Summer Reading List


It’s the season for vacations. Is yours scheduled? I hope so. Getting away from your work sara_leonard_webfriendly-5is important.

So with vacation on my mind, I thought I’d suggest a few fundraising – or fundraising-adjacent – books for your summer reading list.

The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
This book was recommended by Karen Osborne at our AFP Suncoast Chapter educational program in January. If Karen recommends it, it must be good. It’s not written specifically for fundraising but it is filled with applicable lessons. The subtitle, “Why certain experiences have extraordinary impact” should be the theme of every stewardship effort you undertake.

The Fundraiser’s Measuring Stick by Jerold Panas
My list really should say “any book by Jerold Panas” because I’ve loved everything he’s written. Here he shares the attributes, talents and skills he has observed in great fundraisers. He reminds me that our work is meaningful and fun.

Engaging Your Board in Fundraising: A Staff’s Guide by Kathy Hedge
This one is more “how to” than the previous two on my list. If you work directly with your board this is a must. If you don’t, you should read it anyway because you will someday. It’s published by BoardSource who sets the gold standard for board governance. This probably isn’t a beach read because you don’t want to get sand in your highlighter (and you’ll definitely want to keep your highlighter handy).

Jumping the Queue, Achieving Great Things Before You’re Ready by Michelle Turman
Full disclosure: Michelle serves on our AFP Suncoast Board and has been my colleague for many years. In this book, Michelle shares her experiences with vulnerable honesty. In addition to her own real world examples, she provides simple (but powerful) exercises for the reader to undertake.  I think my favorite line is in the introduction: “But I say being ‘ready’ is overrated.” I agree!

Getting It Right, a novel by Karen Osborne
Be warned: this one has nothing to do with fundraising – I think that’s important for you to refresh your mind. Although it’s written by highly respected fundraising speaker Karen Osborne (she recommended “The Power of Moments” as noted above), it has nothing to do with our profession. It’s a touching family drama. This one is a good beach read, no highlighter needed.

In case you were going to ask, no, I won’t loan you my copy of any of these books. I love them too much to let them go. And in some cases, I use them almost daily in my consulting work. Treat yourself to you own copy.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE
2017/2018 President – AFP Suncoast Chapter
Sara Leonard Group
(813) 310-2364

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