Top Ten Books About Charity and Giving Back

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When it comes to charity and fundraising activities, challenges and obstacles often get in the way. Planned giving may fall short when economic downturns occur, or unexpected circumstances may prevent following through on a commitment. This leaves many of us looking for better ways to give back, whether it’s a specific strategy or new source of inspiration. Such inspirations and supports are important to help us stay the course. And seeking out the best books about charity and fundraising can often help in this regard. By reading about others’ experiences and insights, we too can become better motivated to give back. With this in mind, the following are among the top ten books about charity, fundraising and giving back. Adding these to your library may be just the thing if you’re looking for better ways to give back.

  1. HumanKind by Brad Aronson

Influenced by the author’s personal experiences when his wife went through treatment for leukemia, this is a tremendous book about charity. After witnessing so many friends and family members offer such kindness, Aronson sought out some of the most inspirational to inspire others. Through these examples, he shows us better ways to give back in a daily basis. Plus, the book has an excellent resource section to help us get started. Proceeds of the book also go to the Big Brother, Big Sister foundation.

  1. The Billionaire Who Wasn’t by Conor O’Clery

Chuck Feeney was once listed by Forbes as the 23rd richest person in the world. As cofounder of Duty Free Shopper, a large international retailer, he might have been. But secretly, he transferred all his wealth over time to his Atlantic Philanthropies. O’Clery describes how his humble blue-collar beginnings, surviving the Depression, fueled his passions to find better ways to give back privately. If you’re looking for a role model, this book about charity may be perfect.

  1. Generation Impact by Sharna Goldseker and Michael Moody

Combined, the Gen Xers and Millennials will soon not only make up the majority of the workforce. They’ll also be the most philanthropic generations ever known. (Read more about how Millennials are the most philanthropic generation in this Project Bold Life story.) Goldseker and Moody describe how these generations are finding better ways to give back in unconventional ways. Plus, they also provide insights about how to better engage these generations in fundraising efforts as well.

  1. Personalized Philanthropy by Steven L. Meyers

Charities routinely attempt to provide individuals with better ways to give back as part of their mission. But all too often, general strategies are used that encourages planned giving instead of a more personalized approach. In this book about charity, Meyers describes the importance of aligning efforts with donors’ needs that help them find a personal purpose. Guided questions are provided that help us determine why we want to give back and our overall intentions. For fundraisers and donors alike, this book about charity is quite enlightening.

  1. The Giving Way to Happiness by Jenny Santi

If you’re looking for sources of inspiration, this book about charity provides a number of powerful stories about giving back. Actress Goldie Hawn and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mohammad Yunus are among those included. Through these depictions, Santi shows readers how giving back inherently creates joy and purpose in life. And with the book also including research and statistics, it shows how better ways to give back can be quite powerful.

  1. Getting to Giving by Howard L. Stevenson and Shirley M. Spence

One of the better ways to give back might be through entrepreneurial strategies. Howard L. Stevenson, a serial fundraiser, donor, and motivational entrepreneur certainly believes so. In this book about charity, he and Spence detail a number of practice techniques used by entrepreneurs. They describe how these can help overcome many of the challenges related to giving back. Combined with a compelling message, they succeed in supplying readers with great motivation and approaches to give back.

  1. Iceberg Philanthropy by Fraser Green

This book about charity takes a planned giving approach to fundraising to encourage ordinary donors to be extraordinary. Using a specific gift strategy along with direct marketing techniques, fundraisers can better engage others to give. In doing so, they become able to see more than just the iceberg on the surface and the potential beneath. Though more for fundraisers, this book also offers insights for anyone interested in giving back.

  1. Diversity and Philanthropy by Lilya Wagner

Though planned giving is often one of the better ways to give back, often one size does not fit all. In this book about charity, Wagner drives this point home by showing how diversity can prevent planned giving success. Instead, she discusses how different approaches that consider several factors can be more effective giving strategy can be embraced. Using her 25 years of experience as well as research data, she readily backs up this claim in this book.

  1. Doing Good Better by William MacAskill

There’s no question that choosing where to donate your time or resources can be difficult. As MacAskill points out in this book on charity, emotions and gut instincts often drive these choices. But in order to do good better, he encourages a more effective way to altruism. This includes asking specific questions, using evidence, identifying biases, and taking a logical approach. These provide better ways to give back that are often more productive and satisfying.

  1. Reinventing Philanthropy by Eric Friedman

If you’re looking for a book about charity that makes you feel good, this probably isn’t it. But if you’re truly looking for better ways to give back, the questions posed in this book may be what you need. Friedman recognizing the difficulties in choosing a charity while keeping health boundaries. The question is, which charity is best? This book takes a non-nonsense look at making choices about giving back. And through critical analysis of the moral and practical dilemmas often faced, Friedman shows how this can be helpful.

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