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Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World

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-With open hearts and open hands, we gave what we could, and a little became a lot.- -from Give a Little. The March of Dimes destroyed polio. Five bucks can beat malaria. Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World not only contains remarkable, inspiring stories of how small donations are making an extraordinary difference in the lives of millions both here in the United States and around the world, but also lays out where and how to start giving . . . today. Together, ordinary Americans have far more transformational power than any government or big foundation. In 2007, giving by American individuals amounted to $229 billion-that is, 82 times the amount the Gates Foundation gave that same year. Simple, inexpensive things--a water filter, a bike, an irrigation pump, a bed net, a goat--cause a ripple effect that lifts a whole family, a town, and, astonishingly, even a nation out of poverty. Inspired by Smith's twenty years in the nonprofit sector, Give a Little shows how easily we can dip into our pockets and, with just a few dollars, change the world.

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2009

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Desiree.
276 reviews30 followers
May 6, 2010
Loved this one! All about ways that people can transform the world, even if you are not rich. Talks about how the march of dimes cured polio, with people giving only one dime per person! The power of numbers can really add up and help quite a bit!

You always have to be careful when donating to charities, a lot of the large ones spend most of the donations on salaries, fund raising, overhead, etc. Most of the ones in the book are small ones that help people, mostly in developing worlds. I would have liked to see more charities listed for the US.

I think the most glaring omission in this book was that they left out folding@home. A simple program that runs in the background of your computer that studies protein folding and is trying to cure diseases like Parkinson's, etc. A totally free way to help. Beyond the 10 or so minutes required to get it set-up, you can totally forget about it!

Another one of my favorites is freerice.com. You can do english vocabulary, spanish words or math. Each time you get a correct answer, the sponsors donate 10 grains of rice to hungry people. Play games and feed people, cool!

There are a lot of organizations I have never heard of that I will be checking out. Onemillionlights.com will bring solar led lighting to third world countries that were using kerosene for lighting. Darfurstoves.org will bring highly efficient cooking stoves to people who need to spend all day searching for firewood to cook their food. They are stripping the landscape and inhaling the smoke.

Ewb-usa.org is engineers without borders, sounds interesting, have to check out the site.

Hippowater.org allows women to roll water home from the river instead of carrying it on their head.

Tons of great ideas here! Definitely recommended!
Profile Image for Beatrice.
167 reviews
April 7, 2013
Well, in the interests of full disclosure, I will admit I was startled and pleased to see my name in the acknowledgements, but I didn't know that when I bought the book. What I particularly liked is that the author clearly and repeatedly made the same point I have been trying to explain for so long - feed a child, and you save not only that child, but their family, their community, their country, our world. You never know what little action you make might have a ripple effect.....very interesting reading, and I will be looking up some of the charities (besides mine) that she mentions in this book.
Profile Image for Cynthia Levin.
46 reviews1 follower
March 5, 2020
If you ever think that you're just not rich enough to make a difference, think again! Smith shows us how our collective action can create remarkable change in this world. You don't have to be a Trump or a Bloomberg to contribute to positive momentum to save and transform lives in our country and around the world.
69 reviews12 followers
July 22, 2010

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. The premise behind the book is awesome as it opened my eyes up to how even the smallest of donations can make a difference to villages and people around the world.

Think about the concept of donating $5.00. To most of us what is a $5.00 donation. To a family that lives in an area that does not have access to clean filtered water twelve donations of $5.00 will by them a water pump that delivers what most of us take for granted, clean drinking water. How does clean water impact a family? For a young infant it may make the difference between life and death. For the family it may keep the parents alive. Clean water will eliminate the potential of many illnesses. The children can grow up and lead healthy lives. The parents are able to parent their children-hopefully these children do not become orphans from some other disaster. I am sure if all of us saw the photo of a dehydrated child we would give $5.00 so they could get a water pump or netting to keep them safe from malaria.

The book discusses different charitable organizations and how little donations add up to make a difference. The difference goes beyond what you are purchasing. One small donation can impact families and generations to come. The premise of the book is great as it opened up my eyes as to the larger impact of small donations.

Author Smith has over 20 years experience working with different agencies. She definitely knows her facts. However part way through the book she lost me a little by getting too bogged down in facts and almost coming across as preachy. While facts and numbers may work for the accountants I would have sooner heard about how lives were changed by the donations.

Before reading this book I was aware of different organizations such as Heifer International that will buy a family a cow. What I was not aware of was the impact and long term benefits of such a gift. Smith has done a great job in creating awareness of how little donations really do make a difference to the world. A healthier world benefits all of us.
Profile Image for Dawn Michelle.
27 reviews
April 14, 2011
This is another book I started reading with my 15-year old student, thinking we'd just read a few pages of it together. But one evening I left the book with him overnight and when I came back the following day I was surprised to find that he'd read ahead a couple of chapters. The parts about hunger and children touched him pretty deeply. His eyes were also opened whenever we came across sections dealing with poverty in America, and kids in other countries who can't attend school because free primary education is not available.

It was an excellent springboard for a discussion on how we could be a part of ending the cycle of poverty and hunger in our own community and the kinds of volunteering we could do here.

