The Art of Relevance


The Art of Relevance

by Nina Simon

This book explains how museums and other nonprofit organizations can expand audiences and build stronger connections with targeted communities. The author is executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH).

“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work. I believe relevance is the key to a locked room where meaning lives… Behind the door is a room that holds something powerful—information, emotion, experience, value… Relevance is the key to that door.”

“Instead of talking about ‘traditional’ approaches and ‘new’ ones, I find it more productive to talk about insiders and outsiders…” Continue reading “The Art of Relevance”

Nonprofit Meetings, Minutes & Records


Nonprofit Meetings, Minutes & Records: How to Run Your Nonprofit Corporation So You Don’t Run Into Trouble, Second Edition

by Anthony Mancuso

This book offers some good insights for anyone who serves on the board of a nonprofit organization, especially the board secretary. If the board of directors ignores its bylaws and state nonprofit laws, the organization could lose its tax-exempt status. Director liability is another concern. Continue reading “Nonprofit Meetings, Minutes & Records”

The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization


The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization

by Peter Drucker et al

This book offers a strategic planning framework for nonprofit organizations. It can help board members set the direction by asking five questions.

What is our mission? The mission must reflect opportunities, competence, and commitment. Drucker cautions, “Never subordinate the mission in order to get money. If there are opportunities that threaten the integrity of the organization, you must say no.” Continue reading “The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization”

How to Write Knockout Proposals


How to Write Knockout Proposals: What you must know (and say) to win funding every time.

by Joseph Barbato

The theme of this book boils down to one line on page 117: “Make it as easy as possible for them to give you money.”

Barbato emphasizes the importance of clear writing and attention to detail. He suggests a less-is-more approach: “Instead of offering four prosaic examples of how your project matters, tell one powerful story that drives home the potential of your work.”  A template is included in chapter 24, guiding the reader on how to structure a grant proposal.

The book is concise and well organized in 53 two-page chapters. I like this format, but I think more could have been written about cover letters.

Barbato, Joseph. How to Write Knockout Proposals: What You Must Know (and Say) to Win Funding Every Time. Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2004. Buy from

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.