In this podcast, I go solo. Rather than interviewing others, I share with you the best of the work I do to help organizations develop more engaging narratives and tell better stories. Learn why narrative is uniquely powerful as well as the recipe for a good story – whether in a Hollywood screenplay or a one-to-one conversation.
Q&A: DAN PALLOTTA, CHARITY CASE: How the Non-Profit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the WorldWritten on August 15th, 2014
When someone approaches you to donate to a non-profit, how many of you want to know how much of of its money goes to salaries and fund-raising and how much goes to actual program services? If you’re like most people, that question probably figures into your decision.
I myself have factored that question of how much is spent on overhead into my charitable giving. But is it a valid or wise way to make such decisions? According to today’s guest, DAN PALLOTTA, while it may be helpful, much more important is how well they serve their mission, how good a job they’re doing solving the problems you care about.
In his earlier book, UNCHARITABLE, Pallotta, who has a record of helping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for causes, made the case that the way we think about non-profits and the rules we set for them, makes it harder for them to succeed on a truly significant scale. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). Where other folks suggest ways to optimize performance inside the existing paradigm, UNCHARITABLE suggests that the paradigm itself is the problem and calls into question our fundamental beliefs about charity.
With a new book, CHARITY CASE: How the Non-Profit community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World and in a recent very popular TED talk, he says “My goal … is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.”
Last July in an interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama said that “the mistake” of the early years of his presidency was his failure to be a better storyteller.
“The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important, but the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.” In a second term, he said, he would “spend more time with the American people, listening to them, but also being in a conversation with them about where do we go as a country?”
This week’s show is not about Obama or politics. It’s about story and narrative. My guest is JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL author of THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL.
The late evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould called humans “the primate who tells stories…” And it’s not just Gould. Anthropologists have found societies that have existed for millennia without the wheel, but they’ve never found one that doesn’t tell stories.
My website leads with a quote: “On the radio, I tell stories of a world that just might work. As a consultant, I help you tell yours.” Building on time as a teacher, two decades in the entertainment industry, and 15 years of radio interviews, I help non-profits, foundations, public agencies, and businesses to tell better stories and build better narratives.
I’m eager to learn from Jonathan what the latest science has to tell us. Why is narrative so powerful? What is its evolutionary value? And can what we’re learning help us get even better at tapping its power?
Free Forum Q&A: TERRENCE McNALLY Turning the tables, my turn to answer Qs interviewed by Sara DavidsonWritten on February 4th, 2014
I am going to take a hiatus from this show in a few weeks, for the first time in 17 years. I need to focus on some other projects, including a book I’m writing, and won’t be able to afford the time to produce and host this show probono.
In anticipation of this upcoming break, I will be the guest this week and SARA DAVIDSON, best-selling author of Loose Change and Leap, whose new book, The December Project will come out in March, will be interviewing me. I’ve long thought it is only fair that I have to answer a few questions and this week it’s going to happen.
My guest will be NORA BATESON, and we’ll talk about AN ECOLOGY OF MIND, the wonderful documentary she’s made about her father, the late anthropologist GREGORY BATESON. He saw reality as made up of relationships and systems and had a big impact on a lot of people’s worldview in the late 60s and early 70s, myself included.
NORA BATESON is a media producer and educator. Her work includes documentaries, multimedia productions, magazine columns, and developing curriculum for elementary and high school students. Central to all her pursuits is the idea of utilizing media and storytelling to encourage cultural understanding, social justice, and environmental awareness.