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Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results Paperback – April 3, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


Jim Collins

Give Smart is a great gift to the world. By asking questions—the right questions—Tierney and Fleishman guide, advise, challenge, and, as with all great teachers, push us to find our own best answers. If you want your philanthropy to be useful—changing lives, solving intractable problems, making society work better—then engage deeply with this book!”


Melinda Gates

“One of the most exciting and important parts of my job as a philanthropist is learning. Over the years, Bill and I have learned so much from the authors of this book, and we are thrilled to see that wisdom collected in Give Smart so that everybody can benefit from it the way we have.”
 
Helene Gayle

“Having been on ‘both sides of the check,’ first working in philanthropy and now as a recipient of philanthropic dollars, I found Give Smart a must read. The relationship between grantmakers and nonprofit organizations is a delicate dance, one that—when done well—can achieve incredible social good. Not only does this book provide a practical guide for those who want to achieve high impact philanthropy, it also helps nonprofits understand the aspirations and expectations of the donor. Don’t begin, or continue, your philanthropy without reading it.”
 
Paul Brest

“Giving away money is easy, but making a real difference is hard work. Give Smart addresses these challenges head-on and provides a strong analytic framework and practical advice for effective philanthropy—replete with compelling examples. Written by two leaders in the field, this is a must-read for the new philanthropist and a valuable resource for old hands as well.”
 
John C. Whitehead

Give Smart is must reading for all philanthropists, large or small. It’s written by two people with long experience, and it will make your gifts go farther.”

Pierre Omidyar

“As Pam and I continue to learn through our own giving, the challenges in creating positive social impact are many and complex. Give Smart provides thoughtful guidance on how to build an effective and personal approach to philanthropy, illustrated through real-world examples, proven methodologies, and insightful commentary. We highly recommend Give Smart to anyone who wants to make a difference, whether in their local community or around the world.”


Publishers Weekly, March 21, 2011
“An interesting and well-considered guide to go to before you give.”

PhilanthropyRoundtable.org,  March 31, 2011

“A superb guide for donors who want to be as smart in their giving as they have been in business.”



Alliance Magazine, June 2011
“A very readable, motivating introductory guide to engaged giving…. With its storytelling approach this will be a book that many donors will read.”



About the Author

Thomas J. Tierney is the cofounder and chairman of The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit advisor to the nonprofit sector and its donors.
Joel L. Fleishman is professor of law and public policy at Duke University and author of The Foundation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610391462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391467
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So much how-to advice is common sense, and yes, much of that in Give Smart is no exception. But I've read three books on the topic, most recently the unfortunate Giving 2.0, which is pretty puerile, and I find Give Smart to be the best of the bunch. Yes, it tells you the obvious: align your values with your donations, have open and honest communication with grantees, and so on, but because the book is borne of considerable experience and cites example after example, there's enough nuance spread through the book to justify the time to read, at least sections of it.

For example, grantors should not impose undue reporting requirements on the grantee. Sure, you want to know you're getting value received for your largesse but so often, accountability beyond a modest amount, hurts the organization and its efforts more than it assures you're getting bang for the buck.

The book stresses that you need to restrain excessive desire for micromanaging--you're not the program director, you are the funder and perhaps occasional advisor. The book urges that you put the time in, up front to find the right organization, and then try to keep your involvement modest. You need evaluate not just compatibility of the organization's mission with your values but, just as a venture capitalist might, carefully evaluate the quality of its leadership, its track record of results, and the sense that you'll trust the competence and integrity of their leaders, and yes, enjoy working with them: Donors have the right to derive some pleasure not only from the outcome of their donation but from the process, their involvement with the grantees.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book gives good advice but much of it applies mostly to mega-donors; those who need a family office or will employ staff to administer their charitable funds.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On average, philanthropy is ... well ... average. The current state of philanthropy is that it overhypes and underperforms. Market forces do not come into play, and the power imbalance between donors who have money and nonprofits who seek it can have a chilling effect on real time and useful feedback. Give Smart looks at what it takes to utterly transform this. Outstanding donors demand excellence of themselves and do not settle for mediocre results. They develop true and open partnerships with grantees and are not afraid of failure. They are clear about their values and beliefs and realistic about what they hope to accomplish. They have gone through the process of thoughtfully defining success and have a plan to achieve it. Most tellingly, donors who "give smart" continuously ask "Am I getting better?" and consciously learn to improve over time. Give Smart is a breadth of fresh air, challenging all philanthropists to rethink what they do and how they do it in order to get results.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for anyone who aspires to be a philanthropist. I've been volunteering with organizations and individuals and everything in between including non-profit and for-profit for 14 years. Some of my most intense experiences is my time in Thailand from 2003-2008 where just about everybody could use your support in one form or another - it's life in a developing country. After coming back to the states (and a 3 month stint in Japan just prior) - this book really helped me sort out what I've been doing over the past 7 years - designing a system and acquiring frameworks to create focus the next time I return to Thailand. The book is really good at introducing some basic "inquiries," questions to think about as to where you wish to focus your time and energy. I went into book knowing other reviewers expressed their opinions on how this book is targeted for wealthy individuals and I agree and disagree. I was glad the book takes into account that your time and money aren't the only things you give away. the 3rd thing is your influence - what you do with your network. This very aspect began to speak to some of the challenges I run into - there are so many causes and just when you pick one - you'll find an infinite # of ways to break that one down! I got burnt out in the process. So after about 3 years of work running with the Business Model You to both clarify my own values, I've discovered it's been a great building block - a means to get straight about what others value without getting into a super lengthy conversation as life on the edge is always shifting on a moment to moment basis. Take this kind of development work into this book and you have a very strong foundation.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This book discusses six (6) principles on creating, establishing and monitoring a foundation. If you are another Bill Gates and you want to establish a foundation, then, this book is for you. Or, if you work for a non-profit, this book may be helpful. This book is NOT a general instruction on how to give smartly for 99.99% of our populaiton. This is a book about creating effective foundations.
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Format: Hardcover
Targeted philanthropy is the most effective way to change the direction of our nation and the world to resolve some issues that government can't effectively deal with.

Many of my friends have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place in which to live,including those need special help...but not from some government agency.

Greed capital formation is short lived and leaves those who have accumulated a big estate feeling empty toward the end of their lives.

Enlightened, targeted and monitored philanthropy creates a legacy that is enriching for those with more than enough capital for their own needs.

The challenge is how to create a plan, then implement and control it so that it achieves the results intended.

Tom Tierney was the World Wide Managing Partner of one of the largest consulting firms in the world. He has now built another world class organization to help non profits become more successful. His new book provides a road map for those who are, or want to become more philanthropic.

Enlightened philanthropy was one of the common denominators of the Wise Men I wrote about in my last book.

They all created their own significant estate and were dedicated to sharing their good fortune with others...not just those lucky enough to be their children or grandchildren!

Most of our clients who have built successful companies also had this vital attribute. They also shared ownership of their companies and their companies prospered as a result...which allowed additional philanthropic programs.

Dickson C. Buxton,
Author
"You've Built a Successful Company, Now What" and "Lessons in Leadership & Life "Secrets of Eleven Wise Men"
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