A New Guide for Surviving the Crazy World of Nonprofits

11.19.2013By

Jennifer Maher knows how crazy nonprofits are. She’s been working for and with them for twenty years, and she knows all about “managing the crazy.”

That’s the goal behind her new book Nonprofit Nonsense: How to Survive and Thrive in the Crazy World of Nonprofit Business.

This is a great book that will embolden the seasoned professional and educate the budding fundraiser. Jen shares her wisdom in 36 short chapters that are wonderfully illustrated by Rob Husberg.

Some of the chapter titles include: Walk the Talk, Legal Woes and Noes, and When Marketing was a Four Letter Word. Throughout the book, Jen is practical, insightful, and funny.

“The not-for-profit world doesn’t need another textbook,” Jen explains in chapter one. “We need a laugh! We need to hear the stories of those who came before us, who walked the road, wore out their shoes, and endured the road rash.”

This is the best kind of book as it’s crowdsourced advice from Jen’s many colleagues and friends from the nonprofit world.

I’ve spent years raising money from businesses and teaching others how to do the same. Jen’s chapter on Corporate Relations and Marketing Go Hand-in Hand is spot on.

First, Jen says that corporate relations, sponsorship, cause marketing, etc. are marketing, not philanthropy. Many nonprofits don’t realize this and get miffed when their corporate partner treats it as such.

Second, Jen stresses the importance of honoring commitments. And here’s where Jen’s book really shines. She shares her own painful experience to hammer home the lesson that, “If you’re going to be all hat and no cattle, then get out of the corporate relations game. Save your brand and reputation.” And yourself from a lot of headaches!

The book’s 31 illustrations by Rob Husberg humorously drive home Jen’s message. I love this one in the chapter on Nonprofit IT. It’s so true!

The holidays are right around the corner and this book is a great gift for anyone who works in the nonprofit world, or is considering a nonprofit career. Working for a nonprofit is a lot like a gift. Sometimes we get what we want. Sometimes we grin and bear it. Nonprofit Nonsense will help you make the best of both.