I have received so many messages about whether I can recommend some books to read this summer, especially since my last blog on ‘Top Ten Tips for Fundraisers on Staying Well-Informed’, where I mentioned that every fundraiser must find time to read books and I gave some tips on how you can be super busy but still find the time to read a few pages daily. There are so many books I would like to recommend but I guess one blog wouldn’t be enough to list them all, so here are my top 3 books for you to read this summer. I have included some takeaways, although these takeaways don’t do any justice to these amazing books, that is just to provide you with the gist:
1. The Zen of Fundraising: 89 Timeless Ideas to Strengthen and Develop Your Donor Relationships, by Ken Burnett
In this book, Ken has beautifully identified and defined 89 amazing ‘fundraising gems’ to help you develop, strengthen and retain the relationship with your donors. This book will teach you what makes donors tick and more importantly what makes them give. Here are the few takeaways:
- Talk to donors where they are, NOT where you want them to be: Often fundraisers assume that donors have great knowledge of or level of interest in the organisation’s cause than they actually do. So the fundraisers infuse their communications with jargon, talk in an acronym or refer to complex issues and backgrounds that fundraiser might understand and be interested in but that might mean little to the average donor. So if we want to avoid incomprehension and blank looks, we must talk to people where they are, in the language they can understand.
- Offer involvement to your donor at every opportunity: We must let our donors know that their input is welcome and important and that their further involvement is encouraged.
- Focus on the major motivations that have attracted donors to your organisation’s cause in the first place: You must first identify these motivations and try to understand these motivations then make the best possible use of those motivations to strengthen the further relationship with your donors.
- Believe passionately in your cause: Never be ashamed or embarrassed by your passion or afraid to show it in public, on the contrary, be proud of it!
2. The Fundraiser Who Wanted More, by Rob Woods
Rob Wood writes in a fun way about a fundraiser who wanted to be more effective and able to make a bigger difference. Rob shares 5 valuable secrets, which he calls ‘The laws of persuasion’, to help you take more actions, feel more confident in what you do and raise more support for your organisation and effectively make a difference in the world. Especially, if you are someone who is good at meeting and networking with prospective donors but often struggle to translate or convert those relationships into benefit for your organisation, then you should be reading this book, here are some takeaways;
- The Law of Decision: In fundraising, as in life, all great progress starts with a decision. Rob teaches you the ultimate truth in fundraising which is, that there are no skills in fundraising which can’t be dramatically improved if you put your mind to it. You can and you will be exactly as successful as you ‘decide’ to be. But only if you decide to, if you don’t you will never be able to realise your full potential and take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.
- The Law of Understanding: If you want to influence someone, first understand and appreciate their world.
- The fundraiser who collects more stories, knows and practices telling those stories will find it easier to influence when in conversation with potential supporters.
3. Eat That Frog!: Get More of the Important Things Done, by Brian Tracy
This book is not about fundraising but it has helped me stay focused, avoid procrastinating and prioritise my daily tasks in order to get better results. As fundraisers, we always wish to do more and our ‘To Do’ list is always overwhelmed, but there is just not enough time for everything – and there never will be! This book will teach you that in order to become successful in whatever you choose in the life or in fundraising, you don’t have to do everything. All you need to learn is to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done. Brain Tracy teaches you techniques on how you can not only get more done faster but also get the right things done.