And if you do not take the eighteen minutes to listen to Pallotta at least hear these three quotes:
We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people.Interesting that we don't have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money not helping other people.You know, you want to make 50 million dollars selling violent video games to kids, go for it. We'll put you on the cover of Wired magazine. But you want to make half a million dollars trying to cure kids of malaria,and you're considered a parasite yourself.
Connected to this quote above, there is a great little bit Pallotta has about rich people getting the title "philanthropist" when they give $100,000. It might be worth noting that the title "philanthropist" is not given to the directors, leaders or paid staff of a non-profit.
Now a little bit on the curse of "overhead":
So we've all been taught that charities should spend as little as possible on overhead things like fundraising under the theory that, well, the less money you spend on fundraising,the more money there is available for the cause.Well, that's true if it's a depressing world in which this pie cannot be made any bigger. But if it's a logical world in which investment in fundraising actually raises more funds and makes the pie bigger,then we have it precisely backwards, and we should be investing more money, not less,in fundraising, because fundraising is the one thing that has the potential to multiply the amount of money available for the cause that we care about so deeply.
So the next time you're looking at a charity, don't ask about the rate of their overhead. Ask about the scale of their dreams,their Apple-, Google-, Amazon-scale dreams, how they measure their progress toward those dreams,and what resources they need to make them come true regardless of what the overhead is. Who cares what the overhead is if these problems are actually getting solved?
The final quote is a reason why I connect to the global church known as the United Methodist Church which has four "Amazon-scale" dreams.