Book Review: “More Than Just Money: Practical and Provocative Steps to Nonprofit Success”

By: Sheela Nimishakavi, MA, MPH

Allen J. Proctor’s book More Than Just Money provides an excellent review of all administrative aspects of running a nonprofit organization, from managing the board of directors to legal issues and crises. A common theme throughout the book appears to be re-evaluation of the nonprofit. Proctor encourages organizations to be more proactive in responding to environmental and economic changes by evaluating the nonprofit’s role in the community. He suggests that stagnant or decreasing funding may indicate a shift in the community’s need for the services provided by the nonprofit.

This idea of evaluation and taking an honest look at the activities of a nonprofit is often overlooked in the field. Trying to keep up with day to day operations tends to prohibit this type of reflection. More Than Just Money provides a great framework and guidance for this type of thinking.

Takeaways:
 “Determine how sensitive your nonprofit is to the health of the economy and make sure that you have at least one goal or objective each year that enhances the future sustainability of your services.”

“Community need is constantly changing and the successful nonprofit will be continually adapting its mission and strategy to those changes.”

In discussing Jim Collins book Good to Great and the Social Sectors, he says, “In the business sector, he sees that ‘the profit mechanism makes it easier to say ‘no’ or to stop doing (something that doesn’t) fit…’ In contrast, in the nonprofit sector, he sees instead that a ‘desire to do good’ and the personal desires of donors and funders can (cause undisciplined decision-making).”

Who Should Read This Book?
Nonprofit staff who are new to senior management positions would benefit greatly from this book. As no groundbreaking ideas are introduced, experienced leaders would likely not gain much; however, it is a good reference book when developing policies and procedures or implementing change. Overall, More Than Just Money is absolutely “practical” but not “provocative.”

Have you read More Than Just Money: Practical and Provocative Steps to Nonprofit Success? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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