Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership

Renew your passion for your mission and organization and make a bigger difference in the world.

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Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership

Renew your passion for your mission and organization and make a bigger difference in the world.

Get Your FREE Bonuses

Nonprofit leadership is messy

Nonprofits leaders are optimistic by nature. They believe with time, energy, smarts, strategy and sheer will, they can change the world. But as staff or board leader, you know nonprofits present unique challenges. Too many cooks, not enough money, an abundance of passion. It’s enough to make you feel overwhelmed and alone. The people you help need you to be successful. But there are so many obstacles: a micromanaging board that doesn’t understand its true role; insufficient fundraising and donors who make unreasonable demands; unclear and inconsistent messaging and marketing; a leader who’s a star in her sector but a difficult boss…

And yet, many nonprofits do thrive. Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership will show you how to do just that. Funny, honest, intensely actionable, and based on her decades of experience, this is the book Joan Garry wishes she had when she led GLAAD out of a financial crisis in 1997. Joan will teach you how to:

  • Build a powerhouse board
  • Create an impressive and sustainable fundraising program
  • Become seen as a ‘workplace of choice’
  • Tell your stories in a way that inspires and invites people to participate
  • Be a compelling public face of your nonprofit

What They’re Saying…

“This book pulls no punches! It’s a tell-all expose of the 501c-3 underbelly, a guide from the inside for anyone involved, or thinking of becoming involved, with a non-profit organization.”

Alan Cumming

Actor and Philanthropist, Lots of Stuff

“You feel like you’re venting with a wise and caring friend at happy hour.”
Vu Le

Blogger, Nonprofits With Balls

“I giggled, I pondered, I smiled, I nodded! Awesome! I share Joan’s belief that non-profits can change the world and she has given us the book that will make that happen!”
Caryl Stern

President & CEO, US Fund for UNICEF

“Joan understands nonprofits the way a great mechanic understands cars, from years of getting her hands dirty under the hood.”
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

President, Union of Reform Judaism

“There is no voice in the world of philanthropy today, I would rather listen to than Joan.”
Jenna Bush Hager

Philanthropist and NBC News Correspondent, NBC

“Her insights on how to harness the passion of thousands of committed leaders, staff, volunteers, and board members should be required reading for anyone tasked with – or considering – a leadership role in a non-profit today.”
Jim Clark

President, Boys and Girls Club of America

“Joan Garry is the Dear Abby of the nonprofit sector, dispensing practical and brilliant advice to nonprofits with her trademark humor.”
Beth Kanter

Trainer and Author, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout

“While it may sound idiotic to think about curling up with a good book on management and leadership, that’s how great this book is.”
Kenneth Cloke

Author, Resolving Conflicts at Work and The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy

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Purchase the book from the bookseller of your choice:

Step 2

After you purchase your book, com back to this page and enter your details below to claim your FREE bonuses.

  • Downloadable Guide: “The 14 Attributes of a Thriving Nonprofit”
  • Mini-Course: How to Craft a Great Nonprofit Elevator Pitch
  • An Evening With Joan Garry (Virtual Live Q&A)


Access Bonuses Now >>

About the Author

When it comes to nonprofit leadership, Joan Garry has seen and done it all; Executive Director, board member, major donor, and volunteer.

In 1997, with no prior fundraising experience at all, Joan became the Executive Director of GLAAD, one of the largest gay rights organizations in the US. GLAAD was broke, without enough in the bank to even cover payroll. Leave it to a nonprofit board of directors to hire a new Executive Director for a failing organization who had no fundraising experience!

But when Joan left the organization about a decade later, GLAAD was thriving. Strong and diverse revenue. A significant cash reserve. The staff size had doubled. And most importantly, GLAAD had made a major impact in the fight for equality.

Since leaving GLAAD, Joan has made it her mission to help thousands of nonprofits thrive through her consulting practice, her popular blog and podcast, the Nonprofit Leadership Lab, and now her book, Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership.

In addition, Joan regularly appears on the first network television reality show about nonprofits — NBC’s “Give”, teaches nonprofit media strategy at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a keynote speaker at major nonprofit conferences.

Inside the Book

Introduction: Nonprofits Are Messy

What’s Different About Nonprofits

You’ve got a poorly paid and overworked group (your staff) who rely on the efforts of people who get paid nothing (volunteers) and are overseen by another group of volunteers who get paid nothing and who are supposed to give and get lots of money (board.) All of this in the service of something that every single one of them cares passionately about. MESSY!

