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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Truths bout 'Non-Profit Organizations', January 18, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (Paperback)
Where would so many causes be without the guidance of organizations created to galvanize those of us who are out here wondering how to manage and direct our interests to best facilitate the projects and ideas we believe in if it weren't for the Not for profit agencies who make dreams happen? Yes, with the Internet we are barraged with requests for contributions, sometimes form organizations that seem to be identical in presence and drive. What Deirdre Maloney has provided in this book (probably meant for chairmen of such Non-Profit agencies) is the opportunity for us, as contributors to groups that men holes in our society left open by the hurry of living - whether those needs are political action, or feeding the poor, or providing funds for helping moments of natural disasters or third world countries to any number of service organizations - to understand the machinations of these groups and why some succeed and others fall by the well-meaning wayside.

Not for profit organizations simply indicate that the product they purport is service and assistance that will not provide financial returns for an 'investor' (for that is what we as contributors are). Even though this is 'charity work' the organizations must realize that in order to function they must act in the manner of solid businesses. This may not seem enlightening to many, but the manner in which Maloney lays out the basics for organization and improvement of action in gathering needed funds for the organizations beneficiary is solid business sense. She dispels the old myth that 'if we all are doing good things the money will just come in from generous people who believe in us'. Yes, the précis of that statement is true, but whether the money coming in actual WORKS toward the goal is something else.

This book seems to be directed toward instructing managers who have little professional business training to address issues of solid management: finding the strong Board of Directors, selecting a staff of volunteers and instructing them in all aspects of fundraising (direct call, drives, benefits, gala dinners, all manner of ways to make donors feel appreciated and needed, marketing tools (yes, asking for contributions is the same as marketing a cause). how best to use the tools for advertising and solicitation, dealing with the press and with social media - the list practically mirrors the texts on excellent business management.

Where it seems this book will be best used is 1) by those dedicated individuals who sign up to be a key person for a non profit organization and 2) by the volunteers of such organizations - a role of self instruction to bridge the time gap of learning the skills necessary to support the manager and the Board of Directors. Saying that this book is low key is meant as a compliment: Deirdre Maloney instructs the way many fine teachers in the classroom practice - entice, inform, set goals, learn how to achieve them. This is a solid little book that addresses a much-needed vacuum - especially in a down economy where every donated dollar is tough to find and to keep. Grady Harp, January 12
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Galahad lie and the business of the voluntary sector, March 8, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (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. It shouldn't be any surprise, then, that the keys to "building momentum" and achieving objectives should have some important similarities. After all, as one nonprofit executive once told me, "Just because we're called a `nonprofit' doesn't mean we're allowed to lose money." (Interested readers should look up the Mises Institute working paper "Against the Third Sector as a Contrivance of the State" by Kevin Hodgkins of UAB, and the audio presentation "Consumption, Profit, and Competition in the Not-for-Profit" by Italian economist Paola Mazzà.)

Deirdre Maloney doesn't engage in this kind of analysis in "The Mission Myth," though I think it provides important context for her basic premise. What she does do is provide some great insight and ready-to-use ideas for maximizing an organization's effectiveness using "the four M's" of management, money, marketing, and measurement. Other writers have covered some of these nonprofit-management topics in greater length, but part of what makes "The Mission Myth" so good is the author's brevity, clear language, and focus on action (she has a great section on the power of succinct writing, but every chapter qualifies as an example of this). The other part of what makes it so good is her use of examples from her own experience: These are not conclusions the author made up for the sake of selling a book or putting on a conference, but are the product of her own life in the trenches as a nonprofit manager.

If there's one thing I know about people who work for charities, it's that they often don't have a lot of time for extra reading. But "The Mission Myth" is a title I urge them to make time for. If you're a board member, get a few copies for the ED and others in leadership positions. If you're a founder (what Morton Blackwell, consistent with the above analysis, calls an "organizational entrepreneur"), do the same and underline chapters 7 and 13 in your own copy. One thing charities don't need is a glut of "management guru" books like that which infests the for-profit world. "The Mission Myth" isn't one of those. This is a book that a great many people could read with profit ... if you'll pardon the expression.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rings true - every non-profit has its share of similar issues, March 30, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn from success and failures of those who came before you, April 17, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked how Maloney shared her experiences to drive home, there's more to a successful nonprofit than just passion and heart., March 22, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (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.