I loved the organizations Smith dug up and the simple yet empowering notion that a couple of bucks can help change the world.
4 reviews1 follower
March 2, 2010
Give a Little is a great book for those whom, admittedly, are not big into non-profit and charitable giving. For those who are, the books serves as a fantastic reminder as to why it'€™s so important to continue to give - and more importantly - to make sure truly look beyond the marketing materials of a non-profit organization and find exactly what it is they do, who they impact, and the lives they are changing. The book goes into light details on a small number of charities that are making huge changes in our world. The author adequately explains how a small amount of money can make a difference in ways that we would never imagine. I actually plan to share this book with the team at YourCause.com and make sure we are helping out the charities mentioned within.
Profile Image for Melinda.
Author 1 book9 followers
July 3, 2012
Another book I read while researching my own book on charitable giving. The first third of the book examines the concept of giving; what we give, why, how, etc. The final two thirds focus on small programs across the world that focus on ending poverty -- hunger, education, health, and technology. Reading about how $10 can prevent a child from dying of malaria is incredibly empowering. The book makes me want to rush home and brain storm with my kids on what small things we can do to make a huge difference in the world. Eye opening read. One statistic jumped out at me; $11 billion for education would do wonders, and it is 1/2 of what Americans spent on ice cream in 2006. Half! Sad state of our priorities.
Profile Image for Leslie.
159 reviews9 followers
March 26, 2010
I skimmed this one... lots of stuff I already knew, some very simplistic. The intention of the book is well-meaning: encouraging us in our giving; every little bit can help if well directed.

The author (and editor) have this annoying habit, though if italicizing and bolding any little thing they want to emphasize, which ultimately creates little stumbling blocks across the page.

If you come across this one at the library, check it out and give it a quick skim. There are some interesting and useful tidbits in there.
Profile Image for Jen.
426 reviews2 followers
February 3, 2010
Recommended for anyone who gave in wake of disasters as Haiti or Katrina, but would like to know how to give more regularly to make a difference.

I gotta say, it's hard to justify spending money on extra stuff now, knowing that $5 can produce 18 kits which provide a clean birthing environment for 18 mothers and their babies, or that donating $5/month for one year to buy a water pump can lift an entire family out of poverty.
Profile Image for Kim.
569 reviews5 followers
November 18, 2009
Excellent, very interesting look at some unique charities that are doing amazing things. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader but it definitely held my attention and I learned a lot. I've been dropping factoids into conversations ever since I read it. Nice to see how the little guy can make a huge difference. Particularly applicable to the season.
Profile Image for Melissa.
12 reviews
January 20, 2010
A little too much like a textbook, a bit preachy - but a necessary message, a good reminder that we all need to do our part globally. I appreciated the personal accounts (of impoverished ppl who've been helped by the featured organizations) and the inspirational messages delivered by the organizers of these efforts. Overall, a good resource book and one that will probably move you to ACTION.
Profile Image for Thimbleberry.
87 reviews1 follower
November 17, 2009
This is just the thing to read for Thanksgiving. Or whenever you start getting depressed that the problems of the world are too big for anyone to make a difference. Everyday people, making little everyday donations, can make a HUGE difference. Read this book to see how!
Profile Image for Horizon.
108 reviews46 followers
November 17, 2009
This is just the thing to read for Thanksgiving. Or whenever you start getting depressed that the problems of the world are too big for anyone to make a difference. Everyday people, making little everyday donations, can make a HUGE difference. Read this book to see how!
Profile Image for Katie.
559 reviews16 followers
January 26, 2011
This book highlights all the little ways that a small donation can really change the world. Gives up-to-date research and statistics and is designed to motivate people to find it in their hearts to help the world.
January 22, 2010
Excellent writer, she gives you a clear overview of what charities are doing to change the world. And how your donationations are channeled through such organizations to make a difference throughout the world. I recommend this book to anyone who is deciding to which charity to give to.
Profile Image for Janice.
462 reviews9 followers
November 3, 2010
Too one-sided for me. I agree with the preminse, but she makes it sound like an end-all, and it definitely isn't. There are great ramifications to saving every person born, there needs to be birth control measures added to the equation and that was never mentioned.
5 reviews2 followers
June 2, 2013

Everyone should read this book! An easy and informative page-turner that tells you about many different service organizations and how you can help. This books makes you want to be a part of these organizations and their causes.
30 reviews
March 23, 2014
Great read on how powerful small contributions can be to change the world. I wish there were a few more faith based organizations highlighted. I highly recommend it as a great place to find a charity to support.
Profile Image for Holland.
198 reviews21 followers
June 1, 2010
Am going to find a way to work this into my blog soon. It shows how easily we can change lives by giving a little.
Profile Image for Trista.
20 reviews
October 26, 2010
Poorly written. Author says a lot while actually saying very little. Felt a bit like a college essay; many spots are drawn out simply to add length. Couldn't finish, might come back to it later.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,397 reviews
Want to read
June 21, 2013
The author is able to pull the reader in from the first page. This is an engaging and compelling book on giving.
Profile Image for Michelle.
5 reviews3 followers
May 27, 2012

Perhaps simplistic for someone in the fundraising field however I can see how the lay person would get inspired to give a little and see how it really adds up.
Profile Image for Dorothy Alva.
201 reviews
November 17, 2013
Loved this book! Giving the smallest amount can make Abigail big difference in someone's life. And to see the things that people are doing and have done are so inspiring .
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews

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