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.”
VAN JONES is Co-Founder and President of REBUILD THE DREAM, and a co-founder of three other successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. Jones served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009, and is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All. He holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the author of The Green Collar Economy.