The Future of Nonprofits: An Interview with David J. Neff
David J. Neff is a long-time innovator, blogger, and nonprofit founder. He recently co-authored the book, The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age, with Randal C. Moss. It is aimed at nonprofit employees at all levels who are interested in learning how innovation, internal entrepreneurship, fundraising and social media communications are going impact nonprofits in the next five years.
I touched base with Dave to find out more about his tactics and techniques for successful nonprofit management. Take a look at the interview below to learn more about Dave, and grow your understanding of leveraging technological innovations to run successful programs.
Learn more about David J. Neff in the interview below!
Q. How did you get started with nonprofit management and what drove you to write a book about it?
Randal and I had been at management positions at the American Cancer Society for several years and really saw what positive things can happen when you have the correct awareness, structure and staffing in an organization. We also were prominent members of the American Cancer Society Future and Innovation center and helped ACS predict future trends. These things combined made us want to share our experience with the nonprofit community. And the best way we could figure that out was through this book.
Q. What are some of the main themes in the book?
One of my favorite themes of the book is that nonprofits constantly hire people in their 20s and 30s who have amazing ideas, and then say no to all their great ideas. And then are amazed when they quit in frustration just months later. Nonprofits have to have a way to take in, evaluate and fund good ideas from their staff and volunteers. We have an entire two chapters dedicated
to these two ideas!
Q. What do you think are some of the characteristics of nonprofits and individuals that are strong innovators?
It’s simple. They are risk takers and their nonprofits take the time to reward them for that behavior. Nonprofits are way too risk aversive. We all understand that it’s other people’s money but the same thing holds for IBM or DELL. However in that case it’s the stockholders money. The modern nonprofit donor wants to know where the ROI is?
So can you answer them?
Q. I hear there is a graphic novel element to the book! Tell me more!
Yes we produced a graphic novel to help promote the book. Our “comic book” was done and drawn by the amazing Chris Bomley who writes about drawing it and working with us at this link. As far as I know it’s the first ever nonprofit comic book produced. It’s been an amazing marketing piece for us and tells a good story about our book.
Q. What have you learned from writing The Future of Nonprofits?
Wow. That’s a hard one. My favorite part was conducting all the amazing interviews of my peers that I got to do while writing the book. I learned so much about what peers were up to that you just don’t read on their blogs. It really re-awakened my love of journalism and news and I think you really see that in the book with the case studies and hard hitting questions we ask.
Q. How can people get their hands on The Future of Nonprofits and follow your other work?
You bet. You can buy the book at your local book store or through Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Nobles and Google Book and at our site www.thefutureofnonprofits.com
Thanks so much to Dave for sharing his story with us!