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Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient, and Rewarding for All Hardcover – February 17, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this impassioned plea for change that, at the same time, needs a bit more structure and logic to make a larger impact, Washington, D.C., nonprofit executive Egger tells his story, from nightclub manager to head of a much-emulated charity, and relays his rules of the road for success. The only issue is that the metaphors and tales obscure his major points; he holds up Pallotta TeamWorks, its AIDS and breast cancer events, as an example of a clearly self-serving organization--but doesn't link it tightly to his dictate: serve the cause first and the rest will follow. On the other hand, details about the philanthropic world are compelling, such as the multimillion-dollar building campaigns that weren't. Or the grand opening of Egger's "soup kitchen," timed to pick up leftovers from the first Bush inaugural in 1989. He redeems himself, in part, by listing Robert's Rules for Nonprofits--for executives, for volunteers and donors, and for corporations. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Robert Egger is the president and founder of the D.C. Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C. He travels extensively, promoting nonprofit innovation to everyone, from Fortune 500 companies and business schools to college campuses and culinary institutes. The Kitchen was named one of President Bush Sr.'s Thousand Points of Light, and has been featured on Oprah, Nightline, and 48 Hours as well as in the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. In 2002, he volunteered to serve as interim director of the United Way National Capital Area to reorganize its struggling executive leadership. He is the recipient of the Oprah "Angel" award, the Bender Prize, and a Caring Award. Robert Egger lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition edition (February 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060541717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060541712
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mr. Egger disputes the convention wisdom about why people should make charitable gifts and how those gifts should be used by the recipient organizations. As an attorney who represents non-profit boards and individuals contemplating major charitable donations, I have given Robert Egger's book "Begging for Change" to both groups of clients. The universal response has been extremely positive. Mr. Egger not only encourages donors to think through the goals and directions of their largesse but also challenges non-profit executives to use their creativity and a systems approach to improve the delivery and multiplier effect of their charitable services. Too often donors just write a check to feel good and non-profit executives do the "same old, same old" with no effect. Random acts of kindness are good, but reasoned giving coupled with creativity and a systems approach are better.
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Format: Hardcover
Eighty-four Americans volunteer with a charity, and $200 billion is contributed every year. "Begging for Change" summarizes Robert Egger looking back on his experiences (first running successful night clubs, then a non-profit kitchen and training program) and offering his critique of the $800 billion non-profit world in general.

A key Egger point is that non-profits need to ask: "Are you perpetuating a cycle of need and dependency?" Today charity is governed by innumerable individuals and their egos, many of which are "business-as-usual" career do-gooders who've never run their own company. Many duplicate each others' services and fight each other for funding. They talk of how many were fed or sheltered, but not about how many got out of dependency.

There now are more than 1.5 million non-profits, and their latest evolution is to "realize" that they have to pay those at the top well to attract good people. Thus, in D.C. there are about 25,000 non-profits, requiring over $1.5 billion just for CEO and executive director salaries! Yet, over 70% have revenues less than $500,000/year, and neither government nor Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" act to make those that are ineffective go away. Many should.

In addition, there is the needless complexity added by multiple funding sources and their frequent "strings." One non-profit gets its $20 million from 161 sources - think of all the attention required to mind all those masters!

Egger started a training program for cooks, food-handlers, and servers - thus, both offering them a "hand-up" (instead of just a "hand-out") and substantially reducing the need for full-time assistants.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Egger is the president and founder of D.C. Central Kitchen and the author of Begging For Change. The D.C. Central Kitchen is a non-profit that he started in 1989 and is held in high esteem in the non-profit sector and the war against hunger. Egger’s main contentions in the book look at the need for change in the non-profit world, effective leadership, being resourceful, and doing what is right instead of what is good. It is a bold and brutally honest look at the non-profit sector of America and how it is harming those in need instead of encouraging self-sufficiency. Egger encourages non-profits of today to stop chasing the money and start chasing their missions. A common saying that non-profits use today is that we do not need to reinvent the wheel, but in this book Egger is saying it is time to smash the wheel and invent something new and great. He thinks its time to move away from interventions that non-profits have used over the past 100 years and do something fresh. By changing the equation to solving the problem instead of looking for answers that aren't there or aren't working can be a place to start. Begging For Change is not meant to be a game plan for change in of itself, but to get conversation started and allow change to begin.

Robert Egger uses this book to highlight his experience of coming from managing nightclubs to owning a successful non-profit. He takes the reader through the history of non-profits and philanthropy in America and calls attention to the need of Americans to stop doing things the same way and expecting different results. The sources that Egger uses are his experience and observations of other successful and unsuccessful non-profits to point out his main themes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is worth it's weight for pages 177-184 where Egger puts forth his rules for a) Nonprofits; b) Businesses; and c) Volunteers and Donors. In a moment of awakening, Egger started asking questions of why, what, and how relative to hunger, food, and distribution in the DC area. Through the telling of his story, I was challenged to question the same o same o approaches to service, volunteerism, and the overall effectiveness of nonprofits in my community. Egger challenged me to consider the efficacy and cost effectiveness of nonprofit services....are we really having the effect and demonstrating the prudency that we think?

This book would be of interest to nonprofit leaders, volunteers, donors, the business community, those with a bent toward social innovation, and those interested in services related to feeding and food distribution.
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