Book Review

A Review by James V Toscano 

Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE, is well-known to us all. One of the few development professionals to have the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive distinction, she is prolific in her writing, distinguished in her consulting and highly esteemed in her teaching. 

In Fundraising for the Genius (and here it’s for the genius in us all), Lysakowski has truly given us a gift, a tour de force, a comprehensive, knowledgeable, wise and practical overview of the elements of resource development. A definitive look at what we do!

In twenty-nine chapters and in thirty-one very useful appendixes, Lysakowski covers all of the specific elements of development and the tools and templates needed to do our work effectively in an understandable way. I know I will adopt it for my graduate school class in development and recommend it to friends and to those seeking to know about careers in fundraising.

Starting with clarifying terminology, Lysakowski delves into the role of development in the nonprofit and its often-misunderstood importance.

She emphasizes that development is everyone’s job, its competitive nature in an overcrowded field and the absolute necessity for ethical behavior in the profession.

Expanding her ideas on development roles, she sets out the responsibilities of Board, volunteers and staff. She then examines the sources of needed resources for revenue, volunteers, in-kind: individuals, foundations, businesses and voluntary organizations.

The necessary conditions for effective fundraising are reviewed in rich depth: strategic planning, a development plan, understanding of motives for charitable giving, the dynamics of the process, infrastructure of the development office, marketing and communication and making a strong case.

The methodologies of effective fundraising are then explored in separate chapters: direct mail, telephone solicitation, internet and social media, special events, grant-writing, personal solicitation, capital campaigns and planned giving, resulting in a rich bouquet of options.

Finally, evaluation of development efforts, essential to effective and growth, continuous improvement for better results and establishment of visionary goals for the future are all described by the consummate professional.

The Appendices add a wonderful and useful bonus: samples, templates, charts, job descriptions, worksheets, formats, plans, evaluations, guides, and assessments that move the conceptual into the practical hands-on tools ready for our use in the office tomorrow. Few such volumes do this and rarely on such a large and comprehensive scale.

Overall, this book covers all of the essentials and does it through the eyes and experience of one of the top professionals in the nation. The insights and depth of knowledge exhibited here are profound and will enlarge the understanding of both the newcomer and the seasoned executive. This is one of those books that is opened often by those of us looking for inspiration as well as knowledge of specific elements of the profession. Thank you, Linda.

Where to order this book online:

Print version:

Reposted with permission from Charity Channel

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