Book Reviews


Mastering Your Role As A Nonprofit Manager is accessible, practical, and with applicable lessons in our roles, this book is a gift to emerging leaders and experienced managers leading social impact and nonprofit work in our communities.
Having spent my career leading teams in the higher education, community organizing, and government sectors, I found myself resonating with insights offered in this book, as well as being invited to pivot my thinking into new ways to lead.
Some of the standout lessons I find myself returning to include:
  • Navigating and shaping organizational culture, team dynamics, and values for effectively meeting outcomes and stakeholder needs
  • Strategic organizational and team growth, through collaboration, advocacy, and mission-driven coalition (not easy, but Marcus offers us pathways to get there!) 
  • Supervising and coaching staff- even during tricky challenges and conflicts- and identifying true opportunity for growth even during evolving and complex times
Mastering Your Role As A Nonprofit Manager will be a go-to playbook to draw from daily in my current work. What I appreciate most is not only the set of strategic insights that Bruce Marcus shares, but also his invitation to deepen our “heart work” needed to truly bring our best selves to this work for collective good,  transforming teams, our communities, and re-imagining our own leadership potential.
Fernando Enciso-Márquez
San Francisco City and County Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs
2019 US State Department Fulbright Visiting Scholar- Cali, Colombia


In Mastering Your Role As A Nonprofit Manager, Bruce Marcus has created an engaging field guide for managers at all levels. Marcus’ choice to focus on the nonprofit sector is more than surface-level, as he considers the history of the sector’s development and the unique context for managers working in nonprofit organizations. The book also briskly explores a variety of common scenarios – including managers promoted from the ranks, relationships between peer managers, and managers who have other managers reporting to them – and provides clear, compelling structures to respond.

The author’s years of experience and his relatable tone combine for a thoughtful book full of concrete examples that never becomes overly prescriptive in its advice. Instead, Marcus poses questions and offers frameworks, encouraging readers to engage with the book’s real-life scenarios and to adapt best practices to their specific situation. As a new manager, reading the book has given me more exposure to challenges (and opportunities) I may encounter and prepared me to better navigate them as they arise.

I highly recommend this easy-to-digest read for anyone looking to improve their management skills.

Peter Estes

Senior and Disability Action

Consumer Rights Organizer



Bruce Marcus’ new book, Mastering Your Role As A Nonprofit Manager, is a welcome resource for me to share with the new managers I coach and train. Bruce has created a comprehensive guide that addresses all the most common challenges that nonprofit managers face, especially first-time managers recently promoted within their organization.

Over and over, I see that managers promoted from the ranks for their expertise in the work of the organization, are not given the support and training they need to be successful in their new role. This results in unnecessary anxiety, worry, and headaches. These internally promoted managers face a few specific challenges that Bruce addresses skillfully in the book:

  • Supervising staff that were peers and friends a short time ago.
  • Providing critical feedback in nonprofit cultures that prioritize a “family-like” atmosphere, where conflict resolution is a best practice.

Bruce tackles these challenges head on, with a deep exploration of nonprofit culture, and specific sections on managing former peers, and on “managing up” so new supervisors can get the support they need to be successful.

I highly recommend this book for new supervisors, especial in the afterschool field.

Oscar Wolters-Duran