The Beggar is about professional fundraising for charity. The author is proud to use the word beggar and admires the street beggar's tenacity. Mr. Lewis has a refreshing, individual voice that is both practical and intimate. He speaks from his experience as a fundraiser and illustrates his points with many anecdotes. There are 47 chapters covering topics as diverse as Time, Envy, Xmas, Sweat Equity, Death, and Bumper Stickers. The chapters are short and can be read in any order, so this is a book to be dipped into as well as read through. As someone who has served as a volunteer and on the Boards of a variety of charitable organizations, I have seen many of the situations discussed in this book including overseeing finances, putting on events, and volunteering long hours. I have also sat through presentations by professional consultants hired to help our charities raise more funds. Most of what we were presented with concerned branding, grant applications, and strategies to compete with other similar organizations. While these topics are covered in The Beggar the focus is very different. The charity Mr. Lewis worked for most of his professional life was a Church based charity that helped the poor through a great variety of programs. Mr. Lewis takes a Christian perspective on his work and on charity in general, but don't let this deter you from reading this book if you have a different religious or spiritual orientation. Mr. Lewis' Christianity is not doctrinaire at all, and is full of gratefulness and generosity, especially toward the donors and volunteers that make the good work of charities possible. I recommend this book to those involved in fundraising or who work with charities in any capacity. It is a book to refresh the spirits and give new energy for the everyday hard work of keeping a charity up and running, doing the work that so many people have come to depend on. Mr. Lewis does not shy from writing about the hard work, long hours, low pay, frustrations, and many aspects of the human condition that are the familiar difficulties of fundraising for a charity. However, he stresses the honor, the love, the results in the real world that makes the work so satisfying personally. One caveat: the book could have used one more editing to catch simple problems. Full disclosure: I am thanked at the end for discussing some of the ideas in the book with Mr. Lewis.
Lewis' book is an excellent practical guide that briefly and clearly covers the skills necessary for successful fundraising. He speaks from decades of professional wisdom and experience. The text is reader friendly and straight to the point, loaded with useful tools and tips. Lewis' speaks common sense and knows what he's talking about! BEGGAR is an excellent resource and refresher for those ready to move to another level of growth and momentum. Highly recommended!