uilding Smart Nonprofits: A Roadmap for Mission Success (Book Review)
Authors: David J O’Brien and Matthew D Craig
4 sentence book summary:
The authors are volunteer leaders within the sector who explore a variety of topics and models of interest to nonprofits. I especially enjoyed and appreciated their thoughts on funding models, leveraging credit, pay equity, mergers, philanthropy, and leadership. Despite its subtitle “A Roadmap for Mission Success,” the book is more like a collection of tourist maps. It won’t help you get an organization from point A to point B, but will help you decide your organization’s general direction.
Who this book is for:
The material is presented with the assumption that readers already understand the fundamental building blocks of the sector. For this reason, this book is ideal for those who have worked in the sector for at least a couple decades.
My top takeaways from the book:
- Funding diversity is about the number of funding sources, not about the source itself. As an example, it’s not healthy for an organization to get 78% of its funding from one Federal funding program. But it’s okay for an organization to get 78% of its funding from 4 different Federal funding programs.
- Consider “Wall Street” options: impact securities, pay for success capital intermediaries, and loans with efficiency payoffs. The book is worth your time just for this section (chapter 2)!
- The chapter on the Social Sector Pay Gap is also a must-read. Our sector must do more to recognize and end the pay gap.
- The authors have a frank discussion about the responsible use of credit and loans. I’ve seen far too many organizations get in trouble by financing their core operations without any realistic options for long-term sustainability.
If you liked this book, check out:
- SNP resources
- External resources