Skip to content
Politics & Social Sciences - Social Sciences

$14.99 Regular price
Unit price

Doing Good . . . Says Who?

ISBN: 9781634137133
Binding: Paperback
Author: Connie Newton and Fran Early
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 10/27/2015

Doing Good. . . Says Who? explores the impact of good intentions from the inside. The authors conducted over 400 interviews and synthesized the lessons learned. The end result is that you are on the ground with volunteers nonprofits donors and-most uniquely-the intended beneficiaries of good will. Through story telling humor analysis practical advice and a discussion guide five key concepts emerge:

1. Respect and value people
2. Build trust through relationships
3. Do "with" rather than "for"
4. Ensure feedback and accountability
5. Evaluate every step of the way

These principles will help you evaluate your motivations question assumptions and turn good intentions into positive outcomes.


Connie Newton and Fran Early have spent their lifetimes committed to service as board members donors and everyday volunteers at home and abroad. They've worked in intercultural education community organizing corporate service sociology research and human rights and have spent the last seven years researching this book. Continue the conversation at


"When wisdom speaks we would do well to listen. Sixty years of combined on the ground experience in a poverty culture gives Doing Good&hellipSays Who? authenticity and authority that are rare in the hyped-up world of contemporary missions. The authors have earned the right to tell it like it is &ndash and this they do with candor color and sensitivity. Essential reading for every group who aspires to do effective mission work." - Bob Lupton urban ministry veteran and author of Toxic Charity

"The stories ring true and are great at developing the core principles for volunteer service. This teachs people how to not only "do no harm" but really learn from and work with communities in need. It is as important for donors as students and volunteers."- Ruth Messinger President American Jewish World Services

"This book should be required reading for all who seek to improve the lives of the very poor. It teaches by compelling stories that lasting gains can only be achieved by respecting learning from and working with those-in-need. Visiting occasionally in a Land Rover to tell people with very different life experiences what they should do or to give them charity simply does not work."- Richard Schmalensee Dean Emeritus MIT Sloan School of Management

"Finding experiences for our students where they can both begin to understand a different culture while serving its people in productive ways is a complex challenge for the very reasons explored in this book. The stories Fran and Connie tell are real and thought-provoking. I strongly commend the read to educators and students alike."- Larry Schall President Oglethorpe University

"When I was working with a group of Mixtec weavers in Oaxaca a leader in the group looked at the board and said 'Don't tell me you have a solution if I haven't told you I have a problem'. The authors really get this as the key to successful development."- Judith Lockhart Radtke The Circle of Women

"Doing Good... addresses a major gap in the literature on humanitarianism. Although there are many critical academic studies of humanitarianism and volunteerism that document unintended -and sometimes downright harmful- effects these studies are generally not accessible except to the specialist audience. Doing Good gives us an approachable general audience treatment of these important themes. It should be required reading for all volunteers planning long or short-term global engagements. I intend to recommend it to physicians and medical students who are considering participating in global health missions and research projects".- Peter Rohloff M.D. Ph.D. Asso. Physician Global Health Equities Medical Director Wuqu' Kawoq Maya Health Alliance

"Most people think of volunteers as idealistic generous and courageous. Are we really? What do the so-called beneficiaries say? This book is a unique opportunity to hear the beneficiaries' voices and help us understand through some very vivid experiences some of the challenges of humanitarian work. Here is food for thought for all of us." - Daniela Abadi Doctors Without Borders (MSF) midwife and project coordinator

"Connie and Fran have written a remarkable book about the ways in which well intended philanthropic and development efforts in other countries often have the opposite impact. They've been watching this play out in Guatemala for several decades and as practitioners on the ground have also developed some powerful principles that maximize the possibility that development efforts will have a positive and lasting impact. In addition to being able to step back and draw on lessons these two women are really good storytellers."- Larry Dressler author of Standing in the Fire global facilitator for corporate development and co-founder of a Guatemalan non-profit

"Doing Good...Says Who? brings an insightful real life narrative to the challenges opportunities and truths of navigating cross-cultural relationships. Because I have taken groups to Guatemala for more than twenty-five years I am thrilled that there is now a book that provides a real life insider's view and practical tools to create healthy sustainable relationships / projects. The authors have both lived and learned by listening to the people and powerfully merging the complex realities of these many perspectives into a solid and truthful narrative. This will be my go-to-book for the people I take to Guatemala and all those I know in the not-for-profit and business arenas who want to 'Do Good' with others." - LeeAnn Heinbaugh MA Journeys In Living Santiago Atiltan Guatemala

"The writing is so lively interesting and well organized--so worthwhile for many. I could never imagine how you were going to put all the stories you had heard into a book--and how you would present the material without angering a lot of people who'd organized charitable efforts. You have done it splendidly."- Ann Cameron author of The Most Beautiful Place in the World and many other books.