  • How I nearly killed my development director
  • My own story as the Executive Director of GLAAD
  • The universal truths that lead to a thriving nonprofit
Attributes: The Superpowers of Nonprofit Leadership

What Makes a Leader Great?

Great nonprofit leaders have certain skills, work on honing core attributes and develop not only a real understanding of the nature of nonprofit power but an appreciation for it as well.

  • The 5 key attributes of great leaders in the nonprofit sector
  • Where the power really lies
  • How any good leader can shift his or her approach to become more effective
Effective Communications: You've Got to Get Me At Hello

How to Attract Great People to Your Mission

Some organizations are easier to explain to folks than others. An organization that helps clients directly would seem to be the easiest; advocacy and lobbying often feel more complex and abstract. Schools can struggle to identify messages that clearly differentiate them from other choices parents have for their kids. But get this: even the easy ones don’t always get it right.

  • How to communicate the value of your organization, even if it’s complicated
  • The importance of a great elevator pitch and mission statement
  • The 5 attributes of a story that sticks
Shared Leadership: Co-pilots In A Twin Engine Plane

When The Staff and Board Work Together

Sounds like a great model, doesn’t it? Board and staff working as thought partners who, together, drive the organization forward led by two individuals who understand their roles, each of whom are passionate about their jobs and determined to do right by the organization. This chapter shows you how to get there.

  • The single best sign of a healthy nonprofit
  • Recruiting your ideal board chair
  • How to build and nurture the board of your dreams
Strategic Planning: The Key Is Not In the Answers. It's In the Questions.

Building Successful Nonprofit Strategies

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are useless but planning is everything.” Maybe it’s time to throw the word “plan” overboard and begin to think about strategic planning differently. It’s time to stop engaging in processes that suck the life out of the people involved. Instead, let’s breathe life into the organization and its stakeholders.

  • The power of inquiry
  • Getting everyone – staff and board – on the strategic bus as partners
  • The 4 steps to a great nonprofit strategic plan (even with a small budget)
Fundraising: You Can Do This

Sustainable and Balanced Fundraising

Fundraising is about an invitation to join you in the remarkable work you do. It’s about building relationships that last. It’s also an art and a science, which means you will make mistakes, and a lot of people will say no. And that’s OK.

  • How to get your board to fundraise successfully
  • All the ways you’ll screw this up
  • Asking for the “right” kind of money
Managing People: The Paid and the Unpaid

I Came to Change the World, Not Conduct Evaluations

There are some big differences between managing in the corporate world versus at a nonprofit. Nonprofit folks usually aren’t in it for the money. Some of them are even volunteers and make nothing at all. In this chapter, we discuss the attributes and motivations of 5-star staff and how to manage them so they never want to leave.

  • How to build a real leadership team
  • What the best employees have in common
  • Ways to keep your superstars happy and motivated
Crisis Management: When It Hits the Fan

Crisis Management: Preparing For the Worst

Nonprofit leaders are by disposition an optimistic lot. They believe that with time, energy, smarts, strategy, and sheer will, they can improve society in ways large and small. So advocating that they take the time to think about the worst possible thing that could happen to their organization, sector, or to a client? Most don’t want to go there. But go there you must.

  • Why Texas A&M’s approach to crisis management was so much better than Penn State’s
  • How to build a crisis management plan
  • What crisis management should look like
Succession Planning: Hello, I Must Be Going

Navigating Leadership Transitions

The only constant in life is change. But leadership transitions are the most destabilizing forces in the life of a nonprofit. And when it’s a five-star leader who says goodbye, it can rock an organization to its core. This kind of transition transfers power to a board that may or may not be prepared or capable of handling it. And then what about board leaders?

  • The 3 kinds of board leaders
  • How to tell if you have made a big hiring mistake
  • What to do when a superstar calls it quits
  • Succession planning done right

Order The Book Now!

Step 1

Purchase your book from the bookseller of your choice:


Step 2

After you purchase your book, com back to this page and enter your details below to claim your FREE bonuses.

  • Downloadable Guide: “The 14 Attributes of a Thriving Nonprofit”
  • Mini-Course: How to Craft a Great Nonprofit Elevator Pitch
  • An Evening With Joan Garry (Virtual Live Q&A)


Access Bonuses Now >>