Book Review: Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership, 2nd Edition

In early 2017, I was the Communications Director at a small nonprofit whose mission included raising awareness about human trafficking and supporting survivors. I was stuck in a holding pattern due to the level of control the founder wielded over the board and her personal decision to keep the organization small. The struggle was real, and then the board chair introduced me to Joan Garry’s blog.

Photo of the cover of Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership featuring a color photo of Joan Garry, a white woman in a white top with a navy blue jacket. She has a beautiful smile.
Highly recommended

After reading that first blog post, I had to figure out who this woman was, because she perfectly understood the situation we were in and her advice was spot-on.

Poking around on her site, I basically devoured everything I could on board leadership and “founder’s syndrome.” I subscribed to the blog and started following her on all the socials. This was also around the time she was recruiting folks to review and promote her new book Joan Garry’s Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because Nonprofits Are Messy. Since I had a blog, and I’d been on other launch teams, I jumped at the opportunity.

Once it arrived, I devoured the book and wrote my review (here). At the time, I had no idea how participation in her book launch would change the trajectory of my life.

For the past four years (almost), I’ve had the joy of working side-by-side (remotely) with Joan Garry, and when she decided to revise/edit/update her book, I HAD to be on the book launch team again. I kinda begged. Why? I’ve witnessed the results first-hand, and I know what she teaches works.

Every day one of the members of the Nonprofit Leadership Lab sends us an email or creates a post in our online community for the sole purpose of letting us know how Joan’s perspective and guidance helped them untangle a gnarly knot, raise more money, and/or build a better relationship with their board chair or navigate a crisis. Every. Day.

A quick word from Joan Garry about her new book

Newly Revised Manual for Nonprofit Leaders

In this second edition of her best-selling book, Joan steps out of the spotlight and showcases the experiences of a few executive coaching clients as well as executive directors, board chairs, and other senior leaders she’s gotten to know through her online training platform, The Nonprofit Leadership Lab, including:

With missions spanning the sector and budgets ranging from thousands to millions of dollars, these diverse leaders share their stories—stories which are both eye-opening and inspirational. But more than that, they underscore Joan’s observations and demonstrate what happens when people the specific actions she recommends in her book.

The second edition feels like a completely new book. It’s more objective and authoritative because it’s based on daily work with hundreds of leaders who are taking what she teaches, applying it, and seeing dramatic results.

I can personally testify Joan Garry’s refreshingly practical approach to fostering authentic leadership in the nonprofit sector has helped thousands of staff and board members move their organizations from “messy” to thriving.

Joan Garry's refreshingly practical approach to fostering authentic leadership in the nonprofit sector has helped thousands of staff and board members move their organizations from "messy" to thriving. Read more… #newbookalert… Share on X

Based on what she’s observed in the Nonprofit Leadership Lab and her experience coaching executives from multi-million dollar organizations, Joan has not only revised and updated her book, she’s also added two brand new chapters she felt were “missing” from the first edition. One chapter underscores the critical role of a nonprofit’s board of directors, and one highlights the significant impact of small and mighty nonprofits.

After I read the chapter on boards, I concluded that anyone who is serving on a board, thinking about serving on a board, or works with boards should read this book.

The struggle is real. Nonprofits are MESSY. But with this book as your guide, not only will you avoid most messes, you’ll be able to navigate the unavoidable ones with grace and grit.

I really liked the first edition. I love the second edition!

If you are interested in purchasing this book, here is the Amazon link:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a pre-released digital galley of the book mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” I am an Amazon Affiliate.