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Get expert tips to manage your charity effectively

Originally published: January 2018

Managing a charity can be a demanding job: at any one time you could be thinking about the organization’s strategy and whether you’re meeting your long-term goals, how to raise sustainable funds, recruiting an effective trustee board and staff development. If you’re new to the game there’s a lot to get your head around. But even as an experienced CEO or executive director you might want a fresh perspective on a problem you’re facing.

Browse our reading list for expertise and tips on managing your organization:

21st Century Skills for Non-Profit Managers: A Practical Guide on Leadership and Management (2017)

Leading a nonprofit can be both rewarding and challenging. This good practice guide — written by former nonprofit manager turned consultant Don MacDonald — is essential reading for those who are new to management or the charity sector. It covers all the topics you need to know to effectively manage your charity, from staffing and communications to charity governance and writing successful fundraising applications.

The Pleasure and the Pain (2007)

Challenging colleagues and bosses can cause real tension in the workplace. Debra Allcock Tyler — chief executive of the UK's Directory of Social Change and founding chair of the UK-membership organisation Small Charities Coalition — advises charity leaders on how to promote positive teamwork. Selected by Guardian Voluntary readers as one of their five must reads for charity workers, this book will help you to understand what makes people tick and how to bring out their strengths to get work done.

The 7 habits of highly effective people (2004)

While not aimed at charity leaders specifically, Stephen Covey's 7 habits is hugely relevant to the charity sector. To be effective Covey says you need to 1) be proactive, 2) begin each day, task or project with a clear vision of your desired outcome, 3) be able to say no and focus on your biggest priorities, 4) approach each day with a win-win attitude, 5) have good listening skills, 6) work as a team to find solutions to problems and 7) look after your own wellbeing.

Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results (2012)

Joint authors Jerry Hauser (co-founder and CEO of nonprofit consulting firm The Management Center in Washington, D.C.) and Alison Green (a journalist and former communications director) aim to teach new and experienced leaders effective management skills. The book looks at overseeing specific tasks and broader responsibilities, setting clear goals and holding people accountable to them, creating a results-oriented culture, and recruiting and developing staff.

Leap of reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity (2011)

In a series of essays, philanthropist Mario Morino, global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company and a range of experts and practitioners provide practical, candid advice to help leaders focus on their core mission. During a time of austerity, the authors make the case for the nonprofit sector to be clear about their aspirations, approaches and how they measure progress.

It’s Tough At the Top: The No-Fibbing Guide to Leadership (2017)

Another read from Debra Allcock Tyler, this book guides you through the dos and don’ts of heading up a charity. Ideal for new CEOs and nonprofit leaders, it covers answers to questions you might be too embarrassed to ask and includes tips from those in the know, as well as offering advice on working with trustees.

Managing Without Profit (2017)

Get a practical overview of how to lead, manage and govern a charity from experienced management consultant Mike Hudson, who has been working with chairs, chief executives and leadership teams of nonprofits and their funders for over 30 years. Topics include providing strong leadership, making an impact, creating high performing teams, developing strategic partnerships and managing risk.

What books have you found helpful? Send your suggestions to editorial@missionbox.com.

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MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.

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