Nonprofit books are a special type of book that is designed to help people who find a  particular purpose or showcase specific issues and how they can be solved.

These books are typically written by experts in the field and offer practical advice and guidance on how to solve or be a part of a certain issue.

Nonprofit books can be an invaluable resource for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance, and they can often be found for free or at a reduced cost from charities and other organizations.

If you are a professional, consider picking up one of these nonprofit books if you’re in need of inspiration or instruction. Each of these reads give a unique perspective on managing social impact organizations, nonprofits and for-profits alike.

Know that they are mostly instructional but powerful and engaging all the while. They’re perfect for leaders in any organization that’s seeking to generate positive social change.

Read any or all of these nonprofit books to learn how to ground your work in the methods that have propelled so many others in this sector before you.


1 | Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children

John Wood discovered his passion, his greatest success, and his life’s work not at business school or helping lead Microsoft’s charge into Asia in the 1990s but on a soul-searching trip to the Himalayas.

He made the difficult decision to walk away from his lucrative career to create Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that promotes education across the developing world.

By the end of 2007, the organization will have established over 5,000 libraries and 400 schools, and awarded long-term scholarships to more than 3,000 girls, giving more than one million children the lifelong gift of education.

Read here

2 | The Networked Nonprofit

Nonprofit books - The Networked Nonprofit

Kanter and Fine offer some insight into the world of nonprofits that challenges common ideals on nonprofit operations.

They provoke organizations to utilize the ever-growing social tools at their doorstep and explain how networking plays a role in maximizing impacts.

This book will inspire innovation and help you to better understand how well-connected trumps big and dominating.

If your nonprofit is looking for that special edge, read this book and learn to harness social media for a free yet oh-so-valuable expansion to your mission.

Read here.

3 | Forces of Good

This book has a secret to tell about the makings of a truly successful nonprofit. Crutchfield and Grant offer words to shatter the stereotypes about big budgets and flashy marketing techniques.

So a few thoughts that don’t reveal the hidden gems in this chart-topping book on business: First, the ideas inside are credible!

Over 4 years of nonprofit dissections are boiled down to 6 practices- each used by those “high-impact nonprofits” we love and admire.

You’ll discover the highly effective practices of top dogs like Habitat for Humanity and walk away with best-selling advice rooted in years of research.

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4 | The Non Nonprofit

This author left the world of big business to make a splash in the nonprofit sector with a venture he named Twin Cities RISE!.

Rothschild shares about his journey from business to the formation of his poverty reduction program and begs nonprofits to flip their operations.

He recognizes that social ventures have everything to gain by adopting the practices of any major company with financial success. If your nonprofit needs a boost, this book can transform the way you do business.

Booming operations means thriving social impacts! So what’re you waiting for? Open your mind to new practices in the name of positive social change.

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5 | Nonprofits Management 101

Understand from the get-go that these pages read like a handbook. It is geared for an audience of nonprofit professionals and offers advice on the path to success in business and in life.

Especially handy for nonprofit newcomers, this book gives advice for effective habits and strategies that will make your day to day run more smoothly.

Whether you struggle with fundraising, marketing, or advocacy, this book has something for you.

As the former Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation, Heyman has years of experience that mold his ideals and even includes contributions from 50 driven experts.

Read here.

6 | The Little Book of Boards: A Board Member’s Handbook for Small (and Very Small) Nonprofits

So many board members—especially of small nonprofits—want to support a nonprofit and readily accept the invitation to join the board. It’s only then that they discover they are in over their heads, with no idea of their expectations and responsibilities.

The Little Book of Boards is here to throw that drowning board member a rope.

Told with a conversational style, this book will lead you through the basics of being on a board, how meetings work, and what’s expected between meetings.

In addition, at the back of the book are several in-depth resources for understanding Roberts Rules of Order, bylaws, committee structures, board leadership, and much more.

Perfect for any new board member—or for an entire board that is feeling lost—this book and its common sense approach will serve you every year you are on the board.

This book has helped thousands of boards improve how they work together for their nonprofit.

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7 | Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because the World Is Counting on You Revised Edition

Now in its second edition, Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership is a must-have resource for organizations of all shapes and sizes wanting to make a bigger difference in the world.

Filled with real-life stories and concrete strategies, this practical guide helps develop the specialized skills and mindset needed to successfully lead and manage a stable and impactful world-class organization.

A lot has happened since Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership was first published in 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election cycle, and seismic economic and cultural shifts have transformed the nonprofit world.

This second edition provides a wealth of new content and fresh perspectives on changes in the nonprofit landscape.

Brand-new chapters bring the core responsibilities of board service to life, offer practical advice on how small nonprofits can have an outsized impact, discuss effective crisis management approaches, and deliver even more stories and lessons drawn from the Joan Garry’s work with thousands of nonprofit leaders.

Throughout the book, the author shares new insights on topics such as managing crises, graceful exits, organizational transitions, and more. Honest, authentic, and sometimes hilarious, this book will help you:

  • Gain a rich understanding of what it takes to lead a nonprofit 
  • Raise awareness and make the greatest possible impact 
  • Create successful and sustainable fundraising programs 
  • Reinvigorate your organization’s passion for its mission 
  • Work in true partnership with staff and board members 
  • Respond effectively to crises and avoid common pitfalls 

Written by the former Executive Director of GLAAD and founder of the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership is required reading for nonprofit board members, leaders, managers, and staff looking to make the greatest possible impact.

Read here.

8 | The Little Book of Nonprofit Leadership: An Executive Director’s Handbook for Small (and Very Small) Nonprofits

Nonprofit expert Erik Hanberg wrote The Little Book of Nonprofit Leadership to speak directly to Executive Directors of small (and very small) nonprofits who are asking these questions.

EDs, especially at small nonprofits, tend to be dropped into the deep end of the pool with the expectation that they know how to swim. The Little Book of Nonprofit Leadership will be a welcome rescue line.

The book is filled with practical tips and big-picture ideas about:

  • the basics of the job
  • program, people, and money—the three essential areas that a nonprofit ED needs to master
  • working with your board (including how to ask for a raise!)
  • your first 100 days as a new ED
  • a guide to being a part-time Executive Director
  • and more, including access to bonus chapters and special resources!

Erik Hanberg has twenty years of nonprofit experience at organizations of all sizes. He’s channeled that experience into his four “little books” for nonprofits, which together have sold tens of thousands of copies.

Read here.

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