It’s July 2. Thousands of you are trying to pick up the pieces from the end of your fiscal year. It’s time to let your hair down and enjoy a little rest. (Yes, I know that however well you did last year, on July 1, your goal was raised. You still need a break!)

5 Top Summer Reading Books for Nonprofit Fundraising(Was June the end of your fiscal year? Let me know when yours ends by taking the 1-question survey at:

Take time to feed your mind

When I wrote the first draft of my personal mission statement 20 years ago, I included a line: I feed my mind at least as much as I feed my stomach.

One of the best ways I’ve found to doing that is reading good books.

Here are five fundraising “must-have” books that you should consider reading this summer.

5 Book Reading List for Nonprofit Fundraising

Here are the first five books I recommend you read this summer. (These are so good that where I can, I have used Amazon or other affiliate links.)

  1. Asking Styles

    5 Top Fundraising Books Summer Reading List - Asking StylesIn my own book Ask Without Fear! I included a chapter on how personality differences can influence your fundraising. Little did I know that Andrea Kihlstedt had practically made a science of personal styles and fundraising. Fortunately, she’s distilled it all into a book complete with recipe-like to do lists guiding each type through setting up the ask and conducting themselves during the ask. This book is amazing. It’s so good, I’ve started using it with all my coaching clients.

    You can get Asking Styles from their site at (You can take a free Asking Style assessment at

  2. Go for No!

    5 Surprising Fundraising Books for Summer Reading - Go For NoI love this book! Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz have put together a quick read that has lasting (good) implications. Reading this book will help you actually look forward to getting a “no” from a prospect! Sounds crazy, but it is true.

    You can get Go for No! on

  3. The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation

    5 Top Fundraising Books Summer Reading List - Art of PersuasionBob Burg is a master communicator. I read the version of this that came out in 1998 and still refer to it to this day. I love his ability to help you think in terms of what others want to get what you’d like. Sounds like working with donors, right? This book will help you professionally but will also positively impact all areas of your life.

    You can get The Art of Persuasion at

  4. First Things First

    5 Top Fundraising Books Summer Reading List - First Things FirstRoger & Rebecca Merrill and Steven Covey wrote an amazing book on time management and personal leadership. This is the biggest book of the list but it could totally transform your approach to time and life. If you’re tired of feeling scattered and consumed with putting out fires, this could be the best book for you in the coming year.

    You can get First Things First at

  5. Ask Without Fear!

    5 Surprising Summer Reading Book List for Fundraisers - Ask Without FearYep, I’m recommending my own book. I hesitated to do this but I just got another email saying, “I love this book!” so I’m including it here. Ask Without Fear! walks you through each step of fundraising, shows you the most common mistakes people make, and gives you tips on working with people different from you. Written to help board members get equipped and excited to ask for money, this is a slim volume that nonprofit folks love too!

    You can get Ask Without Fear! on Amazon or on my site: (You can even get a discount by purchasing enough for your board.)

I know, it’s a bit surprising to have only two fundraising books on a list of five. But fundraisers are better if they’re well read. Reading books outside of fundraising helps. If you read books on sales, like Go For No! or The Art of Persuasion, or personal leadership books like First Things First, you’ll be reading some of the same things as your top major gift prospects. When you don’t know what to say to a donor, topics in these books can be wonderful conversation starters!

What did I miss?

These are the top books I find myself referring to my coaching clients. I know there are so many other authors that could be on this list, authors like Tom Ahern, Simone Joyaux, Jerry Panas, Jeff Brooks, and Dan Partnoy.

Tell us in the comments below!

Remember to let us know if June was the end of your fiscal year! The 1-question survey is at:

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