Nonprofit Management Books

Management is tough, especially under the stress of delivering a nonprofit's mission. Learning from others is crucial to being the best boss you can be, that's why we want to give you some of the best books you can take real lessons from.  


Good to Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking is Not the Answer - Jim Collins

You must own this book. It captures in just 40 pages (yes… 40… so you have no excuse not to read it) the recipe for taking a good organization to the next level. There are infographics that will totally stick with you as you go about your day. And I guarantee you – you will become way more intentional about the hires you make and the board members you invite to join you.


Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business - John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia

Whilst this seem a strange recommendation, John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods presents a great way to think through your vision as a business. There are valuable lessons about how to create a Win6 approach to benefit not just yourself but all the stakeholders you work with. Some of the philosophy of the book could be helpful to the nonprofit industry. 


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die - Chip and Dan Heath

This is a must read. And an easy one. To me, the biggest takeaway for nonprofits is that leaders love their work and want everyone to love it. So they over-tell and try to cover everything. The Heath Brothers talk about cutting through the clutter and “the curse of knowledge” – we know so much about our organizations that we get into detail that listeners don’t understand. They say that we can’t un-know what we know so we have to transform how we communicate to those who don’t know about our work.


Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results - Alison Green

“No one has more constructive insight and real life experience in helping progressive managers build strong organizations that get results than Jerry Hauser and the team at The Management Center. I hope that every person who does, or aspires to, manage a progressive organization will read this book.”

 Rob Stein, Founder, Democracy Alliance


Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because Nonprofits Are Messy - Joan Garry

Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership will show you how to thrive. Funny, honest, intensely actionable, and based on her decades of experience, this is the book Joan Garry wishes she had when she led GLAAD out of a financial crisis in 1997. Joan will teach you how to:

  • Build a powerhouse board
  • Create an impressive and sustainable fundraising program
  • Become seen as a ‘workplace of choice’
  • Tell your stories in a way that inspires and invites people to participate
  • Be a compelling public face of your nonprofit


Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits - Leslie R. Crutchfield , McLeod Grant, and Heather J. Gregory Dees

Forces for Good blows away everything you thought you knew about what makes a great nonprofit tick. What Crutchfield and McLeod Grant didn't know, and what they came to realize through their research, was that highly effective nonprofits seldom fit our expectations of what a well-run organization should look like. Management structures in such organizations are far from perfect (and are sometimes chaotic); big ideas are less important than how those ideas are implemented; and an organization's size has no correlation to its ability to affect change.

Also, find out how the books principles can be applied to local and smaller nonprofits


Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around - Roberta Chinsky Matuson

Truly two books in one, Suddenly in Charge teaches readers how to manage down and establish credibility; it also demonstrates the success strategies necessary for managing up. The keys to reputation and career upkeep can be found in both sections, and readers will find it easy to flip back and forth in order to gain tailored advice.


Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keeps the Best - Roberta Chinsky Matuson

In Talent Magnetism, Roberta Matuson, bestselling author of Suddenly in Charge, explains how to navigate the changing talent pool and the challenges of recruitment. The impact of extraordinary workers—ambitious, driven employees who are reliable under a tight deadline, are always seeking to improve, and consistently deliver results—is undisputed, and having such workers can determine a company’s success. With concrete tips and enlightening employee comments, Talent Magnetism is an invaluable guide to attracting and retaining the top talent that can transform your organization.

Latest Jobs

Mar 09, 2020
The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment seeks a full-time Rural Community Development Program Manager to help lead the organization’s work with rural communities and collaboratives. The position is based in the rural northern Sierra town of Taylorsville and involves periodic travel to rural communities in forested mountain regions and elsewhere in California to work with disadvantaged and underserved communities, and to build community capacity. The position involves the development, implementation, and oversight of grant-funded projects and the management of staff. Review of applications will begin March 24th, 2020   Job Duties The Rural Community Development Program Manager (“Program Manager”) is expected to manage research and implementation projects, and to coordinate with numerous local government, community, and Tribal partners throughout the Sierra Nevada and the State of California. The manager may also be involved in work beyond California. This is a highly communicative position, with daily email and phone contact with partners ranging from state and federal agency personnel to underserved rural community members. The Program Manager will be involved in a variety of projects, including but not limited to the assessment of rural socioeconomic well-being, community capacity enhancement, and community economic development. Projects typically span natural resource management – especially water and forests – and socioeconomic issues, so a background in both natural and social sciences is helpful. The position involves work with leading collaborative groups in the State of California advancing all-lands management working in partnership with state and federal agencies, including the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Forest Service, among others. Responsibilities also include capacity building for NGOs, tribes, and local governments. Specific projects include collaborative water management, development of woody biomass utilization facilities (e.g., lumber mills, electricity generating stations), forest workforce development, and assessment of rural community vulnerability to climate change. Much of this work involves coordinating diverse partners to establish novel processes and community functions, requiring creativity, perseverance, and comfort with uncertainty. Qualifications a Ph.D. or Masters degree with experience in social science and/or economics, natural resources, or rural development; experience managing research teams and projects; the ability to work with a team/diverse people, and work independently; experience developing and writing grant proposals; experience working with underserved communities; excellent quantitative and/or qualitative research skills; and excellent verbal and written communication skills.  ---------------------------------------------------------------------   About the Sierra Institute The Sierra Institute promotes healthy forests, watersheds, and communities by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource management. Our work is grounded by the concept of triple bottom line values, supporting initiatives that simultaneously benefit the environment, economy, and equity within a given landscape. The organization is more than 20 years old, has experienced significant recent growth, and continues to evolve in its projects and partners. Location Sierra Institute is located in Taylorsville, CA (population 154), and lies within a large mountain meadow referred to as “Indian Valley,” which includes the communities of Greenville and Crescent Mills. Indian Valley offers uniquely rural community events and is surrounded by many outdoor recreation opportunities within nearby public lands including Plumas and Lassen National Forests, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. Compensation The anticipated salary range is $55,000-$63,000 per year. The Sierra Institute maintains an extensive benefits package, including health and dental benefits. Retirement benefits will accrue after the first year. The incumbent is also eligible for paid holiday, vacation, and sick leave consistent with Sierra Institute’s organizational policies.   How to Apply Please send your cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references as one PDF to with “Rural Community Development Program Manager” in the subject line. Review of applications will begin on March 24th, 2020 , but the position is open until filled. Please call (530) 284-1022 with questions.
Sierra Institute for Community and Environment Taylorsville, CA, USA Programs