Denise McMahan

Denise McMahan is founder and publisher of CausePlanet, a thriving one-of-a-kind professional development website for busy nonprofit leaders who want to stay informed about essential reading through Page to Practice™ book summaries, author interviews and relevant discussion by peer contributors. Denise dedicated much of her early career to fundraising in academia and experiential education where she was twice recognized for innovation and model account, raising millions of dollars and surpassing client goals. McMahan equally enjoyed working on client side, coaching major gift volunteers and mobilizing unrestricted giving to reach unprecedented participation. In addition to overseeing CausePlanet, McMahan is a writer for nonprofit and corporate clients. Read her blog at or email her at

[PODCAST] Need to clarify roles between your nonprofit staff and board?

Board leadership is an area that demands much of our attention and effort due to its critical role in helping an organization “thrive or dive,” says Jean Block, author of The Invisible Yellow Line: Clarifying Nonprofit Board and Staff Roles. Block decided the Invisible Yellow Line is a perfect metaphor for the working relationship between a... Read more

[PODCAST] Get more done in your meetings (and your pitches!)

Meetings can be an expensive waste of time if they aren’t led properly. Authors Dick and Emily Axelrod have dedicated their careers to understanding and promoting what makes an impactful meeting in Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done. The Axelrods explain step by step how to participate in... Read more

[PODCAST] Tapping into your donor’s subconscious with Roger Dooley

Leading scientists who focus on brain activity say 95 percent of all thoughts, emotions and learning happen before we are aware of them. Author Roger Dooley says that unfortunately, most marketing efforts bypass the immense subconscious and instead target the rational conscious mind. Dooley claims that if you want to promote your cause more effectively,... Read more

[PODCAST] Much of what we do in fundraising is counterproductive

Regrettably, history and results show we do a lot in fundraising that is counterproductive. We recorded a podcast with Ellen Bristol, author of Fundraising the SMART Way, which provides you with tactics from the classic disciplines of performance management. The SMART Way is a methodology containing the guidelines, benchmarks, reporting methods, performance metrics, analytics and... Read more

A counterintuitive approach to pressure can help you manage the moment

If you’ve ever let pressure take control, you’re not alone. Working on behalf of a nonprofit can create all sorts of potentially stressful situations. But no matter the scenario, Performing Under Pressure’s Hank Weisinger emphasizes the importance of managing the pressure you feel rather than try to resist or ignore it. In fact, Weisinger encourages us... Read more

Why is failure your ally and how do you get better at it?

We recently added Fail Better: Design Smart Mistakes and Succeed Sooner to our summary library because it addresses a critical gap in the body of work around failure. According to coauthor, Kara Penn, Fail Better explores HOW failure is a path to success. We asked Penn about how you can make failure your ally, and... Read more

Tired of the same fundraising ideas getting repurposed? Get global.

  While many philanthropists, nonprofit leaders and fundraisers have an eye on proven practices among the usual suspects in North America and Europe, many charities both giant and small, inside and outside these regions are exhibiting innovative methods worthy of global attention. Author Jeff Brooks distills seven trends found outside of these regions in his review... Read more

Inject soul into your use of technology

Leroux Miller’s comprehensive guide to curating content is the cornerstone to creating a climate of followers engaged in your organization’s fundraising and brandraising. The author’s vast number of nonprofit examples and specific guidance on why it’s important to create your content identity, build a plan based on your constituents’ preferences, and map out a functional... Read more

Content marketing for nonprofits: Don’t forget to rinse and repeat

The number of tools and the amount of noise around us grow by the day. With choice comes complexity, and our environment changes constantly, due to technological, generational and marketing shifts. Redefine your audience for today’s current climate with the help of author Kivi Leroux Miller. Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging... Read more

Set your team up for success in 9 minutes

Want to change up your Monday and empower your team? It takes nine minutes. Empower your employees without adding hours to your plate. The nine principles found in this book summary will ignite the engagement, motivation, morale and trust among you team members and will result in greater efficiency and higher levels of productivity. When... Read more

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