Camden, Maine – There are many ways to give back, from volunteering, serving on a board, raising funds, or donating time. Each role requires a specific skill set, but where does a person turn to get started? There has never been a formal guide for volunteers and activists to help them navigate the day-to-day activities associated with doing good through philanthropy; until now! So skip scrolling on the internet for hours to figure out how to advance the cause dear to your heart, and use this shortcut guide! “For A Good Cause” (She Writes Press, Oct. 12, 2021) by philanthropy expert philanthropist Diane Lebson is for anyone who has ever said to themselves, “If I could make a difference in the world, how would I want to do it?”
Lebson’s book compiles everything you need to know about intentional volunteering and participation in philanthropic events. This accessible guide offers a wealth of information regarding best practices to follow, garnered through decades of experience in a nonprofit career and collaboration with 26 female philanthropists who also share their experience with step-by-step lessons.
Lebson’s priceless knowledge on how women can give joyfully and effectively to a cause is packed into this action-oriented guide, and will surely benefit anyone interested in making the most of their charitable endeavors. Let’s get started!
“For a Good Cause”
Diane Lebson | October 12, 2021
She Writes Press | Philanthropy and Charity
Paperback | 978-1-64742-303-2 | $16.95
Early praise for “For A Good Cause”
“As a trailblazer in women’s philanthropy, Diane Lebson provides insightful advice on how to be intentional in your generosity. For A Good Cause illustrates what research at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute has demonstrated — that women are drawn to an expanded definition of philanthropy that includes time, expertise, advocacy, networks and money, applying all of their resources to work for good. Readers seeking greater confidence in how to do good will benefit from the real-world lessons and decades of experience shared through Lebson’s stories.”
—Jeannie Infante Sager, Director of Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Institute
“We know from research that women don’t resonate with the word “philanthropist” as it can be perceived as primarily the donation of money. Women know that they provide so much more than just treasure when they care about a good cause – they also give their time, talent, testimony and ties. Yet this broader definition of philanthropy is rarely celebrated, leaving women to believe that their full support is not valued. Lebson’s practical guide for women’s engagement with charities lifts up and honors what women bring to the table as talented and thoughtful volunteers, leaders, donors and amplifiers of the mission. In addition, her plethora of stories and practical advice is a welcome aide to women as they consider the best approaches to benefit any cause they hold dear.”
—Kathleen E. Loehr, author of Gender Matters: A Guide to Growing Women’s Philanthropy
“In every encounter with Diane, I am always impressed (and motivated) by her energy and enthusiasm for supporting individuals to find joy in their philanthropic pursuits. Easier said than done! I am thrilled to see Diane articulate in word through her book, For A Good Cause: A Practical Guide to Giving Joyfully, the passion and practical steps anyone can take to embrace the sentiment of joyful giving. I believe truly that with her practical tips and relatable storytelling, you will feel confident and empowered to explore and expand your own philanthropic journey.”
—Katie Vlietstra Wonnenberg, President and Board Member, Phi Sigma Sigma, Inc. and
Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation, and student in giving joyfully
“In my many decades as a nonprofit CEO I can’t remember reading a book that so comprehensively addresses all the facets of philanthropy from volunteers to donors to even starting your own nonprofit. Diane’s contribution to the discourse reminds me that women have always worked hard to make the world a better place, now with For A Good Cause we have a guidebook to do it well and most important to do it joyfully. Bravo Diane!”
—Lidia Soto-Harmon, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital
“The definition of philanthropy is a desire to promote the welfare of others, yet it has tended to be seen as limited to fundraising for a charitable cause. Diane Lebson’s new book For A Good Cause does a thorough and practical job of helping broaden that definition. She skillfully and with a very comfortably paced writing style introduces the reader to the many different ways you can “do good”…from serving on a board, to advocating for policy change, to making charitable contributions and so much more. What I found especially useful is her understanding of the importance of finding the right “fit” when you choose to engage in philanthropy. I highly recommend For A Good Cause if you are just getting started or if you have been a long-time philanthropist who is thinking of pursuing a new direction.”
