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Seven books to read to become a better fundraiser

Group of Candid staff and partners walking around inside a library

Rallying donations for a cause close to your heart can be a noble and enriching experience, but that doesn’t make it easy. From gaining the attention of new individual donors to encouraging supporters to engage in your campaigns, there are plenty of components of fundraising that can leave nonprofit development staff feeling overwhelmed or inadequate. If this sounds like you or your team, then there’s hope, for there’s plenty of books on the market aimed at improving your skills and helping you increase engagement and raise awareness for your cause. Read on for seven books to read to become a better fundraiser.

1. The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications by Jeff Brooks

There’s a fine balance to hit between showing enthusiasm and sharing information that can be difficult to hit in campaign texts or flyers. The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications makes this balance clear and concise, coaches you in writing compelling fundraising messages that don’t add unnecessary flair using strategies tested on real people. It’s the perfect starter’s guide for fundraisers.

2. It’s Not Just About The Money: How To Build Authentic Major Donor Relationships by Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels

Donor retention is a huge part of fundraising, for major donors contribute funds you can rely on in harder times to continue your work. It’s Not Just About The Money: How To Build Authentic Major Donor Relationships explores nurturing relationships with compassionate individuals who are able to donate often, so your efforts don’t all go up in smoke after a slim month on the grind.

“Donors are not ATM machines; thank them for their generosity by getting to know them as people,” says Jaqualine Blott, a writer for Australian Reviewer and Studydemic.

3. Capital Campaigns: Strategies That Work by Andrea Kihlstedt

A successful fundraiser needs to have a solid framework behind their efforts. You should know how money is spent, if former expenditures were effective, and how to plan for future campaigns before those in progress end. Capital Campaigns: Strategies That Work focuses on the importance of knowing everything about your nonprofit and how best to use your resources for success.

4. Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing by Michael J. Rosen

The easiest way to get donations is to make giving easy. Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing focuses on the world of regular donations, expanding ways in which donors can give and most of all, keeping it accessible. With advice on how to make givingfast, diverse, and easy-to-navigate, this book will help you boost your nonprofit’s planned giving revenue.

5. Asking Styles: Revolutionize Your Fundraising by Brian Saber

No two people are the same, and neither are two nonprofits. Asking Styles looks at the effects of an individual’s personality on fundraising and divides them into four subsets. With each of these provided with personalized and effective strategies for engagement, you can play to personal strengths to garner more donations, make connections, and drive your nonprofit’s work forward.

6. Mobile For Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide For Nonprofits by Heather Mansfield

Traditional marketing, such as print newsletters, is effective but can be expensive, wasting resources that may be more effective spent elsewhere. Embrace the future with Mobile For Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide For Nonprofits, a guide to expertly deploying fundraising strategies on mobile devices to engage more diverse audiences without the cost or waste of paper leaflets. You can check out this title for free by visiting Candid’s OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks collection.

“Take your campaign to the digital age and engage thousands with ease, before electronics leave your nonprofit behind,” says Neil Jacobs, a writer for Assignment Help and Academized.

7. The Essential Fundraising Handbook For Small Nonprofits by Kirsten Bullock, Betsy Baker, Gayle L. Gifford, Pamela Grow, Lori L. Jacobwith, Marc A. Pitman, Sherry Truhlar, and Sandy Rees

If you’ve never worked in fundraising or oversaw a nonprofit organization before, The Essential Fundraising Handbook For Small Nonprofit is a must-read. It covers everything you could need to succeed, from nonprofit planning and execution to asking for donations. It even covers donor retention. This book is a good place to start for nonprofit newbies and will serve as a go-to fundraising resource.


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  • Febe Voth says:

    February 23, 2023 2:18 pm

    Lauren, I love your list of 'seven books to read to become a better fundraiser.' May I suggest you make that eight books to read and that you add 'the case for your cause' to your list? The case for your cause has just become available on Amazon. It is endorsed by the board chair for CFRE International (the body that oversees the professional designation of fundraisers). I'd love for you to review the book. You can learn more about it at