The Nonprofit MarCommunity blog is a forum that brings together diverse experiences, expertise, and insights. I suspected that when I turned to our community for book recommendations, I would get a mix of suggestions that would shake up my reading list. I was right.

If you’d like to pick up (or download) a new book for quiet moments during your holidays – a book that will inspire, inform or support you in your work as a nonprofit communicator – there is surely something on this list for you.

Here are 6 books recommended by (and for) nonprofit communicators

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“My pick for 2016 is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Communicators are often thought of as extroverts—people who get their energy from other people. But many of us are actually introverts—doing our most creative work alone. I used to fill my days with meetings, calls and emails, feeling guilty about blocking off time to recharge alone. Reading Quiet made me realize I’m actually providing a better product because of it.”

Sarah Gilman, MPH
Director, National Resource Center for Lupus, Lupus Foundation of America


The Little Book of Likes

“When I was just getting my chops wet in the nonprofit marketing field, I picked up The Little Book of Likes by Erik Hanberg. It’s a delightful read with a fun storyline that follows a woman named Linda step-by-step through her process of building a social media following. It helped when brainstorming my own social media strategy and gave great instructions for starting a blog, Facebook page and Twitter page. I look it over now and again for some inspiration.”

Ainsley Kendrick
Marketing and Communications Manager, Volunteer Toronto


When Breath Becomes Air

“Dr. Paul Kalanithi, a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis, beautifully and exquisitely reflects and attempts to answer ‘What makes a life worth living?’ Working in the nonprofit sector, this is likely a question that has crossed your mind and perhaps inspired the work you’ve chosen to pursue. Work that is sometimes thankless, tireless, and tough.

While this isn’t a book that’s going to tell you directly how you can be a better nonprofit communicator, his moving memoir will inspire you to forge ahead with the challenging work you are tackling and his beautiful writing will challenge you to be a better storyteller.”

Jennie Tao
Communications and Marketing Specialist, Tides Canada


Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths

“The best book I read in 2016 was Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths written by Rupert Ross. Drawing on a range of Indigenous voices, perspectives and experiences, the book explores the strength of Indigenous world views and the value of these ideas in helping to understand the inter-generational impacts of colonization and residential schools.

I enjoyed Ross’s humble, open and honest exploration of traditional teachings, and would recommend this book to anyone looking to challenge their definition of health, healing and wellness. In reading this book, I think nonprofit communicators will come away with a better understanding of the complex relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, as well as a new vocabulary to take part in conversations connected to Indigenous communities and Reconciliation.”

David Venn
Director of Communications, Community Foundations of Canada


Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean

“One of the best books on writing that came across my desk in 2016 was Josh Bernoff’s Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean (WWB). I first heard about it in this excellent review by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business (for anyone interested in the best new business books, I would highly recommend his regular column).

In WWB, Josh provides us with an interesting look at how the process of writing works – from coming up with and organizing your ideas, setting up a strong editing practice, to choosing the right words (and tools). Most importantly, Josh continuously reminds us of what he calls his ‘iron imperative’: ‘Treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own.’ WWB is an easy and fun read – and one you will get back to again and again for its to-the-point suggestions and many interesting review tables.”

Markus Stadelmann-Elder
Director of Communications, Maytree


Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships

“This year I was lucky enough to be in a book group that read Melanie Billings-Yun’s Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships. This book has changed the way I view negotiations, communications, and relationships; negotiating is something we do every day, as humans in personal relationships and as communicators.

Reading Beyond Dealmaking at the same time as we were developing a strategy for end-of-year fundraising gave me permission to step back from the question of how to achieve our fundraising goal and instead to explore the question of how to achieve mutual benefit with our supporters.”

Steph Routh
Communications & Marketing Manager at Community Cycling Center


Anything to add to this list?

What book would you recommend to your fellow nonprofit communicators? Earlier this year, I reviewed Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t by Steven Pressfield which still stands out as my top recommendation for the year. And like many of his books on writing and creativity, it’s a very easy, enjoyable read; perfect for my style of holiday reading.

Please share your recommendation in the comments below!

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Copywriter and communications consultant at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is a copywriter and communications consultant at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity. Marlene specializes in working with nonprofit clients and has worked in the sector since 1999. Marlene’s approach is to work with clients and community members, tapping into the knowledge and wisdom they already possess, to help the communications ‘flow’.
Marlene Oliveira
Marlene Oliveira