31 of #100 Things We’ve Learned: Often a good read is a great place to start

Sometimes a little reading is a good place to start.

Staff or directors of nonprofit organizations come to us every day seeking our help to improve their functioning. And while I would never discourage anyone from that, I also encourage my clients and prospective clients to do some reading on their own. (Maybe it’s because one of my best friends and my next door neighbors are all librarians!)

I happen to learn a whole lot from reading. It’s one thing that I wish I had much, much more time to do. Thankfully, with Twitter, I now have hundreds of helpers who are out there looking for good reads that they can recommend to their followers. (You can follow me @gaylegifford)

I often start retreats or planning sessions I facilitate with a good discussion about an interesting article that the group was asked to read in advance of the session.

There is lots of really, really interesting stuff out there. So  let me just share a tiny few this Monday.


I jut got off the phone with the founder of a relatively new nonprofit organization. While the conversation had little direct connection to founder-ness, it did remind me of two of my favorite articles about founders. Both are written from the perspective of colleagues who really honor the extraordinary role of founders, unlike some of the other pieces I’ve read that treat founders as a disease to be cured.

Nonprofit Funding and Financial Issues

There is so much to recommend here, but take a look at anything from Clara Miller of the Nonprofit Finance Fund. I find myself frequently recommending ” The Looking Glass World of Nonprofit Money.”

I’m also very much transfixed by The Bridgespan Group’s study “How Nonprofits Get Really Big” that raises lots of questions about the doctrine of diversification of  nonprofit revenue sources.

Program Planning

If you haven’t yet, you’ve got to take a look at The Stages of Change model developed by James O. Prochaska, Ph.D. et al at the University of Rhode Island. While I could have titled this section Making Change, I really think that anyone designing programming should take a look at this five stage model of change before leaping in.

Okay, just a few of my favorites for a Monday. Care to share some of yours?

(Or course, we’ve got a whole library of reads in the Articles sections of our website.)

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