Simone Joyaux

Don’t just read fundraising books and books about the nonprofit sector. Go beyond.

Here are two more great books, both based on research.

Read The Art of Choosing, by Sheena Iyengar.

As Ms. Iyengar explains in her prologue, the book examines choice from different vantage points and “tackles various questions about the way choice affects our lives.” She asks, “Why is choice powerful, and where does its power come from? Do we all choose in the same way? What is the relationship between how we choose and who we are? Why are we so often disappointed in our choices, and how do we make the most effective use of the tool of choice? How much control do we really have over our everyday choices? How do we choose when our options are practically unlimited? Should we ever let others choose for us, and if yes, who and why?”

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Honestly—why wouldn’t you want to read a book with all this in it? Examine your own life. Make different or better choices – or at least know why you’re choosing whatever!

Figure out how your donors and your board members and your staff choose. What are the implications for your fundraising program? What are the implications for recruiting volunteers?

I’m still wrestling with what it all means and why it all matters. And the wrestling is good.

Read The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, by Shankar Vedantam.

Remember, all human decisions are triggered by emotions. That’s not opinion or speculation; that’s research. Check out Drs. Bechara and Damasio. Tom Ahern, donor communications expert, writes about emotions as decision makers in his various books. See also, Chapter 9 of Keep Your Donors: The Guide to Better Communications and Stronger Relationships. And, read all about this in my July 28, 2009 web column here at NPQ.

So why wouldn’t you want to read this book about the hidden brain? That would be your hidden brain and my hidden brain and the hidden brains of our donors and prospects and . . .

Read books by Seth Godin, marketing guru.

I read all Seth’s books. Books like The Big Moo, Permission Marketing, Tribes. I’ve got Linchpin on my shelf for reading as soon as possible.

Subscribe to Seth’s daily blog—for free, of course. Read his previous ones. He blogs about marketing, communications, process, social networking, whatever inspires him at the moment. And he is inspiring and informative and makes you think!

Speaking of blogs . . . which ones do you read regularly?

Here are the blogs I read regularly:

Seth Godin’s (See my comments above.)

Future Fundraising Now (Jeff Brooks is a relationship-building expert and copywriter. Make sure you read his past blogs. Check out his blogs about stupid nonprofit ads.)

The Agitator (Our colleagues at Craver Smith Matthews report on research, offer insights, give good advice.)

And how about e-news letters? Check out Ruth McCambridge’s at NPQ and Lisa Sargent’s donor loyalty newsletter. Subscribe to Tom Ahern’s donor communications newsletter. Subscribe to my free e-news.

Post your suggestions in a comment to this column. Please do!

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