5 Must-Read Books for Fundraisers

Need some reading material for the holidays? A gift for that special fundraiser in your family? Take a look at these top picks available in print or for instant download. But how do you pick among the hundreds, if not thousands, of good fundraising books that have been published to help you develop the resources you need to make your organization successful?

>> Update: Are you pressed for time? Or are you not quite sure how to get started? Would it help if you could take a look at lots of different sample fundraising letters?

Then take a look our very own “Sample Fundraising Letters” e-book!




Focus your research on these five key principles of fundraising and reading the best in their genres:

1. Inspiration:

The first key to good fundraising is empowerment and passion. You need to believe in your cause to be able to convince others to believe in it. Positive thinking is indeed powerful!

Top Pick: Activate Your Goodness: Transforming the World Through Doing Good by Shari Arison.  

This book is full of insights from one of the most successful global businesswomen today on how to be good through all of your actions, to transform those around you and your own life. The perspective of a businessperson that does good is exactly where nonprofit fundraisers need to position their thinking – they are your future donors! At the same time, you can derive useful inspiration on how your work to do good is the most meaningful work that exists. That positive mind set will help you be more successful in your fundraising.

Buy this book here:

2. Managing Relationships:

Fundraising is all about relationships – how to find donors and manage their particular goals and aspirations to connect them to your cause. For a new fundraiser, a step by step guide to building and maintaining relationships is critical.

Top Pick: Relationship Fundraising: A Donor Based Approach to the Business of Raising Money by Ken Burnett.

This is a classic Bible of fundraising action steps to not only manage your relationships, but also to market your organization effectively to your donors. It has 200 action points and illustrative case studies for clear examples that will undoubtedly fill you with positive ideas!

Buy this book here:

3. Branding:

In the new world of social media and constant Internet connectivity, it is critical to communicate your message clearly through strategic branding. What you say about yourself and what others say about you on the web can ultimately determine your ability to fulfill your mission and attract donors.

Top Pick: Brandraising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money Through Smart Communications
by Sarah Durham.

Durham outlines how nonprofits should center all communications around their mission to create an effective brand that sets them apart. This book is a critical read before you start writing your proposals and communications materials!

Buy this book here:

4. Proposal Writing:

Whether you are focusing on government grants, private foundations, or major gift donations from individuals, key to fundraising is understanding the basics of how to write persuasively for results.

Top Pick: Writing for a Good Cause: The Complete Guide to Crafting Proposals and Other Persuasive Pieces for Nonprofits
by Joseph Barbato and Daniele Furlich.

The authors not only help explain how to write a successful proposal with a “down and dirty proposal kit”, but also how to write good web text and newsletters. Most reviewers comment on how witty and fun to read it is as well!

Buy this book here:

5. Organizational Strength:

While you might be a fantastic fundraiser, you can only succeed if your organization is helping you fundraise as well. That means that not only your executive director and program staff need to help raise money, but all of your volunteers, especially your board. One of the biggest challenges for nonprofits new to fundraising is to form and train a volunteer board centered around fundraising – and this task should be the focus of your capacity building efforts if you want to meet your campaign goals!

Top Pick: A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members by Julia I. Walker.

This easy to read, engaging handbook is written specifically for board members to learn how to fundraise to help their nonprofits, but it can alternatively be used by nonprofit professionals to train their board members. Either buy an e-copy for all of your board leaders and host a book club Q and A, or use it to create a quick guide or training retreat for them.

Buy this book here:

If you are new to nonprofit fundraising, try focusing on just a few specific areas to give yourself the background and context to be successful. All you need to be a good fundraiser is to be inspired, focus on your donors, communicate your mission well, and build your support network, and you can learn all these skills with just a few books!


take a look our very own “Sample Fundraising Letters” e-book!



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