Book Review: Because Nonprofits are Messy

The full title of this great book is… Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because Nonprofits are Messy .

9781119293064.pdfJoan Garry, has been called the Dear Abby of the nonprofit world and she’s the kind of author I enjoy reading. She’s down-to-earth; a skillful raconteur; humorous and wise.  She also doesn’t need to use catchy metaphors (like a hedgehog, or cheese) to write a worthwhile and practical book on nonprofit leadership.

Even the chapter titles make me want to read more:

Chapter 1 The Superpowers of Nonprofit Leadership
Chapter 2: You’ve Got to Get Me at Hello
Chapter 3: Co-Pilots in a Twin-Engine Plane
Chapter 4: The Key Is Not in the Answers. It’s in the Questions
Chapter 5: You Can Do This
Chapter 6: Managing the Paid and the Unpaid (Or, I Came to Change the World, Not Conduct Evaluations)
Chapter 7: When It Hits the Fan
Chapter 8: Hello, I Must Be Going (Or Navigating Leadership Transitions)
Chapter 9: You Are the Champions

And here is a sample of her unique writing style and perspective:

“Because nonprofits are messy. It’s inherent in the formula of the unique beast we call a 501(C)(3).

A + B+ C+ a big dose of intense passion = MESSY

    1. A poorly paid and overworked group (staff) that…
    2. Relies on the efforts of people who get paid nothing (volunteers) and are overseen by…
    3. Another group of volunteers who get paid nothing and are supposed to give and get lots of money (board).”

I admit, I have not yet read this book cover-to-cover, but what I have read has been spot-on and I’m very comfortable recommending it. You can find it in the ACPL catalog here.  We have two copies on the shelves in the PCNRC, let me know if you enjoyed reading it as much as I have.  Marilynn

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