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Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World Paperback – Bargain Price, November 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the generosity of everyday Americans in the aftermath of 2004's tsunami, Smith, a longtime fund-raiser for nonprofits, winnows through the muddle of hyperbolic language found in fund-raising letters to explain how even the smallest, seemingly insignificant gifts to charitable organizations can make huge differences. Sobering statistics address the four critical issues of hunger, health, education and access to tools, technology and infrastructure as Smith explains how forgoing an inexpensive luxury just once a week—and donating the corresponding few dollars—can fix a bridge, feed a child or bring clean water to a family, possibly redirecting lives in an entire Third World village or U.S. city. Cultural mythology says that pocket change doesn't make poverty change, but Smith's research proves otherwise: small donations make a difference around the world and at home, and giving is psychologically beneficial to donors. This book occasionally devolves into maudlin appeals, but it is redeemed by its positive premise and practical approach. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wendy Smith has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years in direct services, program administration, development, consulting and board membership; she is a Certified Fundraising Professional. She also has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in marketing. To write Give a Little and pursue its promotion and mission , she has taken an indefinite leave from her job as the Director of Foundation and Government Relations at Building with Books, an international organization that constructs schools in developing countries and runs youth development programs in the US.
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During the initial part of the book, Smith explains how a large portion of charitable giving is actually made by Americans in small amounts, such as $10 or $20. For instance, after the 2004 tsunami, 45 percent of the total given (or $2.78 billion) for tsunami efforts was provided by ordinary Americans. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett may get more publicity for donating large amounts, but, in total, but the bulk of charitable efforts are made by regular people.
The main part of the book, however, offers a fascinating look at organizations, often little-known ones, and all the good works they do, along with information about what a small donation can do. I've never heard of such groups as World Bicycle Relief or Potters for Peace (and dozens of others) but they save lives every day.
It's said that charitable giving offers health benefits to the person doing the giving. I think it's possible that reading about good works and places to perhaps donate a small amount might do the same. Excellent book that gave me a lot of new ideas for worthwhile charities.
GIVE A LITTLE by Wendy Smith is a game-changer for me. Not only does Ms. Smith debunk the myth that the Bill Gates' of the world are the major donors -- they're not. Every day American families provide almost two-thirds of all donations to charity and those donations are less than $250.00. While there are so many 'good causes' out there, Ms. Smith makes a convincing case that our first dollars should go to ending poverty. Several years ago in Sports Illustrated, Rick Reilly wrote that ten dollars bought a mosquito net and prevented a child from malaria in Africa. Ms. Smith takes this several steps further and shows that saving one child creates a ripple effect that impacts postively not only the child and his or her family, but an entire community. Done often enough the effect can be exponential. In her book, she clearly outlines the causes of poverty and shows how we -- every day ma and pa citizens -- can transform the world thru small donations to dozens of organizations that provide goods as mundane as mosquito nets, water pumps, water filters whose impact ripple.
I challenge you to read GIVE A LITTLE and not come away with a new mindset about your charitable giving. And... not be inspired to give small donations to many of the worthy organizations profiled in her book.
A MUST READ highly recommended by a former cynic.