"It is laudable that you are making the investment of time and effort to share your rich field experiences with others. Too often experiential learning remains locked up and so others do not benefit from mistakes and successes."- James E. Austin Emeritus Professor and Co-Founder of the Social Enterprise Initiative at the Harvard Business School Co-Author of Creating Value in Nonprofit &ndash Business Collaborations

"Doing Good...Says Who? speaks with directness wisdom and humor to the quandary we ministers face all the time -- how in trying to do good we inadvertently hurt or harm or hold back those we want to help. The book mainly focuses on foreign outreach but the lessons here are applicable in many many areas."- Rev. Stephen Kendrick author of Douglas and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader Struggled to End Slavery and Save the Union

"I have read this important piece of work and very much enjoyed it. The way that you have taken care to expose yet protect your subject is admirable." - Kristin Houck Executive Director Namaste Direct (microcredit NGO)

"In Doing Good...Says Who? reminds us that helping should be less about intention and more about attention &ndash including attention to the unintended consequences of our 'caregiving.' This book serves as a caution to those of us privileged enough to escape the negative impacts of development decisions that have more to do with funding and branding bureaucracies than the learning compassion and healing that can enable more stable peaceful communities." - Robert Zuber Ph.D Global Action non-profit consultant at the United Nations

"This book questions long-held assumptions and raises important questions on how to engage issues of global poverty. Most good sustainable development initiatives all start with an asset based community development framework that holds up local knowledge and resources and empowers people to do for themselves what needs to be done. This book re-enforces that fundamental truth."- Rob Radtke President Episcopal Relief

"Gracias de Corazon por todo el sacrificio y le agradesco al Director de Transcito que les dió sabiduria para lograr publicar este libro. Gracias de Corazon a nombre de las mujeres que protagonizaron este cada letras de este libro. Gracias."- Hilda Mendoza Guatemalan NGO staff

"Your work is important and needed. Your stories point to specific problems in mission that people need to be aware of as they deal with cross cultural challenges &hellip you've named them well. For example your story about Lucy and the medical clinic and the various experiences of people related to the clinic both the locals and the missioners are spot on and highlight significant challenges in mission work."- Rev. Dr. Ted Geiser Missionary/Director of Mission Development Episcopal Diocese of Colombia President of Global Episcopal Mission Network

"This book is a work of love and great respect for a country and people the authors know well. It will make a difference in how people try to "do good" in Guatemala and beyond."- Katharine Hobart Ph.D. Regional Advisor and Faculty Boston School of Social Work

"Impressive. Just in the Introduction a lot of major points ring true from my personal experience volunteering as a teenager and leading missions to El Salvador over the past three years. Also pedagogically I think this is spot on as far as being a wonderful resource for teens and young adults. Working with young people I've found that stories are the best way to invite them to engage challenging topics and question what they think are the "correct" answers."- Sam J. Gould Director of Youth Ministry Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts

"I really like the book. It should be required reading for all volunteers. When I was reading it I thought about the groups of kids on a mission from somewhere who we always see on the plane when we go to Guatemala. Each of those kids should have a copy."- Ruth Kassle

"If you take missionary work seriously this book is a must read. If you take cultural exchange seriously then this is the book for you. The stories invite you to understand more clearly what it means to preach the gospel at all times and use words when necessary. The authors teach us what it means to begin doing what is good true and beautiful which is as important at home as it is abroad. Take off your shoes when you read this book you are reading on holy ground."- The Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones former Jesuit missionary to Brazil and Priest for Pastoral Care at Trinity Wall Street

"The authors offer fresh and nuanced personal accounts of international volunteering a sector that has been booming in recent years. "Doing Good Says Who?" exposes intimate volunteer stories that move past the ubiquitous yet inaccurate dichotomies presented by the majority of literature in this field it is an authentic read which highlights the successes and challenges of working across cultures.

Over fifty years our own organization has evolved from a direct assistance "hand-out" approach to one that works ceaselessly to create a culture of collaboration in which a shared future is at stake. This is done through building partnerships mutual respect and community ownership as described in these accounts. This book is a great testimony and must read for all individuals and organizations in this sector."- Sara Nathan President &amp CEO Amigos de las Americas