Hi, I’m Joe Waters. Welcome to Selfish Giving.

If you're interested in hiring me to speak at your next event, start with my speaking page. If you're interested in hiring me to consult with your organization, email me at joe@selfishgiving.com, or use the contact form further down on the page.

Snapshot of Me

  • I'm a Massachusetts-based consultant who has a wicked Boston accent.
  • I help nonprofits and businesses raise money and make money with win-win partnerships that change lives. I'm interested in the business of cause
  • I write the web's leading cause marketing blog, Selfish Giving.
  • With Megan Strand, I co-host CauseTalk Radio.
  • I'm co-instructor of the New Strategies Program at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. 
  • I spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector and raised millions of dollars from local, regional and national corporate partners.
  • I'm the author of three books: Fundraising with Businesses, Cause Marketing for Dummies and QR Codes for Dummies.
  • I'm a professional speaker who has presented to hundreds of organizations.
  • I've written for many publications, including Fast Company, Huffington Post, Forbes, Mediapost, Hubspot, Nonprofit Quarterly, QSR Magazine, Chronicle of Philanthropy and Healthcare Philanthropy Journal. You can view my online writing portfolio here.
Me with team members at Finagle-a-Bagel in Boston. They raised $25,000 for my nonprofit with coin canisters.

Me with team members at Finagle-a-Bagel in Boston. They raised $25,000 for my nonprofit with coin canisters.


  • I've been quoted in The New York Times, Reuters, INC.com, The Nonprofit Times and many other publications. I've also appeared on HuffPost Live

My Blog

I started Selfish Giving in December 2004 to share all the things I had previously shared via email.

          An early version of the Selfish Giving logo

          An early version of the Selfish Giving logo

Truthfully, I think people got sick of getting five emails a day from me with the subject line “Did you see this?” Moving to a blog just seemed, well, easier and less intrusive. Everyone agreed - especially my mom who suggested I move to a blog in the first place!

The goal of my blog is simple: To give do-gooders, nonprofits and businesses the tools and strategies they need to raise money, build stakeholder loyalty and change the world. It's called cause marketing.

I define cause marketing as a partnership between a nonprofit and for-profit for mutual profit. See my quick start page on cause marketing for more information links to key posts.

Many people ask me about the name of my blog. "Why did you call it Selfish Giving?" Back in 2004 when I started blogging I wanted to pick a name that captured what I did but also got people's attention. 

My colleague at the time, Joanna MacDoanald, with whom I wrote Cause Marketing for Dummies, helped me narrow down my choices. I chose Selfish Giving because it plainly described what cause marketing is: a partnership between a business and a nonprofit from which both partners profit. The intentions of both partners are altruistic and self-serving.


What I've Done and What I Do Now

Before starting my own business I was the director of cause marketing for a Boston hospital. I started their cause marketing program in 2004 and oversaw a team of marketing, sales and event professionals. 

I’ve developed and executed campaigns with many local and national companies.

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Today, my site is 100% focused on helping you achieve your cause-related goals. Your success is my cause!

Contact Joe »

To check my availability for a speaking, writing or consulting project, schedule a time to meet or talk. 

If you have additional questions, submit a message and I'll get back to you within 24 hours.

The Best Way to Stay in Touch With Me

After reading my blog, signing up for my email newsletter will ensure you never miss a post on this blog or anywhere else where I post content.

I'm active on most social networking sites. You can see them on the top right of this page. However, my tool of choice is Twitter. My handle is @joewaters.


When You Have Questions

Start by searching my blog. If you don't find what you are looking for email me at joe@selfishgiving.com. Twitter is easier because replies are short!

My Backstory (if you are interested in that kind of stuff)

         That's me on the right ... I think.

         That's me on the right ... I think.

I grew up in a working class family in Brockton, Massachusetts. My twin brother - Jeff - and I are the youngest of seven children.

My childhood was full of adventures with my brother and our friends. Brockton during the 1970's was a great place to grow up. But my neighborhood also had its share of poverty, alcoholism and abuse.

My earliest memory of fundraising was going door-to-door on Labor Day weekend asking for donations to the Jerry Lewis Telethon

After high school, I went to Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. After classes I worked the graveyard shift at a local hospital. One of my first jobs was working in a hospital linen room, which was right across from the morgue. In time, I also mopped floors, made beds and worked in the emergency room registering patients. 

I've worked with many hospitals since 1983. Thankfully, I've never spent a night in one!

After Stonehill, I went to the Pennsylvania State University where I studied rhetorical criticism and early American public address. I thought I would stick around for a doctorate, but I didn't. I finished my masters and went back to Boston. I accepted a temporary fundraising job at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Yep, the same charity I collected money for as a kid). 

From MDA I went to the Arthritis Foundation, The Boston Chamber of Commerce, spent a year in public television and then to New England's largest safety net hospital.

This sounds like a steady work history, but it wasn't. There were detours, experiments and dead ends along the way.

But two things stuck. An interest in working with businesses and nonprofits and a passion for new practices, technology and anything that works efficiently and effectively. 

In 2011, I started my own business and specialize in cause marketing along with corporate giving, content marketing, nonprofit branding, social media and mobile technology. 


Trevor Delaney of Hop Creative designed by website. My Selfish Giving logo was designed by Mikhalea Craig of MJ Studio 360. I highly recommend both Trevor and Mikhalea.