Washington Area Women's Foundation

Philanthropy book picks for your reading pleasure…

As Britton said, “Lisa, do you know that you just used the phrase ‘blogging buddy’ and ‘blogging carnival’ in one e-mail?  What is that?  You’re killing me over here.”

Few occasions call for such e-festivity but a Tactical Philanthropy blogging carnival—and one that The Women’s Foundation can participate in together no less. 
Because everyone likes a carnival, right?

So, in response to Sean’s request on Tactical Philanthropy for “philanthropy book recommendations relevant to donors or to people who care about the field of philanthropy,” the women of Washington Area Women’s Foundation have proposed the following tomes for your consideration:

Siobhán says The Giving Family by Susan Crites Price has “some easy, everyday ways to integrate the lesson of giving that includes family giving, volunteering and service, school, community building and creating a legacy.

She also recommends Inspired Philanthropy: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan by Tracy Gary and Melissa Kohner. “Love this book,” she says. “An excellent workbook for anyone interested in becoming more strategic and engaged in their personal giving.”  

Sherell recommends The Prophet, by Kahil Gibran, saying that, "It provides a timeless explanation on how giving is an integral part of life and the human expression of love.  One can understand how giving for the sake of giving, and not with the expectation of something in return, is how we bond with and understand others, and learn more about ourselves.

Nisha just heard about a new book, The Foundation: A Great American Secret by Joel Fleishman, which she says, "Sounds like a worthwhile read for those of us working in philanthropy, with information about the historical context of foundations, as well as questions to consider in improving the way foundations operate at present and in the future."

And one of my favorites is The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, not necessarily because it focuses on philanthropy but because its ideas about how good and bad ideas catch on and either grow or die is so informative in terms of why certain social movements and behaviors—many of which are relevant to philanthropy and fundraising—last and some don’t.
From an international perspective, I’ve also found Do No Harm: How Aid Can Support Peace by Mary B. Anderson and Condemned to Repeat: The Paradox of Humanitarian Action by Fiona Terry to be eye-opening in terms of the notion of how good intentions, aid and assistance can have a negative impact if not applied thoughtfully, in cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders (including beneficiaries) and with careful attention to evaluation and measurement. Though these books focus specifically on international conflict situations, I’ve found the basic premise—that giving and aid are a serious responsibility on the part of any donor—to be helpful in any endeavors related to grantmaking, programming or giving in the interest of sustainable change and development.

Happy reading!

And we’d love your comments or thoughts on the books we’ve proposed–or other books on philanthropy you’d recommend!