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Another book that every non-profit professional should own


For those of you who are keeping score, it has been three straight days of posts. And the entire week has been “all Mazarine … all of the time!” I think it should be fairly obvious at this point that I’ve become a big fan and I think you should be, too.

Let’s take a moment to recap where we’ve been and where we’re going:

  • Two days ago, I reviewed one of Mazarine’s books in a post titled “One book that every non-profit professional should own
  • Yesterday, I shared with you a virtual interview with Mazarine. In that post, she talked about her upcoming Fundraising Career Conference, which does not require any travel or lodging expenses because it is an online virtual conference
  • Today, if you keep scrolling down, I will talk briefly about another one of Mazarine’s books that I absolutely loved
  • In a few months (sometime this summer), there will be a fourth and final blog. I will share with you another virtual interview with Mazarine. We will talk all about her other online virtual conference in September — Nonprofit Leadership Summit

Are you new to the fundraising field? Do you fundraise for a small to mid-sized organization? Are you expected to know a little bit about a lot of fundraising things? Is your resource development plan full of diverse revenue strategies? Then I think I’ve found a great book for you — The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising.

In fact, if you are an experienced fundraising professional, who has already raised millions of dollars throughout your career, then I suspect you, too, might really appreciate this book. (Teaser . . . I’ll explain this a little more later in the post)

From the very beginning in the foreword section of the book, Mazarine captured my sense of curiosity when she wrote:

“Why I wrote the Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising?

  • The world needs more realistic optimists
  • There are so many good causes, and so few fundraisers
  • You can change the world with these tools, and the world needs some big changers right now

I wrote this book to be a fun primer to fundraising I never had.”

Seriously? How could I not keep reading?

  • I wanted to know more about what she meant by “realistic optimists” as it pertains to the fundraising field.
  • I completely agree with her about too few fundraising professionals and the power to change the world using a philanthropy paradigm.
  • But most of all, I was super curious about how she intended to transform a book about fundraising into a “fun primer.

Most of the fundraising books I’ve read throughout the years, immediately start off in chapter one with technical, wonky resource development concepts. With all due respect to those authors (and I really love those books, too), it can sometimes sound like Ben Stein’s teacher character in the 1986 movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

But Mazarine started off completely different.

  • Chapter 0 (not a typo … indeed she has a chapter zero) is titled “All About YOU! Your Family Background
  • Chapter 1 immediately tackles the myth that fundraising is about money. She titled this chapter “Development is about communication
  • Chapter 2 is about finding a fundraising job that it a right fit for you. And even if you already have a great job, I think you might find some of the resources in this chapter really fun and helpful (e.g. link to her presentation on ‘your fundraising personality,’ instructions on how to write stories using a ‘What-How-Wow structure,’ etc)

I expected the first three chapters to be about special events, grant writing and annual campaigns and trudging onward into major gifts, capital campaigns and planned giving. This formula is fairly typical for most entry level fundraising books. But Mazarine is far from typical. She threw me a curveball, and the first three chapters were all about ME. Needless to say, I was hooked. Go figure. LOL

It is worth noting that Mazarine tips her hand by starting her book in this way. The fact that the first three chapters are all about ME and not about her (or about fundraising strategy) sends a clear signal that her teachable point of view on resource development aligns with Penelope Burk’s Donor-Centered Fundraising books and school of thought.

Before I give you the wrong impression about this book, there is lots of material written on traditional fundraising topics. Here is a list of just a few chapters (and yes, these are her actual chapter titles):

  • Building Relationships: How to find & cultivate donors
  • Events (AKA Kicking Ass and Throwing Parties!)
  • Appealing (Ever want to write beautiful letters for a living?)
  • Phone-a-thons (Yo, what’s your ring-tone?)
  • Putting it all together: Your Wild Development Plan!

There are 17 chapters in all. None of the chapters are very long. Every chapter is packed full of suggestions and resources. Most importantly, nothing reads like an Econ 101 textbook (not that there is anything wrong with that).

There is a lot about this book that I like, but the one thing that I LOVE is how she distills big ideas down into simple nuggets and surrounds them with easy to implement suggestions. It is what makes this book so AWESOME for new fundraising professionals.

As I teased earlier at the start of this blog post, I think this book is a treasure for experienced fundraising professionals in the following ways:

  • It is a fun way to “refresh” your point of view on many fundraising ideas (and there are links to resources in this book that I appreciated as a long-time fundraising professional)
  • It is a great resource to use during a new employee orientation, especially if the newbie to your development department is kinda new to the profession or nonprofit sector
  • It is a great resource to give to the volunteers serving on your organization’s resource development committee

Learn more about Mazarine Treyz

If you can’t tell, I’ve quickly become a fan of Mazarine Treyz. She is one of the more genuine people who I’ve met in my travels, and I’ve quickly become a fan. Like me, Mazarine is a blogger and you can learn a lot about her by visiting her blog and sifting through her posts. You can find her at Wild Woman Fundraising. But if you do nothing else, you should go buy a copy of this book. I promise that you won’t regret it!

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