Praise for The Nonprofit Dilemma

Clearly written and compassionate guidance for nonprofit leaders.

Armijo offers a handbook for workers in the nonprofit field.

In his nonfiction debut, the author draws on his years of experience as a nonprofit leader to distill some basic operating principles to guide others seeking to make their mark in that world. Emphasizing the importance of leadership (Armijo sounds the call for “Passionate leaders who thoughtfully motivate their employees and effectively partner to advance their organization and its cause” and “Leaders who are catalysts for change”), the book is aimed at aspiring leaders, established executives, and board members and trustees, providing advice on a range of tough problems nonprofits face. These challenges span governance issues and securing grants to building effective partnerships with allied organizations. Nonprofits with similar goals are all chasing the same finite amount of grant money; Armijo sketches a number of approaches to this competitive endeavor. The author also outlines helpful strategies for changing a nonprofit’s purpose, dealing with nonprofit tax issues, and getting the best results out of workers (including the “brilliant jerk” who seems to crop up in every organization). He effectively breaks down his information with bullet points, graphs and other illustrations, and discussion questions. No matter what level of involvement readers have with nonprofits, they’ll find plenty of persuasive thinking in these pages. A standout element is Armijo’s compassionate tone: He notes that nonprofits attract kind, caring people (which can sometimes constrain organizational effectiveness when it comes to delivering necessary frank feedback) and insists that the key ingredient in effective nonprofit leadership is love, which “will bolster your energy and resilience, and it will drive you to work more purposefully and collaboratively. Your integrity as a leader comes from recognizing and embracing that love.” Readers drawn to the nonprofit world will appreciate this empathetic approach. [Kirkus Reviews]

Valuable guidance for any role in the nonprofit sector.

Armijo draws on 25 years of professional experience in the nonprofit landscape to offer readers guidance on “maximizing mission impact while being a good organizational steward” in this thorough debut. Growing up in poverty with a chronically ill father, Armijo’s family relied heavily on nonprofit organizations to make ends meet, gifting him with a unique perspective on their value. Whether it’s explaining basic nonprofit terminology, treading the sticky ground that comes with conflicts of interest, or exploring funding streams, he channels that perspective here, providing readers with an informative guide to nonprofit leadership that focuses primarily on how to bolster an organization’s financial health without sacrificing its mission.

Chapters are laser-focused and built around the organizational roles that drive the nonprofit sector (future leaders, executives and managers, and trustees). Armijo weaves the fiduciary/impact dilemma into all aspects of the business, including common governance issues, how to build and empower purpose-driven teams, strategy and execution, employee management, and more. Readers familiar with the nonprofit sector will find many well-known business theories here, ranging from logic models like the driver diagram to Armijo’s own “Wow Model of Clarity” for fine tuning organizational missions, and Armijo employs effective analogies from both history and contemporary culture to deepen the learning.

Regardless of readers’ experience in the nonprofit world, Armijo’s guidance is timeless, offering an inside view into the constant tension between mission and money that plagues the business. He emphasizes the idea that “nonprofit is a tax designation, not a business model,” urging nonprofit leaders to always keep their business strategy at the forefront of every decision. “You want to develop the business in order to grow its impact and improve its financial health over the long run,” he writes, and the myriad pointers, pitfalls to avoid, and operational guidance contained in The Nonprofit Dilemma will help readers do just that.

Takeaway: Valuable guidance for any role in the nonprofit sector.

Comparable Titles: Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant’s Forces for Good, Dan Pallotta’s Charity Case.

[BookLife Reviews]

…a must-read for anyone passionate about making a positive difference through non-profits…

The Nonprofit Dilemma by DC Armijo is an informative and insightful book that provides a comprehensive perspective on the challenges faced by leaders in the non-profit sector. It is a must-read for anyone passionate about making a positive difference through non-profits, from future leaders to current executives and managers, trustees (board members), and funders. It offers valuable guidance on how to effectively deliver mission impact and ensure sustainability. Leaders will learn to handle unpredictable funds, be accountable, invest for the future, and strategically plan for improvement. In addition to these topics, the book also covers the importance of adaptability, communication, and relationship building. It provides practical advice on how to promote the organization and its purpose, build an inclusive and diverse team, and collaborate with people and groups that share your goals and values.

The Nonprofit Dilemma is a unique guide that many people in non-profit organizations will benefit from reading. It is well-organized and easy to understand, with a conversational tone and examples that readers will find relatable. DC Armijo’s passionate and honest writing style will resonate with readers and effectively deliver the lessons. There are helpful graphs and tables, specific sections for different leadership roles, and concise summaries at the end of each chapter to enhance the overall understanding and retention of the lessons presented. The book also emphasizes the importance of measuring impact the right way and human resource management, which are often neglected aspects of non-profit leadership. The call to action at the end of the book encourages leaders to lead with love and efficiency and be brave in their mission to make the world a better place. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for inspiration and guidance on their leadership journey. [Readers’ Favorite Reviews]

Excellent book!

The Nonprofit Dilemma by DC Armijo is a comprehensive guide that provides effective solutions for leaders in the non-profit industry. Unlike for-profit organizations, non-profit ones face unique and complex challenges such as limited resources, lack of accountability and diversity, complicated power structures, and influences. The author emphasizes the importance of qualities such as passion, patience, effectiveness, and decisiveness in addressing these issues to ensure the organization’s mission is advanced, and its sustainability guaranteed. Readers will learn how to handle collaborations, build effective teams, and manage human and material resources. The book also offers valuable insights and guidance on strategic planning, adaptability, and communication, serving as a valuable resource for both current and aspiring leaders in the non-profit sector.

