Leadership and The Workplace

Nonprofit Spark

Renee McGivern

Nonprofit Spark – In depth with Nonprofit Sector Innovator Dan Pallotta – 09/05/11

On this week’s show, I speak with nonprofit sector innovator and author Dan Pallotta who is challenging Americans’ long-held beliefs about charities that he says constrain nonprofits from solving the problems of the world.

Pallotta invented the multi-day AIDSRides and Breast Cancer 3-Days Walks, fundraisers that have gone on for so long now that we forget there was a time they didn’t exist. In the nine years his for-profit company ran these events, $581 million was raised, netting $305 million for those causes. Then critics began yelling about his company’s 40% administrative costs and participating charities reacted; they stopped working with his company and he had to close it down.

The negative reaction to the administrative expenses despite the wild success of the fundraising events shocked Pallotta: What is it that would make nonprofit leaders, their boards and the public attack the success of raising $305 million over nine years to fight AIDS and breast cancer? His search for an answer formed the basis of his paradigm-busting book, Uncharitable: How Restraints On Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential.

Pallotta is now Founder and Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity, and he’s the founder and president of the Charity Defense Council. He also blogs for the Harvard Business Review.

Don’t miss this candid, thought-provoking interview.