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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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Top Customer Reviews
First, the quality level is high ( it reminded me most of a narrowly focused Malcolm Gladwell book). Give a Little was refashioned from a more academic study with plenty of statistical data into a very readable book for a popular audience. The sense of depth carries through.
Secondly, though I'm certain that the author, Wendy Smith, who spent twenty years in the public/NGO sector wasn't thinking in these terms, the principles behind the humanitarian programs she examines also have the potential to revolutionize foreign aid and economic development policies, breathe life into the "civilian side" of counterinsurgency, focus humanitarian aid, enhance public diplomacy and speed postwar/postcatastrophe reconstruction.
Smith's chapters delve into a variety of the most successful , and at times least well known, programs that have two things in common: first, they are directed at permanently improving the "human capital" or "social capital" of the recipients rather than sustaining a subsistence existence. Secondly, the programs all manage an enormous ROI for every donation due to generating powerful, downstream, "ripple effect" benefits. Cents given today translate into tens or hundreds of dollars of positive outcomes gained and negative costs avoided tomorrow
There are many worthy organizations profiled ( ex. Ounce of Prevention, Bridges to Prosperity etc.) and Smith offers the readers anecdotes that are deeply positive and uplifting narratives of individuals, families and communities transformed by the power of small donations designed to empower the people of the "bottom billion".
A valuable book.
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.
My critique is that it is very one-sided and unbalanced, with very rosy glasses examining what is increasingly a marketing machine.
1) Most of programs described are initiated by westerners in developing countries.
2) Most of the programs here have extremely simple interventions (buy someone a goat) and reports extraordinary outcomes (a family out of poverty, forever) through second hand, third hand ... carefully selected and re-calibrated stories. It is not clear that the author had visited any of the places and actually interviewed the people in the stories. It appeared more likely that the author read the project's literature and perhaps interviewed its western executive directors/leadership. For most of the "give us $xxx and we will get a family a goat" ... please know that it is not that simple. The xxx amount never, never goes to the family as is. And the actual % that went to a family, versus the vague "program expense" category, is rarely disclosed.
3) The book avoids any critical examination of the charitable industry, despite the fact that in recent years much valid critique have surfaced.
4) The books advocates, even in the preface, that "remote help" with pocket change is what's needed. Author wrote, "I used to think ... that I had to be hands-on to get the job done. I was naive." This is consistent with the author's advocacy for people to give, and that's admirable. But it is a very western assumption that one can help without ever really having to know, understand, appreciate, and respect the people they are helping.
Still, I applaud the author's intention, research, and advocacy for giving.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This wonderful book shows how a small donation to the right organization can make a world of difference in bringing clean water, health benefits, or other lifesaving measures both... Read morePublished on September 10, 2013 by lindapanzo
Wendy Smiths' information is very helpful in deciding how to and where to donate what little amounts I have to give. Read morePublished on June 9, 2013 by jan driscoll
Very insightful and encouraging to the individual donor. Puts small donations into context to reveal a much greater impact on the bottom line than one would expect.Published on January 4, 2013 by Kathy Ross
Cannot recommend this book highly enough. Author Wendy Smith comes from the nonprofit world and has done tons of research on how our small donations can literally change the world,... Read morePublished on February 7, 2011 by Sally Foster
Book is packed with stories about how small donations turned out to be very large in total. However, very little in the way of direction for you helping out in a similar... Read morePublished on September 28, 2010 by Norwell105
Give A Little: How Your Small donations can transform our world is an insightful and interesting look into the world of donations and the difference they can make in this world. Read morePublished on July 21, 2010 by Esme
This book is a must read if you are soul searching for a way to make a difference in the world. It gives you many ideas on how small, what seem to be insignificant donations(to... Read morePublished on April 1, 2010 by Kindle Customer
Recently I have become very interested in showing my students the power of one person. Too often we are motivated to do something, but are discouraged by the size of the issue and... Read morePublished on March 17, 2010 by H. A. Taylor
What an excellent concept for a book...and what an annoying piece of WRITING. I started stumbling right on the FIRST page. Why? The author's CHRONIC OVERuse of ITALICS. Read morePublished on March 11, 2010 by Zora Divine