When you have a board policy that says a member must give or get a certain amount of money every year, then following up with Amy on her donation is about the policy, not about calling her out for her lack of a monetary contribution.

In addition, I liked the advice on a variety of topics--such as determining the length of something you plan to send out:

* Here's a good test. If you're writing a direct mail piece or a flyer and you find yourself playing with the margins to fit it all on one page, stop. Cut it. I promise you can. And the final product will be much better.

However, what I liked most about THE MISSION MYTH were the many boxes where she encouraged readers to "learn from me" and not make similar mistakes . . . however, Maloney then ends on this positive note:

* The other thing to know is that you will make mistakes. Not everything will go well, and sometimes you will miss the days of the more random use of your time, answering emails and calls as they come in, letting anybody walk in your office and take up your time, acting as the almighty cheerleader instead of the critical combination of inspired leader, excellent manager and accountability mechanism.

I now want to see if I can get the other board members in one of my groups to read this book . . . if they do, they will gain a much better understanding of what being a board member is all about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Mission Myth, February 16, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (Paperback)
The Mission Myth is a great read for any nonprofit executive looking for solid advice (and a little humor too). Deidre's frank and straight forward style draw you in and you'll find yourself nodding in agreement. I particularly liked her concept of the four M's : Management, Money, Marketing and Measurement. She has a way of simplifying and entertaining at the same time which is not an easy thing to do in nonprofit management. I highly recommend this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book for managers at all levels of a nonprofit, February 14, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (Paperback)
The nonprofit organization may have a mission that emphasizes community improvement over profits, but there is a great deal of similarity between the functioning of a nonprofit and those organizations whose reason for existence is to make a profit. The nonprofit calls their revenue stream donors while a for-profit calls them customers, both have salaried employees and a payroll and have a mission statement for the organization.
While the differences are sometimes small in function, they are always big in action or consequence. A donor expects return in the form of personal satisfaction and positive publicity while a customer expects the product to give them personal value. Therefore, the two types of revenue streams must be treated in dramatically different ways. Employees at a for-profit generally work for a paycheck while those at a nonprofit are usually working for a cause. Yet, employees are still human and so there is a lot of overlap in how they are managed.
Maloney is a veteran executive director (ED) of a nonprofit that now has her own business where she works with nonprofits so that they can better achieve their stated goals. She points out how nonprofits often deal in a currency different from that of the business and how the ED must wear several management hats as the overall manager of the organization as well as the two-direction conduit between the nonprofit and the board of directors. One of the most difficult characteristics of the nonprofit is developing and maintaining accurate measurements of effective outcomes, as it s success is not measured by the numbers on the bottom line of the ledger. Maloney describes ways in which you can "count the things that count" in a nonprofit.
Managing any organization is hard, while there are times that you can control events it is often the case that the events start to control you. Managing nonprofits can be harder because of more accountability to not waste donor money as well as a more nuanced measure of success. Maloney uses her expertise to explain how an ED can walk through this virtual minefield in order to reach a realistic level of success. An excellent book for managers at all levels in nonprofits.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real How-to Guide for Managing Non-Profits, February 8, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (Paperback)
The title does not adequately convey the message of the valuable content contained in this book. First, let me explain what Deidre Maloney, the author, means when she talks about the mission myth. Most of the staff of a non-profit are totally focused on the mission - the purpose of the organization and think that if they are passionate about the mission, everything else will somehow come together. That is a myth.

The fact is that a non-profit has a lot of things in common with a for profit organization. And poor management in either will prevent the organization from achieving its goals.

The goal of The Mission Myth is to give non-profits a blueprint for running a better organization and as Ms. Maloney says, "doing good well." You will not get there by accident or passion about your mission. You need a strategic plan for managing the organization. There are some things which are unique to non-profits. It is fairly easy to find numerous books which go into great detail about running/managing a for profit organization. But because of some unique differences in a non-profit, you need guidance specifically tailored to your organization.

This book is not about theory learned in a textbook or from attending some conference. Ms. Maloney was Executive Director of a large non-profit for seven years. The book draws extensively on her hands on experience as an executive director.

The book is divided into four sections: Management, Money, Marketing and Measurement. Each is dealt with in great detail. You will come away with a much better understanding of how each of the four "M"s interact and impact the goal of the organization.

