The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong – That is the title of Dan Pallotta’s TED talk which has created quite a buzz in the nonprofit sector and beyond. Since Pallotta’s talk was posted in March 2013, it has already been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
Having had the privilege of hearing Dan deliver this message twice in person did not at all minimize the impact when I watched this video.
JGA had the pleasure to host Dan in Indianapolis in November 2012, and Dan was kind enough to sign his book, Uncharitable, for our clients and friends. Since then, Dan has a new book out entitled Charity Case.
Richard Mark’s recent blog for Wise Philanthropy, makes the point that Pallotta’s theories are not new and, in fact, that many funders believe in the need to invest in the nonprofit sector for critical management and marketing issues. He proposes that the attention received by Pallotta’s talk is based upon the right message at the right time and that there is a need for a much broader discussion of how we invest in our nonprofit organizations to avoid characterizing investments that don’t go directly to serving the needy as “bloated bureaucracy.”
At JGA, we have the opportunity to review our clients development results via our development audit process, and we believe that sound investment in leadership, resource development, and programmatic planning are key to maximizing impact that our nonprofit clients.
We do not view this investment as unnecessary overhead but rather a smart self-investment in the future.
One of JGA’s long-term clients, The Villages is using Dan’s book, Uncharitable, as required reading for its key staff and board leadership, and I will be facilitating a discussion about the book to identify areas of investment that can strengthen their already incredible impact on children and families.
I encourage each of you to watch Dan’s TED talk and to read his books – and to challenge yourself to look beyond our current thinking about the resources we invest in our nonprofit organizations to make true change.