DailyDirt: Changing The Way We Think About Charity

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

When we donate to charities, it’s never clear exactly where the money goes and whether our donations actually benefit the people they’re supposed to help. Many donors are often shocked and outraged when they learn that some executives at nonprofit charities are being paid salaries exceeding $1 million. But activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta thinks this anger is misplaced and could damage charity fundraising, pointing out that people blame capitalism for creating inequities in our society, but then they refuse to let nonprofits use the tools of capitalism to fix the problem. Here are a few more things to think about when it comes to charities.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Changing The Way We Think About Charity”

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Anonymous Coward says:


“In a recent TED talk, Pallotta suggested that charities should be rewarded for what they actually accomplish even if it costs a lot. People may not like the idea that their money is being used to pay for a charity’s CEO salary or for advertising and marketing, but they should think about it this way — investing in a capable leader and effective marketing efforts will significantly increase the amount of money raised that can then be used to help those in need.”

If CEO salaries were proportional to their actual worth compared to all the other employees put together, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. In reality, top CEOs’ salaries are way out of proportion to their relative contributions. Workers could manage themselves and still accomplish great things, but a CEO without workers isn’t worth a damn.

Beta (profile) says:

Scrooge saves the world

An organized charity has two purposes: 1) to help those poor illiterate starving Lower Slobbovians, and/or 2) to give warm fuzzy feelings to donors in exchange for their money.

If the second goal dominates, then the less said about what really goes the better. The charity serves its purpose whether or not it does any good for the poor, or even whether or not the poor people in question really exist. Competition between charities will destroy those that waste their money on actually helping people (although “help” that cripples a society can be useful to the charity in the long run).

To pursue the first goal, donors must demand results– real results, not just children’s letters in crayon. And for getting results, nothing beats…

You know, this time I think I’ll let somebody else take the heat for suggesting that capitalism is good for the poor.

Anonymous Coward says:

There’s no such thing as a for-profit charity that’s a business that makes/does charitable donations/deeds with it’s profits.

The main problem with a charity executive earning a $1 million salary is the vast number of people donating to that charity cold only dream of earning a similar salary. They are donating a portion of their relatively meagre income to a cause that they believe needs financial support, why is this executive in charge if they don’t care about the cause enough to take a much more modest salary and help the cause themselves.

Rob McMillin (profile) says:

Dan Pallotta, Scam Artist

Silicon Valley has created some of the most effective con men of our age, and so it is no surprise that someone like a Pallotta would arise and adopt their language and tenor. He takes every bad impulse of large charities — high overhead, large staffs, and mission creep — and turns them, somehow, from vices into virtues. But the approach he advocates in his TED talk would be utterly indistinguishable from that employed by the Humane Society of the United States and dozens of other money mills purporting to operate as charities, but which in fact are frauds perpetrated upon a gullible public.

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