There are a lot of resources out there for fundraisers to sift through. Between classes, webinars, conferences, blogs, and more… there’s a ton of information competing for your attention. Because I want you to be able to find the best fundraising resources for your organization, today I’m presenting a list of the 7 best fundraising books for non-profits of all sizes.
Before we get to the list, I want to give you a caveat: every non-profit and every development professional is coming from a different place. Every fundraiser has different skill sets and different levels of experience. Thus, every fundraiser needs different resources to help hone their skills. That being said, in my experience the fundraising books on this list should be on every non-profit fundraiser’s bookshelf.
Here they are, in no particular order:
#1: The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications by Jeff Brooks
There are lots of fundraising books about storytelling and donor communications. If you have to choose just one to read, pick this classic by Jeff Brooks. In this very entertaining book, Brooks teaches how to create great fundraising messages for all of your donor communications. This guide will help you write better fundraising letters, send better donor newsletters, create better online communications, and more.
#2: Asking by Jerold Panas
Even seasoned fundraisers get nervous about making asks. This book by Jerry Panas will help you overcome those fears and learn the secrets to successful asking. As fundraising books go, this one is both short (the author promises you can read it in just one hour) and also a classic.
#3: Capital Campaigns: Strategies that Work by Andrea Kihlstedt
This book by Andrea Kihlstedt (along with Gail Perry and Miriam Barnard) is the guide to running a successful capital campaign. This book is a complete deep dive into the strategies your non-profit needs to know if you want to run a fully-funded capital campaign. From developing your campaign strategy and building a leadership team to going out to raise six- and seven-figure gifts, this is one of those fundraising books that covers its topic from A to Z.
#4: It’s Not Just About the Money by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels
Want to learn how to build a better major donor program at your non-profit? Look no further than this guide from Veritus Group co-founders Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels. This book is easy to read and includes real-world, actionable advice that you can implement today in order to find and engage with major donors for your non-profit.
#5: Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing by Michael Rosen
Many non-profits think that planned gift fundraising needs to be complex and time-consuming. Not so, says author Michael Rosen. This book is my go-to guide for building successful planned giving programs. In this book, you’ll learn simple, step-by-step strategies for getting donors to make planned gifts to your non-profit. Of all of the fundraising books available that focus on planned giving, I have found this guide to be the easiest to understand and to implement.
#6: Asking Styles by Andrea Kihlstedt
I love this short guide by Andrea Kihlstedt so much that I often recommend it (and the companion site at Asking Matters) during my fundraising training programs and seminars. While most fundraising books build on well-known development practices, this revolutionary guide presents a brand-new idea: that there are four different asking styles, and that every single non-profit fundraiser falls into one of those styles.
Knowing your asking style will help you become a better fundraiser by allowing you to use strategies and tactics that match your unique style. In this guide, Andrea will help you figure out your asking style as well as the asking strategies that will work best for you.
#7: Retention Fundraising by Roger Craver
Did you know that on average, more than ½ of the donors that give a first gift to a non-profit will never give again? Donor retention is one of the biggest issues in non-profit fundraising. Thankfully, there are steps your organization can take to make sure your donors continue to give year after year. In one of the only fundraising books focused specifically on donor retention, Roger Craver helps non-profits create pro-active strategies to increase retention and grow fundraising each and every year.
As I said earlier, these 7 fundraising books belong on every fundraiser’s bookshelf. Each is an essential guide to one facet of non-profit fundraising, and each will help you raise more money so your organization can do more good in the world.
Please note that some of the links on this page are Amazon affiliate links, and we may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you decide to purchase one of these fundraising books through the above links.