Any one of the millions of people of who have read Colleen Hoover’s books, that can attest to her talent in writing. The stats, reviews, awards, and best selling titles speak very clearly for her work. But, what isn’t pushed into the public’s eye quite as much, is Colleen’s kind heart. Perhaps it’s because of her spunky sarcasm in general, or more than likely it’s because of her humble approach at giving back. Either way, the purpose in Colleen’s fundraising isn’t for the publicity or for the face, but rather for the actual cause at hand.
Since 2015 Colleen has been growing a fundraiser called the The Bookworm Box This project has raised over $850,000 for people in need. The concept is quite simple. Subscribers of the box receive author signed books, and then the proceeds are donated. Another special feature of this phenomenally creative way of giving back, is that the base location for the Bookworm Box is also a specialty bookstore! Every book on the shelves of this store is signed and donated by the author who wrote it! Amazing right?
On behalf of The Conscious Talk Magazine, I recently had the opportunity to ask Colleen a few questions about her experience with the process of donating, and the fulfillment brought about by such selflessness. She strongly encourages others to give back to the community and to people in need. The following is our short yet very heartfelt interview:
CTM: Colleen, is there any particular family or organization that you’ve donated to that stood out above the rest, and why?
Colleen: I have two, actually. Our very first donation went to Joey Benton’s foundation, a young man who is diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. He was only twelve at the time of the donation, but I’ve always been very inspired by his attitude. Another of my favorites is Author J.B. McGee. We were able to assist her family in purchasing a van to transport her wheelchair bound child. It’s always great to see when the donations have an immediate impact on changing the lives of a family.
CTM: What advice do you have for someone new to giving back?
Colleen: I don’t consider myself an expert to the point that I have great advice. But I do know that you don’t have to give back in a financial way. Many people feel helpless, but volunteering at local shelters and non-profits only takes time and time is free. And it’ll make you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.
CTM: Have you ever considered expanding the Bookworm Box to another location overseas?
Colleen: I would love to expand, but at this point, we’re still building the store and our subscription service. We aren’t at a point where we can expand because we still need all the autographed book donations we can get. If we attempted to expand, we’d be cutting into the work our bookstore is still trying to build. But I’m definitely not against it. It’s my goal to open other locations, but I think that’s a few years down the road.
CTM: Are there any particular thoughts you would like to share with your readers and fellow authors about giving back to the community in general?
Colleen: I have seen many amazing things come from authors and readers in this community. Daily, there are inspiring stories of people helping others. I do sometimes see comments about how giving should be something done in private and I’ve seen people be shamed for sharing a good deed they did. And while I do agree to not needing recognition on personal level, I’ve also seen how one person’s generosity can inspire another person’s generosity, creating a chain reaction that resonates on a much larger scale. Of course we all do things in private that hopefully we don’t need recognition for. We might tip our waitress extra if she’s having a bad day, or donate our clothing to a family in need. Not everything needs to be detailed in a public way, but I fear sometimes it’s become taboo to talk about the things a person does for charity. Having seen firsthand what word-of-mouth can do and the inspiration it can provide others, I encourage people to share the things they do for charities. It might inspire others to do the same.
CTM: Thank you so much Colleen Hoover! Thanks for your time, your amazing books, and for everything you have done to give back to your readers and the people around you in need. You’re truly one of a kind, and will be remembered for ages to come!