Best Ted Talk of the Week: Dan Pallotta

On the web: The way we think about charity is dead wrong…Dan Pallotta

The question is, what do you think? Are we doing this non-profit thing wrong? Is it bad to make money while helping other people?

My random thoughts:

Corporations make money by convincing us, first, that we have a need, and second, that they can fulfill that need. This is simply marketing 101. What if…we heard…time after time…day after day…that we were lacking…that we NEED something? What kind of effect would that marketing have on society?

What if…instead…we heard that we could change the world…time after time…day after day. Would we live in a world full of people who believed they could make a difference, instead of one that thought nothing was good enough? What if marketing was about matching resources with needs…instead of first convincing the consumer they have a need?

We hold our cash tight because they might use it for marketing…but what if these non-profit organizations use it to pay their CEOs a competitive wage, market their product, AND help in their area of focus?

I cringe every time I open my mail and take out another advertisement from World Vision. How much do they spend on mail? … I take pride in the United Methodist Committee on Relief and the fact that church members pay admin costs while 100% of donations go directly to the cause. But what if we could spend more on advertising and help more people?

I know there are many obstacles to changing this way of thinking (people already get very upset over $200,000 salaries for CEOs of non-profits…I can’t imagine the outrage if we sought out and paid for the best of the best!) I could see how this change in thinking could make a big difference in some of the foundational ways we think and live in the world.

Of course, this kind of change would bring corporate corruption to the non-profit world. But…what if…it’s worth it?

Next time I open my mailbox to a bright orange World Vision envelope, maybe I will see some more complexity in the process…and cringe a bit less.


Leave a Reply