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A Little Book of Big Ideas by Alexandre Mars

Giving has always been a pillar of Abrahamic religions, and most people of faith today continue to observe some form of tithing on a regular basis. The money raised in weekly offerings helps congregations operate and reach out to the strangers, the sick and the hungry through community organizations and ministries in accordance with their beliefs.

Yet regardless of their affiliation few people seem satisfied with their level of giving and most acknowledge that injustices are growing in our world. I wanted to understand why: Why is it that most people give and few think they give enough? Why is it that with all this goodwill we still cannot overcome injustice? So, I began a journey to figure it out, which is what brought me to create Epic—a rising nonprofit organization dedicated to strategic, impactful giving. And now, with my new book, Giving, I aim to cast new light on a century-old question: How can we make giving work?

Giving, of course, has strong roots in our religious traditions, but even outside of faith communities many acknowledge and embrace the notion that we have a moral call to help others. Coming from an entrepreneurial background, my mind then turned to the question of how we can use this shared ethic of giving to create economies of scale for altruism. It is my hope for those of us who give to reflect on how we can give better, and our work at Epic focuses on how philanthropy can be fundamentally re-tooled to encourage everyone to give more. At the heart of my worldview is that the option to give should be painless and rewarding—a joyful habit, accessible to everyone.

With Giving, I wanted to not only share this worldview but also to provide an opportunity for community-level reflection, including at a congregational level, on how giving can truly be a daily practice to serve others. By leveraging the power of social innovation to achieve a demonstrable impact, we can create a practical framework to better experience this religious call in our day-to-day lives. Short enough to afford broad dissemination and written in accessible language, this book is a natural extension to Sunday teachings—and a great gift to share with others.

In the closing lines of the book, I invite readers to “Embrace giving as a practical habit in your life. Love it. Rejoice in it.” And I tell them why: “A little bit of it will change you from within. Sharing as a lifestyle will make you happy—and more, it will make you whole.” This is my call for the conversion of our hearts—and one that I venture few would reject. As we embark on a new year in a divisive world, it may just be the call most of us need.

Bulk purchases of Giving: Purpose Is the New Currency available. 100% of the author’s proceeds of the book will fund outstanding organizations selected by Epic for their impact on disadvantaged youth worldwide.


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