Book reviews and comments

It Ain’t What You Give, It’s The Way That You Give It has attracted many – and exclusively positive – reviews and comments. Here are a selection: reviews first, then comments:


The Guardian: “Fiennes’ style is informal and the ideas are well illustrated with diagrams and cartoons. She dissects many of our popular intuitions about giving. This book is empowering … think Kirstie Allsopp or Alvin Hall, rather than Gillian McKeith.”

Ben Goldacre: “You’ve been waiting for this: Evidence-based charitable giving by @carolinefiennes”

Spears Wealth Management: “the indispensable guide … dispels the fog … no-nonsense … exactly the guide that donors need … refreshingly rigorous … long overdue”

Church Times: “an invaluable resource … takes the reader step by step…so that our donation has maximum impact”

Center for Effective Philanthropy: “among the best … refreshing in its specificity … relentlessly logical … fresh and forceful … an important contribution”

Alliance Magazine / Institute of Philanthropy : “thank goodness … engaging, informative, irreverent … compelling evidence and logic… Well done, Ms Fiennes”

Society of Biology: “provides great advice…Through case studies and user friendly diagrams and statistics you’re able to understand the best approach…The ideas in this book and its analytical approach have inspired me, and I would recommend the book to anyone involved in fundraising, sponsorship or funding applications.”

Stephen Lloyd, UK’s top charity lawyer: “I would strongly recommend that donors and the  charitable foundations should read this book and absorb its lessons” (p10)

Philanthropy UK: “huge amounts of insights into the nature of charities and how donors can best support them to improve the world. For donors – big or small – this is  money well spent”

Intelligent Life: “A good deal of this sharp study overturns expectations. “I’ll show you how to waste your entire donation,” she writes, frankly. The book even has a good word for Goldman Sachs” 

Giving What We Can: “… a wealth of great advice… clear, succinct, robust … compact and accessible…”

The Big Society Network: “Replete with good advice… enriched my understanding… a useful, helpful book… Buy it now – I recommend it!”

Sitawi (Brazilian social investment network): “Recomendo”!

Whitebarn Consulting: “inspiring, engaging and very useful… different and refreshing… excellent and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone.  Cocky and quirky in equal measure, it is a must-read

Reuters: “Fiennes is not one to pull her punches” 

Amazon reviews are here and here and here.

Comments Many people write with their comments. They include:

Senior business person, lent the book by a foundation CEO: “… really helpful and insightful… I’ve been wanting to rethink how I give for some time and the book has some good practical advice.” (followed by a long list of changes he’s making as a result).

David Emerson, Chief Executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, wrote to the Guardian about how marvelous this book is(!): “…very helpful…

This is from a charity CEO who I’d never met: “really clear and it is well written. I have revamped my website based on this book! Thank you Caroline!

Phil Buchanan , the respected CEO of the US Center for Effective Philanthropy, wrote in a response to a blog post: “… You identify one of the most destructive mindsets affecting philanthropy — a focus on “efficiency” or low overhead that inhibits effectiveness. I am reading Caroline Fiennes excellent book (“It Ain’t What You Give, It’s the Way You Give It”), and I have not seen a better deconstruction of this mindset than hers.” 

A charity CEO who I do know, but didn’t know she’d read it: “…it really is great. So refreshing, not only to have an intelligent, methodical and respectful approach to charity, but I love your sense of fun too…”

Major donor in Canada whom I’ve never met: “Having been involved in working with, and funding, charities for many years I have read many books on philanthropy. But I think this is the most useful one of them all. Caroline Fiennes has just done a marvelous job… wonderfully easy going and informative… meets a huge need… it is hard to imagine a better investment of money and time than buying and reading this book

This, from a fundraiser, was a surprise because the book’s not written for fundraisers at all: “As a charity fundraiser, I found this book incredibly refreshing and honest”

Your book very annoying. Made me miss my tube stop 🙂 


4 Responses to Book reviews and comments

  1. Pingback: Good charities spend more on administration than less good charities spend | Giving Evidence

  2. didin says:

    Excellent book your review

  3. Marek Ficinski says:

    O’Reilly’s Killing England omitted two significant heros: Kosciuszko (West Point) and Pulaski (American Cavliery). Book described actions and facts connected with Kosciuszko’s activity during Revolutionary war, his name was never mentioned in O’Reilly’s work (recommended for history teachers). Killing England is incomplete work!

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