To most, the mechanics of generosity are basic: You pull out the checkbook and make a donation. But as Jim and Nancy Cotterill explain in their book, there’s more to it than that. And, they write, if people would follow the sensible suggestions they lay out, the world would be a better place.
Jim Cotterill is the head of a large public charity; Nancy leads a non-profit. Together they have served on boards of several not-for-profit organizations. It isn’t until the book’s final pages that they explain the reason for writing World-Changing Generosity: Both faced life-threatening health issues in 2001; after recovering, they were inspired to make the most of their second chances by helping others help others.
Some of the benefits of giving are obvious: Kids are fed, the homeless find shelter, the sick get cared for. But the authors also discuss benefits that come to givers. Studies show that giving stimulates prosperity and results in health advantages. The authors also provide statistics that demonstrate how much need there is.
After laying out the benefits and needs, the Cotterills then explain how to step up. Often one person can make a difference, but people can also get involved on a bigger scale, such as with a large charity or community organization. Interestingly, the authors don’t necessarily tie giving to religion. They cite studies showing that nonreligious people perform acts of generosity more from feelings of compassion than do religious people, whose actions are based on doctrine and a desire to please their God.
In the book’s last quarter, the authors explain how you can plot your path to generosity in a five-step process: identify your passion, conduct research, make an in-person visit to the organization you are considering working with, volunteer, give. Whether you currently support charities or are wondering how to start, World-Changing Generosity is a worthwhile read, providing the tools—and inspiration—to help you make meaningful changes in the world.
Also available as an ebook.