Each year we ask regional associations staff to recommend their “bests”—best programs, best speakers, best mistakes, and so on. Below are the top 5 reads in philanthropy of 2013 according to our members.
Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations and Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations by Harrison Coerver & Mary Byers, CAE
Race for Relevance proposes five radical changes for associations to undergo, in order to remain relevant in today’s marketplace. Complementing Race, Road to Relevance outlines five strategies to make an association rise above its competition, using case studies and provocative questions to demonstrate implementation.
With Charity for All: Why Charities are Failing and a Better Way to Give by Ken Stern
Stern reveals the fallbacks of nonprofit organizations, in a sector with little accountability and an extremely low barrier to entry. Still, he sees hope for widespread reform in a growing movement toward increased effectiveness among American charities.
The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle by Ann Goggins Gregory & Don Howard, Stand Social Innovation Review
Gregory and Howard identify a cycle in which funders have unrealistic expectations of a nonprofit’s need. This causes the nonprofit to withhold critical overhead spending and misrepresent their costs, thus feeding the funder’s distorted beliefs. The authors call on funders and nonprofit leaders alike to get a better understanding of real infrastructure needs and put an end to the cycle of nonprofit starvation.
Red Hook Autumn: Losing and Gaining Power During the Disaster by Lisa Cowan, Philanthropy New York’s Smart Assets Blog
Based in New York, the Red Hook Initiative serves the youth living in the NYC Housing Authority Red Hook houses and unintentionally became a hub for disaster relief in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. RHI Board President Lisa Cowan recounts how the organization’s skills were put to the test, as staff and volunteers went above and beyond their usual roles in order to meet the needs of the community.
The Nonprofit Outcomes Toolbox by Robert Penna, Ph.D.
Penna identifies outcome-based tools- often borrowing from approaches in the corporate sector- to help nonprofit, philanthropic, and governmental organizations achieve desired results and, ultimately, increase effectiveness.
Photo from ASAE.