This month, it is Jim O’Brien’s turn to share his five best fundraising books. Jim O’Brien is a highly sought-after fundraising professional with more than twenty years’ experience in developing and leading teams and programs in healthcare and higher education. He is a senior fundraising consultant at AskRIGHT.
I wish this book had been written when I started my career in fundraising. It is the comprehensive and authoritative guide to the principles and practices of fundraising.
Whether you are a senior professional, a serious student or a mid-career professional looking to take the next step in your career, this book covers the territory impeccably.
This is one book that I have recommended to a number of my colleagues, particularly for those taking on an expanded leadership role. It is all about managing your work environment.
As so well described in the book, the role now includes: relationship builder, shaper of culture, strategist, thought partner, flag bearer, sight raiser, talent magnet and mentor.
The book draws on Ron’s own experience as well as fascinating insights from interviews with a range of fundraising and other organisational leaders.
Ron reminds us that surviving and succeeding as the head of fundraising takes more than fundraising expertise.
This classic in the field summarises well the research on why people say ‘yes.’ The book is hugely important to everyone in the business of engaging potential donors, volunteers and others in supporting their work. Nowadays, we are continually asking and being asked to make commitments, get involved, collaborate and participate.
Whether you are thinking about how to organise your giving webpage, design an annual appeal, or build mutually beneficial relationships with your lead donors, this book has something to offer.
4. Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, Geoff Colvin
While talent may be overrated as a key to success, the concept ‘deliberate practice’ is under-appreciated. Whether you are learning piano, how to play a sport, asking for gifts, or growing a fundraising team, the key to excellence is deliberate practice – focussed repetition designed to improve performance with the help of a teacher and mentor, and feedback.
The book provides a useful reminder that experts literally perceive and understand the world of their fields differently than novices.
If you want to get better at asking for money, ask more people, more often, reflect and learn from your mistakes.
Author, journalist and staff writer for The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell brings his sharp intellect to analyse the process where certain ideas and products seem to suddenly take off and others fail.
Drawing on observations on how epidemics progress, the distinctions he makes provide a useful framework for describing and ultimately creating change. Fundraising is about ideas that stick, about making a difference and about building and engaging communities and its diverse personalities.
The Tipping Point offers a useful model to think broadly about the building blocks for engaging and moving broad constituencies, not just individuals.
What about you? What are your five top fundraising books? Join the discussion on LinkedIn!
Jim is based in Sydney. To find out how Jim can help your organisation, contact j.obrien@AskRIGHT.com.
Latest posts by Jim O'Brien (see all)
- Rotary International: Making a Difference Globally - January 23, 2018
- The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC): Chicago’s Only Public Research University - December 12, 2017
- How, Why and How Much Australians Give to Charity: 3 Important and Surprising Findings - March 21, 2017