“Every so often, a book comes along that makes you say, ‘Yes!’ Simple Giving does that. At some level, we all want to give. But how to do it effectively is often the challenge. Jennifer tells us that and much, much more. Simple Giving is a must-read (and a definite must act-upon). A huge contribution to a much better world”. – Paul Dunn, cofounder and chairman of B1G1 (Guy 1 Give 1).
A Gallup World Poll survey between 2006 and 2008 found that those who donated to charity in the past month had a higher life satisfaction, whether or not they lived in a rich or poor country. We all know we should be more philanthropic – volunteer, give to charity, fundraise for a good cause or someone in need – but oftentimes we think we have to give a lot of time or significant amounts of money in order to make a difference. Jennifer Iacovelli, a writer, speaker, consultant and chief engagement officer of “Another Jennifer Writing Lab” contradicts this belief in her newly released book “Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day” by exploring simple, every day ways to incorporate giving into our personal and professional lives.
When I first heard about the concept of Jennifer’s book Simple Giving I was delighted. Not only do I personally try to find new and fulfilling ways to give back in my life, Jennifer also happens to be a personal friend of mine who I met through philanthropic blogging. Her beautiful book Simple Giving is a must-read for anyone who wants a better understanding got how they can give and increase their philanthropy in simple, easy ways.
In Simple Giving, Jennifer inspires us with stories of how people ranging from moms to social entrepreneurs and even corporations, are giving back in creative ways. Jennifer presents six giving models, ending each chapter with ideas on how to put these ideas and models to action as well as resources to help us figure out how to best fit in ways that match our unique lifestyles and interests. It is a fascinating read that has already changed my personal outlook in how I plan to give as an individual and as a family.
A few highlights of what I learned by reading Simple Giving include:
- Chapter 1: Jennifer explores the meaning of giving and philanthropy, and illustrates how giving is way more than simply donating money or volunteering time. There are many simple ways you can give back every day that make can make a difference. Even a small contribution can make an impact on someone’s life.
- In Chapter 2, Jennifer explains the psychology behind the pull to give, and talks about her insight trip to Nicaragua as a social good blogger for WaterAid.
- In Chapters 3-8, Jennifer presents six different giving models that one can easily incorporate into his or her everyday life. These chapters are jam packed with inspiring stories of people who have incorporated simple giving into their lives and also offers the reader resources and actionable steps they can take to incorporate everyday simple giving into their own lives.
- And most important of all, is how good it makes us all feel to give back and make a difference. Even a smile to a stranger can impact someone’s life and pay it forward (meaning that person may be inspired to do an act of kindness to someone else).
I chatted with Jennifer to talk more about the inspiration behind Simple Giving and what she has personally learned through the journey of writing the book. Here is what she had to say.
Me: What inspired you to begin A Simple Giving Lab and eventually write Simple Giving?
Jennifer: I was doing the Philanthropy Friday series on my blog for so long and I realized I had a tremendous amount of fabulous information and valuable content that I could share in a book that could make a difference in people’s lives. When I looked over all my posts, I saw a common theme and discovered that there are six different giving models available.
Me: Were you raised in a philanthropic family? What made you personally become interested in philanthropy and giving back?
Jennifer: Throughout my childhood my parents encouraged me to help out and give back with volunteer work. I did small projects within my community and also volunteered at school. My interest in philanthropy really grew when I began working and getting more exposed to the world of non-profits. During this time, I needed to find more purpose in my work and feel like I was making a difference and impact. I was working as a communications specialist and occasionally took in donations. Oftentimes we would get donations that were not the right kind or always needed. This made me begin thinking about why we give, how we give, and how we get the most meaning out of it. I began writing my blog Another Jennifer and started a Philanthropy Friday series to explore these issues surrounded behind giving.
Me: Writing a book as a single mom is no easy feat. What did you learn yourself from the process?
Jennifer: It was a very long and difficult process. When I first started the book, I had a lot of doubts that I could do it. It was all so overwhelming. I worked through the challenges and obstacles in the way and learned that I could write and publish a book, a huge goal and accomplishment for me. It was an amazing feeling and I realized that the sky’s the limit.
Me: Any final words of wisdom or advice to those who want to give back and become more philanthropic in their daily lives?
Jennifer: The biggest take away is to open your mind to what giving is and be aware that there is opportunity to give all around you all the time.
“Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day” is available for sale at Amazon, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Indiebound, and more. Here is a link to where you can find the book. You can also request that the book be ordered by your favorite local bookstore.
Jennifer Iacovelli is a writer, speaker and consultant. As chief engagement officer of the Another Jennifer Writing Lab, Jennifer helps entrepreneurs, bloggers and nonprofits tell their story. She is also the author of the Another Jennifer blog, and creator of the Simple Giving Lab. She writes for Mom Bloggers for Social Good as part of the Global Team of 200 and is a regular contributor to World Moms Blog and HuffPost Divorce. Jennifer is also a contributing author of the book The Mother of All Meltdowns. Her work has been featured on GOOD, BlogHer, USAID Impact, Feed the Future, and the PSI Impact blog. She is based in Brunswick, Maine.