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The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business Paperback – January 20, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Business Solutions Press (January 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984027300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984027309
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The bad news for Deirdre Maloney is that she made a lot of mistakes. The good news is she worked really hard to make each one only once. With each error she figured out what went wrong, the part she played, and how to avoid it again.

This exact process is how Deirdre has become a nationally recognized speaker and author known for her personal brand of "mild audacity". She wrote her first book, "The Mission Myth," after running a multi-million dollar nonprofit for nearly a decade and learning painful lessons along the way. The book explores her journey and uses validation, humor and concrete tips to help others avoid some of the same pain.

Deirdre figured out the "Tough Truths," the topic of her second book, using the same non-scientific technique. In this case, however, things were a bit different. Even though she's figured out how the tough truths create great leaders, she finds she still needs to practice them daily. And sometimes she'll still mess them up. Because, in the end, that's part of the chess game called life.

When Deirdre's not writing or speaking she proudly runs Momentum LLC, which helps organizations exceed their goals and helps their leaders sleep better at night. She also teaches marketing for the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Education Sciences and is known for her popular blog on all things leadership.

In her spare time Deirdre is a body-builder. She rises at 4:30 each morning to focus her energy on lifting weights, creating not just new levels of physical and mental strength, but also continued peace of mind.

Deirdre currently lives in San Diego with Jason, her beloved husband, travel buddy, IT guy, web designer, sushi-roll-splitter and high-shelf-reacher.

For more information on Deirdre, visit:

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
Deirdre Maloney's book, the Mission Myth is MUST read for all non-profit execs.
I learned the best people to work in nonprofits are individuals who can establish clearly defined goals for their clients.
Robert G Yokoyama
I believe anyone in a management position with a non-profit will benefit greatly from reading this book.
John Chancellor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ali Julia #1 REVIEWER#1 HALL OF FAME on April 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
To do any job well it helps to learn from success and failures of people who came before you. The Mission Myth is such book for those who are interested in running successful non-profit organization. The author, Deirdre Maloney, worked as an executive director of Colorado AIDS project. She describes what it took to take it from struggling organization to being a successful one.

The book is written in easy to follow, friendly style. Personal example make it very accessible. The gest of her approach is that running a non-profit organization has a lot in common with running a business. She talks not only about business, but being an inspiration leader. She leaves you with the final message that even when the mission is the most important goal, sometimes you need to concentrate not on the mission but what can make the mission successful.

Despite the heavy topic I found this book to be an easy read. I found this book interesting as well as educational.

Ali Julia review
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Citizen John TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Having worked before at non-profits, I know first-hand what it feels like to run a mission-based organization as a business. The first thing to acknowledge is that employees at non-profits are often expected to work incredible hours in an organization that often resists business constraints.

My favorite parts of the book are the sections where the author tells her own experience. These sections have a blue background so they are set apart from the rest of the book. The author, Deidre Maloney got promoted very quickly to the CEO position by a combination of timing, luck and her desire to assume the responsibility.

I found the author to be humble, relating her past mistakes and how we can all learn from them. She has a lot of interesting stories including her experiences with the Board of Directors. She ended up learning the foundational truths underlying every type of business, including non-profits. In my view, the book explained these truths as well or better than any I've read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
In the specific world of political nonprofits, I first heard it described as the Sir Galahad mistake: the belief that "our side shall win for we are pure of heart." In this excellent book, Deirdre Maloney expands the idea into the Mission Myth -- the feeling (I put it that way because it's not always a conscious idea) all too common among nonprofit staff that because we are good people working together to achieve good ends -- and not greedy, competitive "suits" -- the very power of our goodness is enough to make us successful.

In her years as executive director of a major nonprofit charity, Deirdre Maloney confronted the Mission Myth, first and most painfully in herself, but also among board members, donors, staff, and volunteers. She believes, and argues convincingly, that in order to be successful ... in order to achieve the very "good things" that motivate people to work for nonprofits in the first place ... leaders need to run their organization >gasp< like a business.

This really shouldn't be so revolutionary a proposal. After all, the distinction between for-profit and not-for-profit organizations is largely artificial. As Franz Oppenheimer, and A.J. Nock following him, pointed out, there are only two ways to interact with others in society, meet needs, and acquire wealth. One is through voluntary exchange (what Oppenheimer called the "economic means"), the other is through force or the threat of force (the "political means"). Viewed this way, for-profit business (in the absence of government-enforced monopolies) and non-profit charity are both clearly part of the broader "voluntary sector," the major difference between the two being where they stand in relation to the political means -- specifically, to tax law.
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Format: Paperback
THE MISSION MYTH: BUILDING NONPROFIT MOMENTUM THROUGH BETTER BUSINESS (Business Solutions Press) by Deidre Maloney is a book that I wish I had read many years ago; i.e., before I started becoming involved with nonprofit organizations.

Unfortunately, it was only written in 2012 . . . yet I still got a lot out of it because of the fact that I remain active in several such groups . . . and there is much to be learned from the author who served as an executive director of the Colorado AIDS Project and who now helps nonprofits meet their missions through a company she founded.

What I liked most was how Maloney shared her many experiences to drive home the point that there's more to successful for nonprofits than just passion and heart . . . rather, only when they integrate the Four M's: Management, Money, Marketing and Measurement will they achieve optimal results.

She then uses countless examples to show how this can be accomplished, including this particular tidbit that I plan to implement right away:

* Here's the other thing to know about systems, one of their most important benefits:

They make things less personal.

When you have a system in place that says it's up to your supervisors to check the staff's timesheets and question comp time, then those supervisors are simply following required policy. It becomes less about Charlene questioning Steve about his timesheet, and more about what the supervisor is expected to do.

When you have a policy that states that it's up to the volunteer coordinator to pick up the mail at the post office each day because you have limited resources, then you're not asking Daniel to do you a favor every day.
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