Don't Forget the Pizza and Other Rules for Managing a Nonprofit

Are you looking for ways to improve your nonprofit's effectiveness? Are you thinking about starting a nonprofit organization and looking for an honest assessment of what it takes to succeed? Then this collection of business concepts for nonprofit organizations may be the ticket.

Linda Zukowski, president of EarthWrites, a consulting firm specializing in fundraising, strategic planning, and program evaluation, has a diverse background in education, corporate management, and nonprofit fundraising and brings her mix of educational and business experience to solving problems in the nonprofit sector.

In Don't Forget the Pizza, Zukowski harnesses her experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors to provide ten basic rules for managing a nonprofit. She also addresses the idea of organizational effectiveness by describing some of the most common shortcomings she has observed in nonprofit agencies and provides simple techniques to address those shortcomings.

The book is divided into ten chapters — each one addressing a business concept or rule — covering a variety of topics, including "Don't forget the pizza," which focuses on the need to recognize and value volunteers; "Believe it when you read it," which stresses the importance of following foundation guidelines when submitting requests for funding; and "Build it and the funders will come — or not," which describes some of the pitfalls of starting a nonprofit organization.

Although the book is short enough to read in one sitting, the author suggests reading a chapter at a time and using the information in that chapter to facilitate discussion on a related particular topic or issue within the context of your organization. Each chapter is followed by a discussion guide that can be used to enliven these workplace discussions, and the book also includes positive outcomes that might result from the constructive application of each rule.

For the novice nonprofit manager, Zukowski's book offers provide practical advice on how to handle many of the common management issues faced by nonprofits, while for the more experienced nonprofit, the information, though basic, should prove helpful in handling specific issues or problems. While it may not be excerpted in the pages of the Harvard Business Review anytime soon, it's a good overview of the subject and worth the modest investment of time required to read it.