Summer Reading for Changemakers: 9 Recommended Nonprofit Books

In the words of Mason Cooley, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” So what better time to pick up some new nonprofit books?

From marketing and fundraising to thriving at work, I’ve compiled a list of newly released books along with a few related reads that I think nonprofit professionals will enjoy this summer and beyond.

Nonprofit Books for Summer Reading

These aren’t your typical beach reads by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s a good chance you’ll find glimmers of inspiration and real-world applications. Find them at your local bookstore, public library or most online retailers.

How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit in 90 Days by Julia Campbell

As digital communications shift in major ways, it’s the right opportunity to add to your library of nonprofit marketing books. Julia Campbell is a long-time expert on all things social media for nonprofits, and her latest book gives you the perfect project for summer (you know, before year-end appeals). Learn how to revamp your social media presence and stay focused on real results.

Learn more from the publisher

Responsive Fundraising: The Donor-centric Framework Helping Today’s Leading Nonprofits Grow Giving by Gabe Cooper and Mckenna Bailey

Have you been hearing more about marketing personalization these days? Sending highly targeted, well-timed, and data-driven messages are all things that are just as important in fundraising. Authors Gabe Cooper and Mckenna Bailey will get you up to speed so that you can better connect with your supporters with a plan of action.

Learn more from Virtuous

Donor Care: How to Keep Donors Coming Back after the First Gift by John Haydon

Does a well-cared-for donor become a returning donor? That’s the idea behind the late John Haydon’s book on building donor loyalty through effective communications. Anticipated to be one of the best books on nonprofit fundraising this year, including a foreword from fellow fundraising guru Tom Ahern, this is a book for marketers and fundraisers to pick up if you want a new framework to work on your donor retention rates.

Learn more from Goodreads

Brand Storytelling: Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story by Miri Rodriguez

Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez is ready to help organizations of all types do a better job of connecting with their communities in authentic ways that strengthen your brand. If you find yourself constantly trying to explain your mission rather than the impact that it has, this book can help you reframe your storytelling efforts as a tool to be used across your organization.

Learn more from the publisher

Building Brand Communities: How Organizations Succeed by Creating Belonging by Carrie Melissa Jones and Charles Vogl

Whether your nonprofit is looking to build online or offline communities, this new book breaks down different types of approaches that can serve various organizational goals. Peppered with real examples, you’ll learn about the strategies and key considerations before heading too far down this path without a proper guide.

Learn more from Goodreads

Resilient Management by Lara Hogan

As a leadership coach in the tech industry, Lara Hogan is familiar with the ups and downs of managing and supporting a team. This book not only offers tips and advice on people management but also gives you the tools needed to assess your own style of leading. Get to know the folks you work with, set better expectations and work on the overall resiliency of your team so that you can thrive through the tough times.

Learn more from the author

For more on resilience, don’t miss our post for nonprofit marketers.

How to Listen and How to Be Heard: Inclusive Conversations at Work by Alissa Carpenter

Workplace expert Alissa Carpenter knows that it isn’t always easy to say your piece and feel listened to at the office. Generational differences, biases and internal silos are real and common challenges no matter the industry or mission. Learn to empower yourself and have difficult conversations that will ultimately make for a stronger organization that thrives on differences. Don’t have time to read? Check out the author’s podcast instead!

Learn more from Goodreads

The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen: Soul-Stirring Lessons in Gastrophilanthropy by Stephen Henderson

Foodie do-gooders will enjoy this round-the-world exploration of the many ways in which kitchens are working to “nourish the needy” with free meals. Part travel book and part case studies, you’ll learn how volunteering in a soup kitchen led the author on a journey to understand how and why serving communities through food makes a difference. As an added bonus, all of the book’s proceeds benefit the Food Bank for New York City.

Learn more from the author

Taking a Break from Saving the World: A Conservation Activist’s Journey from Burnout to Balance by Stephen Legault

Reading about burnout in the midst of your own burnout might seem overwhelming, but Stephen Legault’s new book offers a realistic assessment of working and volunteering at nonprofits. Using his own experience in conservation, the author outlines ways to help free yourself from anxiety and create organizational structures that allow you to find quiet waters.

Learn more from the publisher

If you have a chance to escape the world for a little while, pick up a new book that taps into nonprofit life or simply refreshes your mind outside of the office. Whether you enjoy it from the hammock, front porch, or even on audio, you’re bound to gain new insights and appreciation for your community of fellow nonprofit professionals.

What’s on your list of nonprofit books to read? Know of any new reads that should be on our radar? Drop your reading recommendations in the comments.