Nonprofit Periscope

Keeping an eye on news of the sector

As if you need a reason to be a nonprofit rockstar

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I’m a Millennial, and I like my information bite-sized.  But trying to learn things that way–mostly online–can be a piecemeal effort, and at heart I’m more old-fashioned: I love books. So I was tickled when I heard Rosetta Thurman and Trista Harris were crafting a book of advice on nonprofit careers. The result: How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar, which debuted today in both e-book and print formats.

Full disclosure: I was invited to read and review an advance copy, and if you click the link to the book above and decide to buy it from there, I receive a small portion of the sale price. Come on, though. I studied ethics at Oxford. I won’t fawn over a book for a kickback; I’ll fawn over it because it deserves said fawning. Luckily this one does.

I’ll keep this review brisk, because I like long book reviews about as much as you do, and your time is better spent reading the book than reading my blog post about the book.

Reasons to read How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar:

  • Curation. It rounds up the most reliable nonprofit career tips from across the Internet–expert blogs, Twitter, news interviews, etc.–and presents them in a coherent collection that’s easier to navigate and notate than that folder of bookmarks I painstakingly saved. This alone makes me a fan.
  • Relevance. It references up-to-date career search tips, emphasizing social media and other techniques that are still crossing over into the HR mainstream and therefore benefit from explanation.
  • Well-roundedness. It includes tips on managing your finances, work-life balance, and other things that seem peripheral to a career but affect it more they get credit for.
  • Ambition. It lists ways to advance your career no matter what phase you’re in: volunteer, intern, entry-level, mid-level, senior, etc. Even if you’re already the boss, you can always get better at it (as both Rosetta and Trista know personally, since they’re now bosses themselves).
  • Details. It suggests exact phrasing for milestones such as negotiating a raise. I know, I’m not in it for the money either, but tip #41 alone is worth the price of the entire book several times over.

Rockstar’s weak spots have already been observed by Trina Isakson, and I agree with several of them, including:

  • The book feels written for Millennials. I would add that this makes sense given the often fledgling careers of people in my age group. But the recession has sent people of most generations into the job hunt, many of whom who could benefit from Rockstar if it had a less age-specific feel.
  • As an introvert, I also find some of the imagery and tips better suited to extroverts.

In addition, as a diehard reader of Rosetta’s blog and a catcher-up to Trista’s, I realized with a jolt that some chapters were recycled almost wholesale from existing–and free–content on said blogs. On one hand, this briefly made me feel like a sucker. On the other, let’s be honest: it’s efficient. Like I said, the real gem of this book is its accomplishment in curating content that is far more useful as a collection than as isolated bits in cyberspace.

That aside, Rockstar is a book worth reading and sharing. For me, it came along at the perfect time: in danger of drifting into career doldrums for a few weeks, I snuck a few pages in my cubicle this afternoon and hit the list of ideas for tip #32: “Fall back in love with your job.” Thank you, Rosetta and Trista. It’s about time I did.

Written by eclawson

November 1, 2010 at 9:25 PM

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