wide range of nonprofit-specific topics
- The Impact Podcast: Social impact stories, interviews, reflections to help your reach your impact potential
- Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs: Interviews with successful social entrepreneurs and changemakers who are building a better world
- Changemaker: Social good startup stories, inspiring life lessons, and unexpected ideas
- Tiny Spark: Investigates philanthropy, nonprofits, and for-profit social good initiatives
- Business of Giving: Hear from philanthropists, corporate CEOs, nonprofit luminaries, celebrity ambassadors, government officials, and social entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of the transformative changes that are occurring around the world
- Nonprofit Leadership Podcast: Real stories from real leaders making a difference today
- The Classy Podcast: Tells the stories of today's leading founders and executives in the social sector
- Fundraising is Beautiful: Learn to appreciate the power and beauty of fundraising
- The Fundraising Authority: Learn new tips, tools, and strategies for fundraising through conversations with the best authors, consultants and leaders in nonprofit fundraising
- GrantSpace’s on-demand podcasts: Scroll through GrantSpace’s list of free podcasts that cover a wide range of philanthropy-focused topics
- Nonprofits Are Messy: Joan Garry chats with esteemed nonprofit leaders and thinkers
- Futures in Fundraising: An interview-based podcast that focuses on careers in fundraising and development
- The Nonprofit Ally: Listen to interviews with nonprofit directors, consultants, grant writers, and fundraisers. Get practical tips and advice from experts in nonprofit development
- Cause Talk Radio: Interviews with top industry experts on their initiatives that successfully combine cause and commerce
- Rise & Engage: A filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by straight-shooting Blackbaud experts
- Successful Nonprofits: For nonprofit professionals and board members
- The Good Journey Pod: Hear thought leaders, philanthropists, and innovators who are shaping the world of “good” share stories from their journey to help you along yours
Graphic novel anyone?
When we are learning, many of us limit our focus to our field or mission. Consider this quote from a nonprofit leader: “I believe, strongly, that intellectual bandwidth is key to creativity and adaptability, which are crucial to any leadership position.”
Reading outside of your field can help you develop this intellectual bandwidth. So consider stepping out of the nonprofit sector for some of your reading.
Please email @firstname.lastname@example.org if you have favorite items that should be on this list.