Nonprofit Summer Exercise 6: Pick A Book


Exercise 6: Pick A Book

It’s summer! It’s a great time to get reading!

Whoa whoa whoa. Wait. Um, actually, summer is already half over. If you’re like me, there is already a bit of tightness in your chest when you think about just how fast July has screamed by, and just how intense August is going to be. Starting a book now? Thinking about trying to pick something up with more than 5 pages right in the middle of things?

So here’s just a little side reminder… if July always flies by, and August feels like a write-off even on the 20th of July, why is it that every year you tell yourself things will be different?

And there’s another reason why I didn’t make this one of the very first activities. Life is busy, and we seldom have the perfect opportunity to “start” anything with a clear plate. Like the fallacy of New Years Day and all the lost and forgotten resolutions, our summers are all too often two months of good intentions gone sideways.

So here’s the bonus for today – Start in medias res. 

This is me attempting to “attend my own lecture” — the list of books I want to read grows longer while the time I think I have to read shrinks. “Maybe once I get through this crazy week” I tell myself. “I could easily get through this, I just don’t have the time.”

It’s time to make time. Part of being a kick-ass nonprofiteer is being committed to lifelong learning. Start exactly where you are today.


As easy as it sounds. Pick one from the giant list of stuff you’ve been meaning to read. Or pick one from the stack that has been gathering dust on the corner of your desk.

Then, in your office if you can handle the distractions, or at a coffee shop around the corner, sit yourself down and give yourself one hour to read, uninterrupted. This is going to give you the opportunity to actually get past the forward/introduction and into the meat of the book. This way, you’re going to have a harder time setting it down and forgetting about it.

Does it need to be a professional book? Not necessarily. But you’ll have an easier time convincing yourself to take time during your day to read if it’s for your work. I’d even suggest that you find a book that isn’t directly related to your position. Fundraiser? Read a great book about content marketing. Communicator? Pick something up on community development. Program manager? Try picking up something about storytelling.

Follow me on Twitter – I’ll drop some of my book suggestions and ask some of my favourite people what they are reading!

I’d love to hear what you are reading, or what your book suggestions are! If you have questions about this exercise or anything else, please don’t hesitate to connect with me! And if you’re game, tweet your progress and insights as you go along!