Each month, Margaret May features a person, place or favorite thing that inspires her, with the hope that it will inspire you, too.
Bookmark: Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni Cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, author P.M. Forni reminds us, "Just about the most important thing we do in life is interacting with other human beings." Not only does he remind us how important such interaction is, but also how far we have strayed in our everyday lives from being civil and polite in all we do. With a gentle reminder that "All we have to do is stop, think about it, and then act," Forni provides the reader with a step-by-step guide to rediscovering good and sensible manners for a more stress-free and enjoyable life. This gem of a book is a must read. [...]
Bookmark: The Generosity Network by Jennifer McCrea and Jeffrey C. Walker with Karl Weber The Generosity Network weaves a web of generosity and collaboration, which is a win-win for everyone and every cause -- from local to global. The authors' ability to define and humanize the relationship building process that can move a person from transactional to transformational philanthropy makes this a must-read for donors, funders, nonprofit executive and fundraisers. This book gives insight into how our personal attitudes about money and giving may inhibit our generosity. It also provides realistic insight and the road map to be the philanthropist we can be and how to turn dreams into reality and results. If you want to tell a compelling [...]
Bookmark: The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction by P. M. Forni In this topsy-turvy world, who among us has the luxury to sit down in a quiet place and think about the life we want to live? Author P. M. Forni makes an extremely compelling case as to why we must find the time to make an earnest self-examination of the important things in our life. Why? Because, "If life is valuable," says Forni, "it only makes sense to attend to it constantly." And giving attention to the present moment is one way to seek relief from the frenzy and inefficient acts of multi-tasking that seem to be today's norm. In 12 short chapters, [...]
Bookmark: Everyone Wants Your Money: Helping You Navigate Through Philanthropy by Dr. Gray Keller From the title, you may expect the message in this book to be most appropriate for donors. And while that may be Dr. Gray Keller's intent, I believe his wisdom, practical advice and stories speak directly to the heart of every development and fundraising professional. Dr. Keller is a philosopher, poet, and philanthropist with degrees in philosophy, theology and leadership. His trifecta of experiences challenge both donors and gift planners to reflect on who we are, what we do, why we do it, and how to be a strategic philanthropic leader. "As a philanthropic leader," writes Keller, "You will have to decide to give in [...]
Bookmark: Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant There are three types of people: givers, takers and matchers -- each with their own impact on success. Author Adam Grant's research reveals some surprising results. "There is something distinctive that happens when givers succeed -- it spreads and cascades," according to Grant. "Givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them." This is good news for nonprofit and corporate executives who, more and more, rely on collaboration and team initiatives to solve problems and create value for their donors and clients. The author makes the case that giver values, such as helpfulness, responsibility, social justice, and compassion have [...]
Bookmark: The Female Vision by Sally Helgesen and Julie Johnson There seems to be a plethora of books about the positive virtues of seeing and interpreting the current state-of-the-world from a women's point of view. The authors recognize that we are approaching a tipping point of a change of leadership style in all three sectors of society -- corporate, government and nonprofit (sometimes referred to as the third sector). If one believes, as I and many of my colleagues do, that society's moral compass no longer points due north, the principles set forth in this book provide a road map to get us back on course. In fact, one of the three principles, "Women's tendency to analyze information in [...]
Q: What is the Women's Funding Network? A: The Women's Funding Network celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014. The network of funds was originally started by a group of 20 leaders who believed that philanthropy and social changes needed to recognize and include women and girls issues. The WFN is now a network of more than 160 Women's Funds in 30 countries. Today, the Women's Funding Network is the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to improving the lives of women and girls. For more information, visit www.womensfundingnetwork.org.
Q: How do you define eudaimonia? A: Eudaimonia is the Greek word used by philosophers that translates to "well-being of the soul." According to Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, the wellbeing of the soul is achieved through arête, defined as living in excellence and virtue. He identifies the moral virtues as prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. A virtuous life according to Aristotle is a balanced life with neither too much nor too little of each virtue.
Q: Are there websites with information on how to volunteer? A: Absolutely. In addition to contacting your local United Way or Community Foundation. These sites offer some wonderful volunteer resources. visit www.networkforgood.org, www.volunteermatch.org, www.pointsoflight.org and www.encore.org.
Q: Is there a resource for children's gifts and books to learn about giving? A: Yes. The National Center for Family Philanthropy has an excellent website, www.ncfp.org. I encourage you to visit the site for both children and adult resources. Correction to last month's "Ask Margaret" book recommendation: Shel Silverstein (not Shel Silverman) is the author of The Giving Tree. Thank you, Lori E. Gold, for bringing this to our attention.
Q: Can you recommend a children's book on the topic of giving? A: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverman, published in 1964, remains a favorite with children and adults.
Q: What do gift planners mean by the "ultimate gift"? A: According Debra Ashton, author of The Complete Guide to Planned Giving, the ultimate gift is "not the method a person uses to give the gift, but rather the magnitude of and the motivation for the gift." She goes on to say, "Ultimate gift fundraising, then, depends on our ability to build and develop long-term relationships with a few special givers."