—Anne Dalton, Community Volunteer, Portland, Maine
About the Author
Diane Lebson: Diane grew up as a first-generation American in Milford, Connecticut, the daughter of working-class, Polish immigrants who instilled in her a strong work ethic and desire to “do good.” After studying international relations in college, Diane stayed in Washington and began her nonprofit career on the national staff of United Way, the largest charity in the United States. Over the course of seventeen years, she managed United Way’s national literacy program, directed the national board of trustees, and built a women’s giving program that has to date raised over $2 billion and mobilized over 70,000 philanthropists. After leaving United Way, she went on to lead US fundraising operations for an international nongovernmental organization that serves orphans and abandoned children, lead a public library foundation, serve as the Chief of Protocol at the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia, and oversee the women’s giving program for the American Red Cross. In 2018, she and her husband cofounded Evergreen Philanthropic Solutions, a national consultancy that helps nonprofit organizations, individuals, corporations, and foundations achieve their philanthropic goals. For more about Diane, please visit Evergreen’s website at www.evergreenphilanthropy.com.
In an interview, Diane Lebson can discuss:
- How to help people find the charitable cause that is the right fit for them based on how they want to help, and what they are passionate about
- Ways to ensure an organization is effectively using your donation.
- How to become an educated supporter to make a difference in the charity you love
- Ways you can make a difference with limited resources, such as money and time
- The ambitions behind writing the book – how her career in philanthropies and nonprofits began, and when she realized it was her passion
- How women differ from men in their philanthropic approaches
- How to help raise more for a cause that is important to you, especially when you don’t feel comfortable asking others for money
- The questions you should be asking if someone asks you to serve on a nonprofit board
- How nonprofits can most effectively engage women as donors, volunteers and supporters
An Interview with Diane Lebson
1. What are a few signs that a person has found a charitable organization that is the right fit for them?
The most tangible sign that a person has found a charitable organization that is right for them is that they can actually feel it. They feel a sense of joy when they engage in their volunteer endeavor, even when the work is hard and challenging. They also are able to articulate how their charity work makes a difference and specifically how what they are doing is changing lives.
2. How do you think this guide would have impacted your life had it been available when you were first getting started?
If I had this guide when I was first jumping into philanthropy, I would have been able to focus my efforts more strategically. I would have wasted less time making mistakes and questioning whether I was doing the right thing in my charitable endeavors. I would also have been able to be more intentional in my efforts by selecting opportunities that were more closely aligned with my values — as opposed to responding to things that people put in front of me.
3. How did your relationships with other female philanthropists help you while writing this book?
Just like female philanthropists helped me chart my philanthropic path, they helped me on the journey of writing this book. The female philanthropists in my life are wonderful teachers and I am so grateful to the ones who mentored me along the way, connected me with opportunities, and encouraged me when I was challenged. In a similar way, the women I interviewed For A Good Cause were generous with their advice, networks, and cheerleading.
4. In what ways can a person with limited resources, money or time, still contribute to a charitable cause they care about?
There are so many ways that people with limited resources can make an impact in the philanthropic space. Post on social media about the causes that are important to you. Sign up for your favorite charity’s e-newsletter so that you can keep abreast of their activities. Identify a change agent you admire and become their pen pal by sending them notes of gratitude and encouragement. Live your values — try to buy from companies that engage in cause-related marketing campaigns.
5. What is your best piece of advice to someone just beginning to become interested in philanthropy, and how can they get started?
Don’t just respond to the volunteer or fundraising request that pops up in your inbox — think hard about what really matters to you and invest your entire effort to that cause. We diminish our power and our passion if we give or volunteer without intention. Just as you would with a financial investment, think about the long-term impact of going “all in” on an issue that matters to you — at the end of your life, you will find that you will have a positive impact on more lives if you concentrate your focus.
A former award-winning journalist with national exposure, Marissa now oversees the day-to-day operation of the Books Forward author branding and book marketing firm, along with our indie publishing support sister company Books Fluent.
Born and bred in Louisiana, currently living in New Orleans, she has lived and developed a strong base for our company and authors in Chicago and Nashville. Her journalism work has appeared in USA Today, National Geographic and other major publications. She is now interviewed by media on best practices for book marketing.