Interview with David J. Neff, co-author of "The Future of Nonprofits"

David J. Neff

David J. Neff

I had the pleasure of meeting David J. Neff at this year's South by Southwest Interactive conference, where he was telling people about his book, "The Future of Nonprofits: Thrive and Innovate in the Digital Age," which he co-authored with Randal C. Moss. David has 10 years of experience creating innovative strategies for nonprofits.

The book released earlier this month. Here's what David has to say about it.

In one sentence, who should read this book, and why? All nonprofits need to prepare for the future of the digital age and this is the playbook to make it happen.

What inspired you to write this book? We actually did a lot of futuring work at the American Cancer Society. That combined with our work in the digital communications field really made us understand that a lot of nonprofits were not ready for the future. We wanted to write this book to prepare them to make a difference even five years from now.

What are your hopes for the book, now that it's published? I would hope that nonprofits take the book and start to change the way they do Awareness, Staffing and Structure. They need to be hiring totally different people than they hire and retain right now to adapt to the future changes that are coming. It's almost more of a management book than anything else. We think that's what people need to understand.

Which organizations do you recommend as role models for other nonprofits in social media? We are big fans of the folks over at Mobile Loaves and Fishes. You have to read the #iamhere casestudy in the book to believe some of the amazing PR and social media campaigns they have tackled.

What's one of your favorite case studies in the book? I love the inovative program that Meals on Wheels and More did here in Austin. In February 2010, Meals on Wheels and More opened Mike’s Place, a new activity center for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia that simultaneously provides respite for their caregivers. The center is the first of its kind in East Austin. While there are several activity centers for individuals with Alzheimer’s in Austin, most are located west of I-35, leaving East Austin-ites who are suffering from dementia and their caregivers without adequate local resources. Currently, Mike’s Place is a free service that is open from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. How's that for outside the program box but yet inside the Mission?