How We Give Now
A Philanthropic Guide for the Rest of Us
- 2022 PROSE Award Winner, Economics
From Go Fund Me to philanthropy: the everyday ways that we can give our money, our time, and even our data to help our communities and seek justice.
In How We Give Now, Lucy Bernholz shows that philanthropy is more than writing a check and claiming a tax deduction. For most of us—the non-wealthy givers—philanthropy can be a way of living our values and fully participating in society. We give in all kinds of ways—shopping at certain businesses, canvassing for candidates, donating money, and making conscious choices with our retirement funds. We give our cash, our time, and even our data to make the world a better place. Bernholz takes readers on a tour of the often-overlooked worlds of participatory philanthropy, learning from a diverse group of forty resourceful givers.
Donating our digitized personal data is an emerging form of philanthropy, and Bernholz describes safe, equitable, and effective ways of doing so—giving genetic data for medical research through a nonprofit genetics organization rather than a commercial one, for example, or contributing photographs to an online archive like the Densho Digital Repository, which documents America's internment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent. Bernholz tells us to “follow the money,” however, when we're asked to “add a dollar” to our total at the cash register, or when we buy a charity-branded product; it's more effective to give directly than to give while shopping.
Giving is a form of participation. Philanthropy by the rest of us—across geographies and cultural traditions—begins with and builds on active commitment to our communities.
“How We Give Now is an engaging, must-read guide to the politics of giving time, money, and data; philanthropy's changing landscape; and its influence on our lives and society.”
Angela M. Eikenberry, University of Nebraska at Omaha; author of Giving Circles: Philanthropy, Voluntary Association, and Democracy and coeditor of Reframing Nonprofit Organizations: Democracy, Inclusion, and Social Change
“How We Give Now delivers a futurist discussion of philanthropy that is desperately needed in our sector. I see data in a whole new way thanks to Lucy's masterful exploration.”
Edgar Villanueva, Principal, Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital; best-selling author of Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance
“With this book, Lucy Bernholz shows us that philanthropy is about much more than money. It is about enacting our values in the world. A vitally needed book, How We Give Now offers a fuller understanding of generosity, the foundation of our shared future, giving us a lot to consider, to be wary of—and to hope for.”
Asha Curran, CEO, Giving Tuesday
"How We Give Now offers anyone interested in a fuller understanding of how we participate in society, whether it be with our time, money, or data, a lot to consider — about what our shared futures can look like, if we were to pause to think more deeply about how we do things."
Philanthropy News Digest
"Dr. Lucy Bernholz has written the most important book on philanthropy this year… Bernholz's biggest contribution with this book is the demonstration of how much generosity is happening outside the transaction of writing a cheque to a charity, and how much oxygen is taken up in the charity sector by this narrow framework."
The Charity Report
"An impressively thought-provoking and inspiring work, this timely synthesis of ideas and practicality has relevance for public policy, economics, sociology, the sciences, and more. Anyone interested in contributing to the greater good should consider reading it."