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Dec 10, 2010

“New Book Helps Nonprofits Compete and Thrive”

More Than Just Money: Practical and Provocative Steps to Nonprofit Success was recently reviewed by Andrew Clancy, Senior Editor at Soundview Executive Book Summaries. The review was published in the Executive Book Alert E-newsletter on December 3, 2010:

“In the spectrum of business book topics, the nonprofit world receives a fraction of the attention garnered by for-profit corporations. This could be considered an oversight when one looks at the demographics. As author Allen J. Proctor notes in his new book More Than Just Money: Practical and Provocative Steps to Nonprofit Success, Internal Revenue Service statistics indicate that more than 275,000 nonprofits reported in a single year. These companies have more than $1 trillion in revenues and hold assets of $2 trillion. Proctor argues that despite the ability to bring in dollars, nonprofits operate in a state of what he terms “perpetual stress.” His book provides fresh perspective on a needed shift in the management and operation of nonprofits.

More Than Just Money is Proctor’s second book on the nonprofit sector. His first book, Linking Mission to Money, explored the way in which volunteer board members can propel the cause for which a nonprofit operates by first helping the nonprofit secure its finances. More Than Just Money extends its focus beyond individual leaders and examines the management of the entire organization. The broad-base approach elevates the book’s profile and makes it more relevant to nonprofit workers at all levels of the organization. However, it’s worth noting that corporate executives whose only connection to the nonprofit world is writing a large check once a year could also benefit from reading Proctor’s work.

The mutually beneficial upside is typified by a chapter in More Than Just Money devoted to galas. According to Proctor, a gala is the nonprofit fundraising method with the highest public profile. In the course of a single chapter, Proctor offers a great strategy for demonstrating transparency. He also outlines the expectations of major donors and, in a nod to the subtitle’s “provocative steps,” makes a suggestion for an alternative to galas that could prove more pleasing to both nonprofit and donor alike. With more for-profit organizations increasing their commitment to social responsibility, Proctor’s advice on transparency alone demonstrates the book’s ability to bridge the divide between executives at nonprofits and for-profit companies.

Proctor’s discussion of the changing relationship between donors and non-profits provides additional fodder for discussion among readers of all stripes. He considers this shift serious enough for it to rank as one of his five factors that create the abundance of stress in the nonprofit sector. The current climate is one in which the donor is viewed as a client and the nonprofit is relegated to a vendor’s status. CEOs of consumer goods companies should feel a tingle of familiarity with this concept as their ultra-competitive marketplace creates a world in which the informed customer occupies a new position, one of self-perceived entitlement.

More Than Just Money shares head space with Turnaround Leadership by author Shaun O’Callaghan, a title recently summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries. Both books deal with businesses that walk a fine line between success and collapse, although for Proctor’s nonprofits this danger is implied rather than overt. In fact, Proctor devotes an entire section to crisis management. He touches on several of the concepts central to the work of O’Callaghan, a global expert in the field of corporate restructuring. Both authors believe that underestimating the importance of operating cash can lead to critical missteps in the attempt to pilot a company from stability to profitability.

While crisis management is one of seven sections that comprise More Than Just Money, its inclusion demonstrates the comprehensive nature of Proctor’s book. Yet as a writer, Proctor is pragmatic. Readers will be pleased with the book’s ability to address the major issues faced by nonprofits in less than 250 pages. The book is well suited to its intended audience. As Proctor notes, “Nonprofits fulfill important needs of the community that no one else is willing or able to do.” He goes on to state that the work done by these organizations is difficult, yet vital. His book should be a key factor in making the operation of a nonprofit more smooth without causing the organization to waste time or resources.”

Soundview Executive Book Summaries©

Interested in reading Allen Proctor’s book, More Than Just Money?—purchase your copy here or place a bulk order (perfect for your board members!) and get 15% off the list price.

To read Allen’s review in the Soundview Executive Book Summary E-Newsletter, please visit Summary.com.