While the book is written from the Executive Director's perspective, it will be beneficial to all members of management of a non-profit - in particular all members of the board of directors should read this book or one which deals specifically with the duties and responsibilities of the board. Most people who come to a non-profit organization from the business world will have little or no experience dealing with the board. Ms. Maloney has learned the hard way about what works and what doesn't work in dealing with the board. Learn from her experience.

The book is well written and very easy to read. It is written in a very conversational style and gives lots of examples based on real world experiences.

I believe anyone in a management position with a non-profit will benefit greatly from reading this book. It is not to be read and put on the shelf. Keep it handy as a guide for dealing with issues as they come up.

Learn from this book and you will do a much better job of fulfilling the mission of your non-profit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to run a nonprofit organization using objective criteria !, January 30, 2012
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (Paperback)
The Mission Myth- Building Nonprofit Momentum
Through Better Business is an excellent book
on how to manage all aspects of a non-profit
organization. A non-profit functions very much
like a for profit business. Both business
structures require management, money, marketing
and measurement.

The Mission Myth begins with an inspirational
story of a struggling entity- The Colorado Aids
Project (CAP). The effort evolved slowly into a
multimillion dollar nonprofit organization with
little formal structure. CAP needed formal systems,
strong internal policies/procedures, an internet
server and up-to-date kitchen facilities.

Deirdre Maloney explains how CAP became a better
non-profit business through careful management of
people, the mission, marketing and resources.

Deirdre Maloney explains that managers are not
always liked. Sharing power is another difficult
area due to the need to establish organizational
boundaries while ensuring accountability for all
the parties. Most of all, the corporate culture
must come to a collective realization that people
make errors. In addition, a manager inevitably
carries part of the job from the office to home.

Systems are needed to ensure that an organization
can meet its goals on a timely basis. Task management
needs to be efficient, consistent and cost-effective.
Ultimately, the funders need to come to a
realization that the organization is meeting
its goals. Otherwise, the gift giving and donations
may suffer.

The marketing dimension is important because the
activity inspires people to act on behalf of the
nonprofit organization. In addition, a clearly
defined mission matters. An independent audit
committee of the Board of Directors is another
important element in a successful nonprofit undertaking.

The Mission Myth is an important contribution to
the literature of the non-profit sector. Deirdre Maloney
explains the essential elements of managing a non-profit,
as well as opportunities and major pitfalls. Nowhere
are the pitfalls more evident than in the closure of
St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City. Nearly six months
after St. Vincent's closed its doors, other emergency
rooms were overloaded with more patients, more ambulance
runs and longer waiting times for emergency medical
services.

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Mission Myth provides insightful information about how to run an effective nonprofit company., January 23, 2012
By 
This review is from: The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business (Paperback)
Deirdre Maloney establishes the four M's of running a successful nonprofit organization. They are management, money, marketing and measurement. She explains why these four components are essential for running a nonprofit compamy. I have a greater appreciation for the four M's because I work for a nonprofit. I enjoyed reading about reading about her personal challenges of running a nonprofit organization that provides services to people living with AIDS. She briefly describes the types of services she provided like housing and AIDS prevention classes. It is interesting to read about how she coordinated annual AIDS walks to raise money. I appreciate her honesty by saying that sometimes her fund raising activities do not raise much money. I admire her dedication to her work very much.

She spends half of the book on the concept of management of people who work in nonprofits. I learned the best people to work in nonprofits are individuals who can establish clearly defined goals for their clients. Effective workers can also measure and monitor those goals consistently. I liked reading about the methods of measurement she discusses here. Measurement of my client's goals is one thing I can work to improve on. I do not do this well.

I work for a nonprofit company that provides employment services to adults with disabilities. The most difficult thing about my job is simply creating defined goals for my clients. Maloney briefly talks about using a survey and a focus group to gather information. I think I can use a survey to ascertain the goals of the people I work with.

Maloney offers insight on how to establish a marketing plan. I don't do any marketing, but I found this portion of the book to be insightful reading. She also provides tips on how to get people to donate money to my nonprofit cause. This information will be useful for me if I am ever asked to raise money. I can apply many of these ideas in The Mission Myth on my job.
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The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business
The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business by Deirdre Maloney (Paperback - January 20, 2012)
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