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Best books for nonprofit communicators

I cross posted this at the Making Media Connections conference site

Pulling together a list of books for the bookseller’s table at Making Media Connections. Reams of reports on communications and other great resources are fresh and new:

  • Simon Perazza drew my attention to this one from Arts Work Fund, for arts groups, here
  • last fall’s evaluating communications guide under the auspices of the Communications Network by Edith Asibey here (you will need to scroll down to the 3rd item on the page),
  • Ford Foundation’s GrantCraft is producing a report on strategic communications next month, too

But we don’t have much between covers on our field.

Since we are having a book seller at our conference who helpfully asked us–what kind of books would your attendees find useful? we did some brainstorming but I suspect we are missing a few gems.

Here’s what we came up with–what are we missing? (these are alphabetical by title):

  • AP Stylebook by Associated Press: (The indispensable for communicators)
  • Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam: (Classic on social capital, a term of art in today’s nonprofit practice)
  • Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Nonprofits Impact Culture and Others Don’t by Phil Cooke: (haven’t read it, but sounds intriguing)
  • CMW Editorial Handbook by CMW: (A nascent publication that’ll come in handy we think–a digest of our recent articles, full of hands-on tips)
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug: Costly but worth it…for principles of web design (a quick read)
  • Don’t Think of An Elephant by George Lakoff: Feels kinda like talking to grandpa…but still important concepts (along the lines of “we ride on the shoulders of giants, to poop in their ears)
  • Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky: (I don’t always understand the pretty diagrams but I buy the argument on what happens when the cost to gather information is radically reduced)
  • Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities by Mark Gerzon: I heard this guy speak recently, and was entranced with his ideas of democratic dialogue
  • Level Best: How Small and Grassroots Nonprofits Can Tackle Evaluation and Talk Results by Marcia Festen and Marianne Philbin: Changed how we look at eval
  • Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath: Encapsulates almost everything we need to know about strategy
  • Making the News by Jason Salzman: My first textbook… aging but great
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser: Classic on how to write better
  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds: This is the book on the list that I want to read!
  • Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contributions by Sandra Beckwith: I found this an ok guide, others might be more enthusiastic
  • Robin Hood Marketing by Katya Andresen: Current, from a leading practitioner
  • SPIN handbook by Robert Bray: Still a great hands-on resource–if only for Robert’s “brother-in-law” story¨
  • Strategic Communications for Nonprofits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Working with the Media (The Jossey-Bass Nonprofit Guidebook Series) by Kathy Bonk, Emily Tynes, Henry Griggs, Phil Sparks: updated–the newest entry in the field
  • The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain: Provocative!
  • The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott: Is this the right one? Picked at random from a bunch of similar entrants at Amazon
  • The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real Time Strategic Planing in a Rapid Response World by David LaPiana: Changed how I look at strategic planning, saving hours of sitzfleisch time
  • Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin: Latest from the Internet guru, gotta have Seth, right?
  • We’re Alll Journalists Now by Scott Gant: We need something about citizen journalism, right?

What do you think? Good? Bad? Ugly? Your recommendations welcome! Comment or email me.

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5 Responses

  1. Sandy Rees says:

    Tom Ahern has a couple of wonderful books out that you should add to your list. “How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money” and “Raising More Money With Newsletters Than You Ever Thought Possible.” Both cover issues related to communicating with donors and creating communication/marketing materials that donors will actually read. I highly recommend them both. They are both easy, quick reads and packed with good info.

  2. Gordon says:

    Thanks Sandy!

  3. Gordon says:

    Here’s another one via Facebook:
    Re:Imagining Change – An Introduction to Story-based Strategy
    by Smart Meme–it’s downloadable at:
    (suggested download = $10)

  4. Beth Kanter says:

    Brian Solis, PR 2.0 – a must read- focused more on the for-profit end of things, but very useful information.

    KD Paine – PR measurement.

    Allison Fine, Momentum

    And of course, the book I’m co-writing with Allison once it is published

  5. […] Best books for nonprofit communicators from NP Communicator’s Community Media Workshop. I have the feeling there’s a host of other wish list items there for the pillaging! // 0 Comments – Leave a comment! « Previous PostNext Post » /* […]

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