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by Rachel Hutchisson, Business Doing Good & Blackbaud, Inc.

It’s mid-July, and I’m beginning to panic that I won’t get to everything on my summer reading list. 

Although the pace might have gotten a lot slower for my kids, who are relishing their break from the daily homework grind, I find myself taking on just as much — or maybe even more — as I usually do.  I’m not complaining.  Having a lot to do when it’s all positive, productive, interesting work is a blessing.  I definitely don’t take that for granted. 

But I do like that concept of summer reading, harkening back to my own days in school when my mother would take us to the library to enter the summer reading program.  We’d get stacks of books and lose ourselves in them on rainy days or during long car trips to someplace much wamer than Western Pennsylvania.  That idea of a long stretch of open time ahead of you — and lots of things to read — is still compelling.  So even though vacation now comes in the form of weeks and not months, I still get excited about that idea that it’s a time to create your list and dive in.

Then I find myself mid-July and worried I won’t get to everything.  And you know what?  I’ve decided that’s ok.  Maybe that’s the point where I need to give myself a proverbial break and admit that it might take until the end of the year to crack open each title.  Maybe it’s time for another kind of reading that’s equally fulfilling but not as much of a commitment. Maybe it’s time, my friends, for some really good magazines.

I’ve always been a fan of fiction, with my love of a good narrative often beating out biographies or business titles for the majority of my attention.  Maybe that’s why I find magazines so compelling, getting that dose of non-fiction, of real world news, of stories of another sort in a shorter form.  Whatever the reason, a few magazines in particular have worked their way into my must-read list.  I wanted to share them with you because, if you’re at a business that’s doing good, I think you’ll find ample inspiration in these pages:

Conscious Company: The Future of Business as Usual - a really nice publication that focuses on “a company’s ability to have a positive effect on society and the environment, in addition to making money.”  The magazine profiles companies, covers key topics of interest to those in “good” business, and celebrates the people behind this positive work. 

GOOD: A Quarterly Journal for the Global Citizen — this magazine is just plain fun.  And it has good content.  The photography is unique and compelling, and the content takes into account the importance of design as much it does the copy.  The stories are both local and global and convey a message that’s all about being a human in the context of a changing world that could use some help.

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) – while I hate to offend any other publication, I find SSIR to be just plain smart.  Not academic, mind you.  Just smart.  I truly value how it covers social innovation overall and how individuals, companies, nonprofits, the public sector and so on all work to drive change – on their own and together.  It’s a magazine for people interested in the advancement of a healthy civil society.

So, if you want or need to take a break from that book list that’s maybe too much to finish right now or you simply want to dip into something different, try these out.  It’ll be well worth your time.

Rachel Hutchisson (@RachelHutchssn) is VP, Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy at Blackbaud, Inc., a 2,700-person technology company that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations. She built the company’s “give back” function from the ground up, relying on expertise she gained in over two decades of working at the intersection of the business world and the nonprofit sector. Rachel is a member of the #GivingTuesday core advisory team, leads her company’s involvement in the Billion+Change pro-bono initiative, and serves on the boards of the Association of Fundraising Professionals International, The Giving Institute, and the Coastal Community Foundation. She is also a member of the core team that launched TEDxCharleston in 2013. She is a graduate of Dickinson College and received a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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