Happy New Year! Here we are, one year after I wrote and shared my New Year’s Revolution/40th Birthday Manifesto. Whether you’ve been following along since day one or if you’re brand new here, thanks for joining in on this conversation. We’ve been talking about taking a justice approach to our work and how we can better talk about the work of the non-profit sector, exploring some “alternate narratives” along the way.
Since most of the motivation for this Disrupt For Good project comes from books I’m reading, I thought it would make sense to do a round-up of the books that have influenced my thinking (and writing) the most in 2021.
If you comment below by January 9, 2022 with your favourite post from 2021 and which book you’d most like to read from the list, your name will go in a draw for a chance to win that book!
Here we go. In the order I read them:
1. Change: How to Make Things Happen by Damon Centola
Centola uses research and data to explain how spreading ideas and spreading behaviour change are very different, and the distinction between spreading ideas and having them adopted is one we need to familiarize ourselves with to have maximum impact. I wrote a bit about it here.
2. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex from Incite!
This collection of essays drops so many truthbombs about the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, it is certain to change your perspective and shape how you think about funding sources. I wrote about it this summer: A Different Kind of Risk Assessment.
3. A Complex Exile: Homelessness and Social Exclusion in Canada by Erin Dej
This book had me in tears by page 3, where I stopped and texted my girl Amy: What if mental illness isn’t as prevalent in homelessness as we think? What if what we label mental illness behaviour is a completely rational, human response to the homelessness experience? This book also inspired my filter for 2021: “Does this decision/policy/idea centre and honour the dignity, self-determination, autonomy, and social inclusion of the people it is for?”
4. Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives by Minal Bopaiah
I finished this book a couple of weeks ago so I haven’t written about it yet. It’s a succinct primer for how to not skip over the Equity work for the warm fuzzies of Inclusion work in our organizations. She points out that inclusion is about people, but equity is about systems, which are invisible to so many people. It takes work to see the systems and then redesign them to make them equitable. It’s written for business leaders, but I see applications for systems change in the non-profit sector as well.
5. Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (And the Next) by Dean Spade
I just finished this book a couple of days ago, and I can tell that “solidarity over charity” and “shifting from saviourism to solidarity” are going to be big themes in my posts for the next little while. So much good packed into this tiny book - it’s a gift.
If you like, comment below with your favourite post from 2021 and which book you want to read, and I’ll announce a lucky winner on January 10th!
In the meantime, keep disrupting for good.
I'm Jennifer. I am an advocacy and communications strategist working with multiple charities and nonprofits. And I want to disrupt our sector for good.