Dan Pallotta has caused a bit of controversy with his recent TEDTalk, “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong.” His talk is brilliant in that he opened up a much needed dialogue about how our view of charitable giving and nonprofit management stifles the nonprofit organizations we want to see grow and flourish in our communities.
We judge a nonprofit by how well they utilize their budget in financing their programs and causes, yet we expect big results from relatively small budgets. From a logistics standpoint, you can only do so much with an extremely limited budget that barely covers the operational costs of an organization. So why are we so quick to criticize nonprofits when they don’t operate on the level we expect them to? Pallotta explores these questions. What if we invested in our nonprofit organizations like we invested in our for-profit enterprises? What if we gave nonprofit organizations the opportunity to create and lead meaningful campaigns to educate their community about their causes and the programs? What if we gave nonprofit organizations half the chance we give for-profit entities? This type of support doesn’t need to cost Bill Gates type funding as much as it does a stable community support system.
With government funding and private foundation grants becoming increasingly harder to come by, support for causes that are important in our communities comes from the communities that they serve. If we want to see these organizations and their programs flourish, we should invest in their missions, their innovative programs and their social entrepreneurs and support individuals that carry out the work of these organizations. Currently we’re half-hearted in our support of the nonprofit organizations we want to see succeed; it’s unfair of us to expect nonprofit organizations to operate at full capacity with half-hearted funding. Pallotta’s call to action to change the way we view and fund nonprofit organizations is necessary and relevant.
So thank you Dan Pallotta, thank you for opening up a dialogue about the way we fund nonprofit organizations and offering solutions on how to resolve the age old problem of how to help support underfunded organizations and programs in our community.