Customer Reviews: Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars12
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on October 19, 2008
This book was OK. Not bad, but nothing special. It was kind of two books in one, and neither was done particularly well. One book involved chapters 1-6 and 8-10. And the second book was Chapter 7. I think the first book could have been better if it had a good beginning, sound middle, and eloquent ending. But the way it was put together it felt like a mere bulletin board with notes haphazardly tacked here and there. Where was the chapter on annual giving fundraising programs? Wow, what a hole!

And the second book, i.e., Chapter 7, was quite a list of topics that could have been made into a wonderful treatise. But none of these topics were developed much. And each could have been made into their own chapter.

The author heads up a very impressive nonprofit organization. And he boasts that he raised over $1 billion in six years for that organization. I wish he had not made that boast because I hear way too many professional fundraisers and fundraising consultants boast about raising tremendous sums of money. The truth of the matter is that it's the organization that raises the money. The fundraiser is just the clerk that helps the organization do its thing. If you were to put the author in a rinky-dink nonprofit I can guarantee you that he wouldn't be raising $1 billion in 6, 10 or 20 years.

But if you are interested in nonprofit fundraising and want to read one person's "legacy book" on his life's work, then consider getting a copy of this book. It has some good content and may be a fun read for you. However, don't expect to be getting a "Guide to Fundraising and Management" as the title suggests. 3.8 stars!

PS. Take a look at the Search Insider material offered by Amazon. It includes a Table of Contents that will provide you with exactly what is covered in this book.
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on April 16, 2010
Mr. Levy is eager to share his experiences with his reader... a little too eager. There is much more space devoted to promoting the author's own successes than there is to helping you apply those lessons to your agency. I was able to glean helpful tips here and there throughout this book, but for a busy fundraiser at a smaller agency the helpful bits weren't really worth the trouble. There are better fundraising books out there.
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on October 31, 2011
This is a must read for all Boards of Directors, their officers and staff of all nonprofit organizations, but I believe especially small nonprofits. The author, Reynold Levy, states that NOW is the time to be raising funding. Know your need. Know whom you are asking. And Ask, and ask often. Because it IS "Yours for the Asking"

I bot my first copy from the Author and he autographed it for me. Then I bot 3 more from Amazon. One for my wife who is on 3 non profit boards, one for a friend who is the Paid Director of a non profit, and one for another non profit I support, all small.
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on August 15, 2010
This is a repetitive and very elementary introduction to fund raising. I expected more from the person who raised so much money for Lincoln Center. Poor writing...not much of a book.
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on August 13, 2013
As a new, first-time board member "Yours for the Asking" is a valuable guide not only for the take-away practices you can begin using right away, but also a great reminder of what your service on a board requires to make that organization successful. A truly inspiring read.
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on November 19, 2008
I am a governance and leadership consultant. I train and speak to literally hundreds of trustees, CEOs, Directors, and other nonprofit professionals every year - this will be on the required reading book list!

I purchased the book after hearing Reynold's keynote speech "Recession! What Recession? Raising Money in Tough Economic Times in Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago.

It was a great speech - Levy's charm, positive nature, and sense of humor won a very suspicious, cynical, and bail-out beaten nonprofit audience over. Who would have thought he could carry that keynote title off among a group of the nation's highest fundraising professionals?

He was a cross between Woody Allen and Hugh Jackman with a little Sting and Coltrane thrown in.

So - I bought the book. What woman wouldn't buy a book by a guy made up of Sting, Coltrane, Jackman, and Allen?

I read it on the plane on the way home and have marked it, sticky noted it, and read it again. When my secretary saw it - she said, "Boy that one must be good!"

I have read more than 200 titles on fund development, what I love about this one are the stories and the conversational style Levy brings to a tough topic - How to inspire regular people to ask regular people for money?

Oh, and by the way, how to inspire not regular people (wealthy)to ask other not regular people (wealthy) for money is covered too.

If you think having a wealthy board means they are an automatic friend-raiser - then you haven't been around enough leaders in the nonprofit sector. Many people of wealth would rather write 2 checks than ask anyone for money!

I appreciated Levy's personal attention to and beliefs about the role of the Board of Trustees/Directors in a nonprofit organization's fund development strategy. It is clear he views the goal of ensuring adequate resources for the advancement of the mission as an equal partnership between the board and staff.

And he has actually done it.

Other books say the same - but many Executive Directors tell me the books read more like good theory than the reality they experience with their boards in many small nonprofit organizations.

Many organizations at the level of Lincoln Center have small boards (7-9 or under 20) of very influential and affluent individuals. Not Levy. As you read the book it is clear he has mastered the "art" (pardon the pun) of developing a strong board network - utilizing a very large number of individual board members through careful recruitment, committee, and leadership assignments.

That requires a leader who is not threatened by size and who either has a phenomenal assistant - or phenomenal time management - or both. In the book he claims he returns calls within a short time every time. I had a friend in Birmingham test him last week - he did!

As I read the book I could imagine these smart committee leadership structures and Levy having a Board Chair who is like a "General" to a huge army of cultural soldier ants - - hundreds of ambassadors telling the story of the Lincoln Center and the various organizations within it - - convincing their friends, their neighbors, their vendors, probably even their kids and dogs... to do the same and so on.

Reading Levy's stories, I pictured him as more of the guy next to the General (Chair of the Board )in the front of the Jeep - pointing out good paths and possible obstacles and encouraging unsure leaders and staff with a good joke and a good laugh when things get a little bumpy. Acting as supportive coach and mentor and being coached and mentored - unifying folks around common goals. A leader who has figured out how to lead up, across, and down.

Levy turns ordinary people into donors, donors into heroes, and extraordinary heroes into cultural philanthropists.

Levy tells stories about how he played a part in helping people help him raise funds at many organizations and his belief that giving money and how you do it and how you feel about it - - separates the drive-by donor from the passionate social capitalists - the investment minded philanthropists.

Great fund development professionals should be judged not by the funds they raise -but by the number of people they raise who raise.

Can they inspire others to help them raise funds on behalf of the organization? True institutional advancement.

To have a guy write about how he actually got this done among a very large group of high-level volunteers is not good reading, its great reading!

Allison, Birmingham.
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on October 19, 2008
There couldn't be a worst time to raise money for worthy causes and, for that reason, I can't think of a better book for anyone concerned about a non-profit's mission and financial viability. Levy has committed decades of experience into a compact and lively book that will be instructive for the professional staffs, board members and committed volunteers of almost any non-profit organization. The book balances sound practical advice with engaging and often humorous anecdotes from the author's own careers in business, philanthropy, and global public affairs. In the end, Levy demonstrates how fulfilling a professional life at the intersection of those three spheres can be.
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on April 20, 2015
Excellent book, Reynold Levy was instrumental in providing examples on his theories. Book was shipped and delivered quicker than expected.
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on June 21, 2016
The bible for former and current employees of Ren Levy who wish to attempt to recreate his magic.
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on January 13, 2015
I think the quality was a bit lower than I had expected, but it is good. Came in 2 days.
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