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Managing the Nonprofit Organization.

Two Drucker Books

Peter Drucker has written yet two more superb books that have important messages for association executives. From the dust jacket, one might think the first book, Managing the Nonprofit Organization, has application only to hospitals, churches, universities, museums, health and community services, charitable and service groups, and foundations. Not so. Every association person should read this book and discuss it with colleagues, staff, and volunteer leaders. It is a refresher for the experienced association practitioner and a stimulating antidote to apathy.

The book comprises five parts: the mission comes first, from mission to performance, managing for performance, people and relationships, and developing yourself. Each includes an interview with a top nonprofit leader and a summary of "action implications."

A brief review cannot do the book justice, but the following small sampling of major points may help give you a taste of the content:

* Developing an effective mission requires much time, thought, and staff and volunteer participation. Activities that no longer fit the mission must be dropped, for without flexibility the institution will become frozen. * The CEO never says, "I," but thinks in terms of "we-ness." He or she listens with great care, is objective, knows that the task is more important than the individual, sets high performance standards, and sees the big picture and the people who make it up. The CEO must have vision and enthusiasm to keep the vision alive and be in touch with reality. * There should be a sign over the boardroom door that says, "Membership on this board is not power, it is responsibility." The effective CEO must work hard to help find and train the right people for the board and to keep them informed, responsible, and committed. Drucker says the CEO is the board's conscience. * All nonprofits need a thorough marketing plan, and they should know their prospects' needs and values. Nonprofits must keep asking questions: Are we getting better and in what ways? Do we apply resources to areas that will yield results? What does the organization want to be remembered for? * The chapter "You Are Responsible" is worth the price of the book. It calls for assessing the impact you and the organization have made, for frequent self-reviews, and for asking staff and others how to build the organization and themselves.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Shapiro, Samuel B.
Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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