Nick Cooney recently released his latest book, How to be Great at Doing Good: Why Results are What Count and Smart Charity can Change the World.
Read the Preview (PDF) & Purchase Here.
He took some time out recently to answer a few of my questions:
Why did you decide to write your book?
There's a lot of people who care about animals and want to create a better world for them. So they give their money to animal protection groups, and in some cases give their time volunteering. Unfortunately, a lot of their time and money gets wasted. It does some good, but it helps far, far, far fewer animals than it could have. And that's because most of us have never been taught to think about charity in a really rigorous way. We've been taught that it's this warm fuzzy thing, that as long as we are doing something good and speaking up for animals then we needn't think more carefully about what exactly it is that we're doing. I wrote How To Be Great At Doing Good because I want us all to hold ourselves to a higher standard. I want us to take a more calculated approach about where to donate and how to volunteer, so that together we can help a lot more animals.
What do you hope to achieve with the release?
I want donors and volunteers to be able to do the most good, help the greatest number of animals, reduce the greatest amount of animal suffering with each dollar they donate and with each hour they volunteer. I wrote the book to help them achieve that.
What has the response been like so far?
Incredibly positive. I've had a much bigger response to this than either of my other books. And also, a great deal of surprise at realizing just how much is at stake when we decide which organizations to donate toward. Some animal protection groups and programs spend as little as $1 or less for each animal they spare from a lifetime of suffering. Others spend $500 for each animal they help; and still others spend $5,000 or more. So when we're deciding where to donate, picking one group over the other can mean the difference between helping one animal and helping hundreds. That's often a shock for people to learn.
What’s the message you want people and activists to take from your book?
I'd say the most important message is that we shouldn't be content to just do something good for animals. We should try to do the most good we can, to spare the greatest number of animals we can from a lifetme of misery. And that means making thoughtful, calculated decisions about where to donate and how to volunteer.
What are your future plans?
I've been giving talks around the country on How To Be Great At Doing Good
, and also sharing excerpts and signed copies through the book's website
. I want to make sure the message gets out to animal advocates around the world so that they can become more effective at creating a better world for animals.
Nick Cooney is the author of Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change and Veganomics: The Surprising Science on What Motivates Vegetarians, from the Breakfast Table to the Bedroom. He is Director of Education at Mercy For Animals, a national non-profit animal protection organization, and founder of The Humane League. His work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine, and National Public Radio, and he has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe on how to carry out charity effectively.
See my Blog on Animal Charity Evaluations & Recommendations
Published: 10 July 2015