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Published Date: October 3, 2017

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Book Review: When Women Give

Scripture has a lot to say about how we interact with others, but most of it boils down to generosity: generous hearts and joyful giving. It should be no surprise, then, that we are to be more loving, compassionate and, yes, generous as we mature in Christ.

This tends to be revealed more often in small, mundane things than large, lavish contributions: Giving a ride home to a co-worker whose car is in the shop. Watching our neighbor’s kids during a crucial job interview. Praying for sick friends. Volunteering at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. Giving non-perishable items to the church’s food pantry.

Learning to be generous with our time or talents is an organic process, one that unfolds as opportunities open before us, and is often exercised in community. But learning to be generous with our money is a different story. Money is personal and, in Western culture, we do not get into each other’s monetary business. Our giving decisions are made in isolation, with limited data and minimal outside input.

When Women Give addresses the isolated nature of our charitable giving decisions and provides generous souls some much-needed assistance and resources. The book is an easy read; peppered with humor and anchored by engaging stories and personal accounts.

Kim King, attorney and Christian philanthropist, gives readers a roadmap for fruitful charitable giving. A starting place for many readers may be the list of organizations that foster retreats and guidance to Christians with a heart for donations to worthy causes. Other readers may choose to dive directly into philanthropic giving.

But anyone jumping into the deep end of the pool soon uncovers the vast constellation of Christian organizations (8,000+) competing for our charitable dollars. To help readers navigate through this morass of options, the book lists and discusses six organizations that research, measure, and rate Christian charities of all stripes. Metrics include ministry impact, financial health, personnel conduct, and many more.

The book is clear there is no single path or process to grow a life of charitable giving. A variety of creative giving avenues are provided as examples, but the point of the book is that we are all unique creations with specific gifts, interests, education, and life experiences.

Our giving should flow out of the God-bespoke person that is each of us. Only then will our charitable works be both fruitful and joyful. To facilitate customization, the appendix includes four useful checklists to help readers identify what they are passionate about, what mix of charities are the best fit, and how to better assess a charitable organization’s financial resources.

The common sense and real-world examples in the book make it worth the read, but practical is interspersed with spiritual. Taking a holistic approach, the author ties financial giving with spiritual growth. Concrete examples are shared of the spiritual blessings that result from generous giving.

Challenges to our generosity are also examined, but with compassion for our human foibles and transparency of the author’s own missteps. In addressing challenges, the book is full of encouragement. I was particularly impressed with the claim that extreme poverty is on the wane, having been cut in half over the past thirty years! The message: working together we can do this!

The book invites us all—whatever our income or giftedness or limitations—to discover the ways greater generosity may transform us as we help others. Despite the title, When Women Give should be a beneficial read for all people.

For women, though, the surprise of book is the good news that we are statistically more philanthropic than men. I found that particularly affirming of my giving intentions. This statistic becomes even more relevant when coupled with another one: a growing percentage of women are attaining degrees and higher income levels.

Women today have access to more wealth than in other time in history. But with more money comes more responsibility: to be informed and to make good decisions. At its heart, the book equips us, and future generations, to tackle tough giving decisions; whether we are joyful givers of a hundred dollars or vast sums.

Though a roadmap and a resource, at its heart, the book invites us into the “adventure of a generous life” currently enjoyed by Ms. King and a cadre of caring women who already embrace the joy of giving.