Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World describes the power of affordable donations to help eliminate extreme poverty in developing countries around the world and generational poverty in the US.
The book illustrates how everyday citizens, not foundations, corporations or celebrities are responsible for 75% of all charitable giving every year and that their giving results in staggering sums - $227 billion in 2009.
It also describes the magnitude of poverty, its root causes, and nonprofits that are effectively using small donations to eliminate those causes. Give a Little empowers the most generous philanthropists of our time – everyday American citizens.
From the book:
"We gave what we could and a little became a lot."
Following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2005, which resulted in the deaths of 230,000 people and devastation across 12 countries in south Asia, everyday Americans demonstrated their generosity and the power of their giving. By January 2009, governments and civil society around the world had contributed a total of $6.2 billion had been contributed to relief and recovery efforts.
Half of that aid came from affordable donations made by everyday American households.
According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University: “Despite the highly publicized million-dollar gifts from corporations and celebrities, most of the giving to the tsunami relief efforts came from gifts of less than $50 made by millions of Americans across the country,” said Patrick M. Rooney, director of research for the Center on Philanthropy.
Give a Little shows how each of us can afford to transform the lives of folks halfway across the world or in our own communities by using our affordable donations to support nonprofits that
treat and control the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
ease asthma so children can go to school
help mothers give birth to healthy babies and survive their deliveries
get irrigation pumps to millions of subsistence farmers and help them create commercial enterprises
give families goats, or bees, or llamas that make them micro-entrepreneurs
provide clean drinking water that is accessible, safe, and affordable
What Others are Saying
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.
“I have never read a book which provides such a clear and compelling presentation of the web of factors that contribute to pervasive and debilitating poverty, and which simultaneously summarizes a wide spectrum of interventions that are highly cost-effective, and have compounding ripple-on effects to alleviate that same dehumanizing poverty.”
Paul Barker, Country Director CARE Tanzania
“This splendid book is the first to look deeply at the ways in which even the smallest donations can changes lives in the biggest ways.”
Stephen G. Post , Ph.D. Co-author of "Why Good Things Happen to Good People" Professor of Preventive Medicine , Head of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics Stonybrook University
“A great read which will move you toward a deeper commitment to engage in meaningful actions that make a difference in this world.”
Jo Luck President, CEO Heifer International
“In an increasingly complex world, deciding how to help others can be daunting. Wendy Smith’s Give a Little is the answer.”
Barbara T. Bowman Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development Erikson Institute Chief Early Childhood Education Officer Chicago Public Schools
“I am going to recommend this book to everyone who asks me what they can do. The answer: A lot – and with just pennies.
Deborah Rodriguez, author of "The Kabul Beauty School"
"[A] highly readable guide to giving for individuals seeking to invest a small portion of their income in philanthropic institutions....Recommend this valuable resource to those who feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of people in need and don't know where to begin."