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Why we need to change the way we think about Charity

Dan Pallotta couldn’t be more right. In the TED talk that has everyone in the non-profit sector talking, Pallota urges us to change the way we think about charities. A shift towards his view of thinking would not only do wonders for the causes they support but also for the professionals looking for meaningful jobs.

In one of the more “tongue in cheek“ moments of his talk, Pallota points out the irony of an MBA graduate finding it more optimal to sit on a charity`s Board than to actually work for the charity itself. It certainly doesn`t make sense to us that top talent would be discouraged from working for important causes simply because of a stigma associated with paying their salary.

The key insight from Pallota`s talk about getting more professionals working for charitable organizations is expanding the pie and avoiding the traditional path of choosing between two suboptimal options; spending on “overhead“ or spending on “the cause“. Instead Palotta suggests an alternative path that is better than either option, which is to invest in the charity with bigger returns over the long term.

We at Bmeaningful believe in Palotta`s assessment, big challenges need big capital and lots of bright minds to make it happen. Our goal is to do exactly what Palotta suggests, and get more professionals into meaningful organizations.

Not convinced yet? Watch it and leave a comment letting us know what you think.

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  1. Justin
    May 28, 2013 at 3:19 am — Reply

    What a powerful and rational video! Basically the message is just to run a charity like a business, but with a philanthropic goal. Have you seen a rebuttal anywhere against this kind of thinking?

    • May 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm — Reply

      Justin, we are glad you agree with us. We love that his Ted Talk has sparked some dialouge about nonprofit management and people’s attitudes towards charities vs. for-profits. However, with every argument there are opposing beliefs. There’s the SSIR (Stanford Social Innovation Review) article that challenge some of his assertions and some blog posts like this one from the Osborne Group that raise some interesting questions. Overall, we agree with Pallota that we need to change the way we think about charity and that’s what we are trying to do with Bmeaningful! Let us know what you think of some of the rebuttals.

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