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It's an all-too-familiar refrain: "I want to make a difference but I don't know how." If it's change you truly seek, a trio of new and soon-to-be-published books are ready to transform even the most reticent of reality TV-watching coach potatoes into involved citizens of the world, with nary a picket sign in sight. (Now that's what we call a makeover.) Ready to take the plunge? Dive on in, the water's fine.
Photo credit: Idealist.org
1. The Idealist.org Handbook to Building a Better World
If you need a road map to effecting real and positive change in your community, you'll find no better navigators than the folks at Idealist.org, along with freelance writer and editor Stephanie Land. The Idealist.org Handbook to Building a Better World: How to Turn Your Good Intentions into Actions That Make a Difference (Perigee, $14.95) doesn't just direct you to snag that nonprofit job or ferret out volunteer opportunities, it's also a guide to self-empowerment.
The authors don't care what you do for a living, which political philosophy you subscribe to, or what specific causes get you out of bed in the morning—all that matters is your desire to make your voice heard and the willingness to connect with people who believe in protecting and promoting the same goals and principles.
Divided into three sections, Part I covers how nonprofits operate and the different roles available to you depending on your expertise and level of involvement. In Part II, you'll learn about the three most effective ways to devote your time, money, or talents: volunteering, service, and philanthropy. Part III speaks directly to individuals seeking to create change within and without their workplace, while offering guidelines for those who are ready to make the leap from their for-profit job to a nonprofit or "for-benefit" career.