There's nothing that replaces on the job training for building your fundraising skills, but here are some great books that will give anyone a good foundation for fundraising:
- Fundraising Basics: A Complete Guide by Barbara Ciconte and Jeanne G. Jacob can serve as your foundation for strategy, ethics and accountability, and starting your development operation from scratch. It will be your go-to book for how-to strategy and tactics.
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath may seem like an odd choice. It's not. Fundraisers, especially those at the executive leadership level, work across all aspects of an organization and need the organization to be operating effectively to maximize impact and solidify the value of the investment to donors. As a result, fundraising staff are often the first to spot strategic and operational challenges. Switch provides the tools for being an effective change agent, as fundraisers so often are in their organizations. (Added bonus: You can read the first chapter for free here!)
- ROI for Nonprofits: The New Key to Sustainability by Tom Ralser is critical because it pushes us to treat our donors as investors and to measure our success based on impact, not outcome. With the ever-increasing competition that nonprofits face and the limitations of philanthropic giving, nonprofits MUST think in terms of ROI and impact. Doing good is no longer enough. Doing good effectively and with impact is the baseline for success in this day and age.
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