How to Be Great at Doing Good

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-04-27
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub

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Get ready to question everything you’ve been told about charity, and to find out how you can truly succeed at making the world a better place.

Many of us donate to charitable causes, and millions more work or volunteer for non-profit organizations. Yet virtually none of us have been taught what it means to succeed at doing good, let alone how to do so. In short, we’ve never been encouraged to treat charity with the seriousness and rigor it deserves.

How to be Great at Doing Good is a complacency-shattering guidebook for anyone who wants to actually change the world, whether as a donor, a volunteer, or a non-profit staffer.  Drawing on eye-opening studies in psychology and human behavior, surprising interviews with philanthropy professionals, and the author’s fifteen years of experience founding and managing top-rated non-profits, this book is an essential read for anyone who wants to do more good with their time and money.

  • Find out how Bill Gates and a team of MIT grads are saving thousands of lives by applying business principles to charity work – and how we can too
  • Peer inside our brains as we donate, and discover how the same chemical forces that make us crave junk food and sex can steer us toward bad charity decisions
  • See why following our passion and doing what we’re good at can actually doom our efforts to improve the world
  • Learn how two seemingly identical charities can have jaw-dropping differences in impact, and find out how to pick the best one when donating

Sure to generate controversy among non-profits and philanthropists who prefer business as usual, How to be Great at Doing Good reveals that a more calculated, effective approach to charity work isn’t just possible – it’s absolutely necessary for those who want to succeed at changing the world. 

Author Biography

NICK COONEY is director of education at Mercy For Animals and founder of The Humane League. He is also the author of Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change. He has lectured extensively across the United States and Europe on how to carry out charity effectively, and his work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets.

Table of Contents

Preface: Schindler’s Regret vii

1. Why Charity? 1

2. Doing Good or Doing Great? 9

3. Facing the “Brutal Facts” on How Much Good We Are Accomplishing 19

4. Chasing the Bottom Line: How to Do More Good for Less Money 37

5. Why Efficiency Means Everything for Donors (and Charities, Too) 63

6. How We Can Drive Our Favorite Charities to Succeed 83

7. Our Brains Don’t Want Us to Be Great at Doing Good, But We Can Outsmart Them 107

8. The Advice We Are Given About Charity Is Wrong—Here’s the Truth 131

9. Moving Forward with Humility: Admitting What We Don’t Know 151

10. Nine Steps to Greatness 165

Conclusion: The Joy of Great Charity 175

About the Author 177

References 179

Index 181

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