Zilch. Zero. Nada. Rien. All of them add up to each other. Nothing. This is often what solo business startups have, and this is almost always what non-profits work with. Nancy Lublin is the highly successful founder of Dress for Success, and CEO of Do Something—two high-profile make-a-difference non-profits. And Nancy has something to say: Do more with less.
Zilch: How Businesses and Not-for-Profits Can Get More Bang for Less Buck is a call to action. Nancy wants you to turn it up to eleven and rock out. In a highly approachable, matter-of-fact and humorous way, she walks through eleven steps with eleven points, each summed up with eleven critical questions.
I picked up this book as I was perusing the non-profit management shelves at my favorite bookstore for three reasons:
- It was bright orange in a sea of green and blue covers and didn't look like it had been written in the 80s (design matters).
- It wasn't branded with "…For Dummies" or "The Everything Guide" (branding is powerful).
- I'm an unconventional person and I was looking for a more ambidextrous approach to learning about non-profit leadership mentality than your average business-based book.
[Wait. You were perusing the non-profit management shelves of your local bookstore? Yes, I was. I'm in the process of starting a non-profit organization, but not quite ready to share what that is yet. All in good time, my friends. All in good time.]
Nancy Lublin did a great job of diving into real-world non-profit success stories and relating them to the for-profit business world. I will say that the book is more weighted to teaching businesses how to apply non-profit chutzpah to their for-profit endeavors—she frames the entire work on sitting frustrated in a fancy conference room with a bunch of suits lamenting over a slashed marketing budget. But having worked on both sides, I can easily see where she's coming from and turn those principles right back around into how a fledgling non-profit should approach the work they have before them.
Do more with less but not by yourself
The DIY community is probably the closest for-profit sphere that understands and implements these principles on a daily basis, and self-employed creative types are accustomed to making do without a lot of money. That's the whole point of the do-it-yourself mindset, right? Saves on hiring people when you can take on a project all on your own.
But doing it constantly alone breeds a self-destructive martyrdom. Nancy asks the right questions to inspire you to embrace your people and galvanize support behind your cause, even if it's a for-profit endeavor—to do it together.
So if you work at a for-profit business, work at a non-profit business, or run your own independent, DIY business, you should venture into the non-profit management shelf and pick up this orange delight. You just might learn to do more with less.
Buy Zilch from Powells.com (affiliate link)
Next up on my shelf:
It's time for a left-brain vacation. I'll be reading Storm Large's memoir, Crazy Enough.
Bookshelf is a series of book reviews and thoughts about what I've read. Some are left-brained books, some are right-brained books, but the best books are the ambidextrous-brained books.