An Interview with Author Jennifer Iacovelli

jennifer I lede

If Jennifer Iacovelli was a Star Wars figure, she’d be Darth Vader. Or  Chewbacca.

This says nothing of her menacing presence or considerable hair. She’s an original, part of the inaugural cast of characters when this blog could fit into a closet. She chimed in for my Men vs. Women dual post with Chris Carter of The Mom Cafe.

Jennifer’s not only a valued friend – she’s also talented, driven and philanthropic.

That happens to be a dynamite combination. Jennifer’s book, Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day, suggests 40 ideas to make the world a better place.

Know what I love about this book? The ways Jennifer suggests involvement. It’s one thing to introduce models for simple giving to make our world a better place; it’s quite another to put these ideas into motion in ways even a guy like me can do.

I had opportunity for a conversation with Jennifer about the book – and the incredible journey of nurturing it from idea to bookshelf.

# # #

If I didn’t write about simple giving, my brain would probably explode!

CD: Why this book, this topic? Why now?

JI: If I didn’t write about simple giving, my brain would probably explode!

I’ve been writing the Philanthropy Friday series on my blog, another jennifer, since 2011. I feature people and businesses who incorporate giving into everyday life. Truth be told, I was looking for ideas when I started it! Being in the nonprofit field for 10 years and often seeing a disconnect between donors and organizations made me think more about how there are so many more ways to give than just donating money or volunteering time.

CD: Who are some of the people who’ve helped you along this journey?

Over time, I’ve developed some wonderful connections with NGOs, social entrepreneurs and other socially-minded people. I stepped back and saw six different giving models from my Philanthropy Friday series and just started putting everything I’ve learned over the past few years into the book. It’s been quite the journey.

So many people. My literary agent, who also happens to be my former father-in-law, is the first person who comes to mind. He loved my idea for the book, and took me on as a client. He walked me through the process of outlining, pitching, writing, and promoting a book. He went through my book contract with me line by line – it took two hours! Without him, I never would have finished the book, or get the contract in the first place.

Then there was Ilene and Alexa, who helped keep me accountable for my writing. My parents took my boys when I needed to just escape from the world and write. It takes a village!

CD: Describe the feeling when that first box of books arrived.

Elation. I first got the galleys. It was amazing to see it all in print, in actual book form. When I saw the final product, complete with French flaps, I almost cried. I have to admit, I loved the way they felt in my hands.

My hope is that the book makes giving top of mind every day.

CDWriters dream of this moment. What did it mean to you? Especially given the subject matter … this is something you care so much about.

JI: It meant I finally had the opportunity to share thoughts on re-defining philanthropy with the world. That I got past the self-doubt and accomplished a lifelong dream.

CD: Is there anything else we should know about this book? And how can we get it?

Let’s see. The book has lots of stories, much like my Philanthropy Friday posts, as well as resources and action steps. So I’m not just talking about giving. I’m showing how others are giving, talking about my own giving and, hopefully, inspiring others to give in their own way. My hope is that the book makes giving top of mind every day. You can purchase it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound, Hudson Booksellers,,, etc.

And, of course, your local bookstore! If they don’t have it in stock, you can ask them to order it. 🙂

On another note, I am looking for people to leave a  review of the book on Amazon as well. I haven’t pushed that aspect much, but it definitely helps authors. If you’ve read the book and feel comfortable, I would love a review from you!



I’m giving away my copy of Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day. To enter to win, just leave a comment by midnight, Jan. 30. I’ll draw a winner at random. U.S. residents only.


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  1. this book, and she, sound wonderful. i am all about finding ways to give and to give back. thanks for the interview, eli, and thanks for whiting this, jennifer )

  2. I won’t enter because I have this book, but I love this interview. I love Jennifer’s considerable hair. I love my very minor part in this beautiful book. I love that Ilene and Alexa helped.
    I loved that this book prevented your brain from exploding!

  3. Love this post. In a time when so much of the news and even what’s going on personally in my life, can make one feel down, this book is perfect. I think that is what keeps us going – a sense of humanity and doing good for one another. You really can’t beat the feeling of genuinely helping someone.

  4. I think your idea is brilliant and practical. Wishing you all the best (especially as you begin to write a volume 2. At least I’m sensing there’s enough material and passion for #2, when the time is right)!

  5. LOVE this. Jennifer is an incredible inspiration to us all. “Simple Giving” is the greatest hands-on resource that really everyone needs to have in their ‘back pocket’ for use…

    Well done Eli! And btw- Those posts are still my all time favorite. ❤

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