Guest book review—When helping hurts: Alleviating poverty without hurting the poor…and yourself

The following is Donn Hansum’s book review of  When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.

by Donn Hansum, Director at Volunteers in Action

This book has recently been very helpful to me in understanding how many times efforts to help the materially poor actually have hurt them and ourselves in the process. Corbett and Fikkert, through a solid biblical perspective, help us take a hard look at the ways churches, helping organizations and individual Christians have looked at the materially poor and the methods used in trying to alleviate poverty.

The book presents foundational concepts, general principles and practical strategies for “helping without hurting.” I particularly appreciated ideas and concepts that Volunteers in Action can apply in our programs and service projects. This book has been thought provoking and inspiring to me. I recommend it to anyone who is serious about “loving your neighbor as yourself” in a truly helpful and healthy way.

On Nonprofit Street, we are always interested in hearing what you have to say about topics related to the nonprofit sector. If you are interested in writing a guest blog for Nonprofit Street, please email Collin Lessing at JVA Consulting at


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