I enjoyed reading The Nonprofit Dilemma because it offers practical solutions for leaders in the non-profit sector. The inclusion of examples for different stakeholders, such as upcoming leaders, current executives and managers, and trustees at the end of each chapter, is a valuable feature that can help readers apply the insights and strategies discussed. DC Armijo’s unique approach of incorporating personal experiences into the writing provides readers with a genuine and relatable perspective on the challenges faced by organizations. Additionally, the use of graphs, tables, and charts enhances the readability and understanding of complex concepts, adding value to the work. Overall, the author’s writing style is both informative and engaging, making the content insightful and accessible. This is a must-read for anyone in the non-profit industry or anyone who wishes to join one to help make a difference in the world. [Readers’ Favorite Reviews]

…an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to maximize their organization’s impact…

The Nonprofit Dilemma: Insights & Strategies for Purpose-Driven Leaders is a work of non-fiction in the business, advice, and motivational writing subgenres. It is intended for the general adult reading audience. Penned by author DC Armijo, this engaging book delves into the complex challenges faced by nonprofit leaders, who often confront the dilemma of prioritizing between advancing their organization’s impact and ensuring its financial sustainability. The work explores the underlying reasons behind the intricacies of nonprofit management, offering insights and strategies to help leaders navigate these choices effectively, thereby becoming exceptional stewards of their organizations.

Author DC Armijo offers original insights and insider information that provide an illuminating experience and invaluable guidance for navigating the complexities of leading purpose-driven organizations. Confidence and clarity in Armijo’s writing style let you dive right in and start engaging with the text. I appreciated the back-to-basics approach that avoids too much jargon and allows readers at any level to access and get involved with the theories and content. The book’s practical strategies and actionable advice, ranging from developing effective strategies to fostering purpose-driven teams and enhancing impact measurement, prove immensely helpful in addressing common leadership dilemmas. Whether grappling with governance issues, fundraising challenges, or strategic planning, this book offers a comprehensive toolkit for nonprofit leaders at every level. Overall, The Nonprofit Dilemma is an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to maximize their organization’s impact while upholding its values and ensuring long-term sustainability in an ever-changing landscape. I would not hesitate to recommend it. [Readers’ Favorite Reviews]


I absolutely adore the title DC Armijo selected for this book. The word “dilemma” is so freeing. It allows us to be transparent with the truth that nonprofit organizations are fraught with perplexing situations and hard choices. Amazingly, at the same time, DC takes us on a journey of learning and skill-building that leaves us thinking, “I can do this.” I could have really used this book a decade ago when I first entered the nonprofit space as a senior leader. Before that, I spent my career in governmental spaces: local government, state government, and public universities, which are quasi-governmental. While government and nonprofits strive to benefit the public, governmental spaces are distinct in that they are much more hierarchical, more regulated, and, in many ways, more political. The rules are ever-present, and the cultures are inarguably different from those desired in nonprofits. In these governmental spaces, I first learned how to lead. And many of those skills did not easily transfer to the nonprofit space.

I have a clear memory of sitting in my new office that had been refreshed to my liking (they had let me choose my own carpet, wallpaper, and furniture! No standard issue gray filing cabinets? I was definitely not in Kansas anymore). I sat idly, resisting the temptation to twiddle my thumbs or drum my fingers, as I wrestled with the thought, “What exactly is my job?!” The Nonprofit Dilemma guides leaders at various stages of leadership on a journeyed response to that very question.

Nonprofit organizations are vital to addressing community needs, promoting civic engagement, and advancing social justice. However, nonprofit leaders face complex and interrelated challenges due to limited resources, accountability pressures, diversity gaps, and power dynamics. How can nonprofit leaders navigate these challenges while leading with equity, integrity, and effectiveness? The book you are holding offers new insights into these challenges and the dilemmas we leaders seek to untangle.

Leadership, especially in the nonprofit space, is about people, purpose, power, and passion. As a relationship-driven leader, I have found that success in any nonprofit rests on the foundation of its people. Those people are inspired by a connection to the organization’s purpose. Centering purpose and building purpose-driven teams have been essential to my career success. Power for good and power for ill both exist inside organizations. Effective leadership requires understanding and accepting both the affirming and problematic roles that power plays in your organization. Lastly, passion is the fuel that keeps leaders moving forward. On my most weary days, my passion for the purpose of my nonprofit keeps me going. Just as it is easy to embrace someone for whom we feel passion, we must embrace our roles and organizations to lead successfully.

With a fresh take on nonprofit leadership, The Nonprofit Dilemma provides actionable advice for anyone looking to improve their leadership game. It explores many people, purpose, power, and passion topics; and provides a practical framework for effective leadership. As an equity leader, I also believe it is subtly and directly grounded in the principles of equity, inclusion, and social change; values that I hold dear.

Whether you are a new or experienced nonprofit leader, this book will expand your leadership skills, enhance your organizational effectiveness, and advance your social impact. The Nonprofit Dilemma is more than just a book; it is a call to action. In this regard, DC is a kindred spirit seeking to catalyze change. This book affirms our shared desires and values. Interestingly, these are only strengthened across our differences; differences in our careers, genders, races/ethnicities, and cultures—the beautiful tapestry of who we are and what each of us brings to our perspective on leadership.

DC and I invite you to join this community of practice—a movement of leaders committed to creating a more equitable and just world. I hope this book inspires you, challenges you, and supports you on your leadership journey.