Dan PallottaIt was quite unusual how I connected with Dan Pallotta.  Originally I was invited to a presentation in Los Angeles, CA that was hosted by the Milkin Institute where Dan was to be a presenter.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Dan’s presentation.

Two weeks later my assistant, Jennifer Godbout, was doing some research in the library, and she noticed a book, “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential,” and thought that it would be a good book for me to read and review.  She brought Dan’s book back to the office,  I told her the story about my invitation to go to Los Angeles to hear Dan speak for she was unaware that I had been invited to this event.

What a serendipitous set of circumstances that then lead me to contact Dan, and the interview you are about to listen too.

In our interview together we discuss the ideology that charities have been organized by for 100’s of years.  Unfortunately, this ideology is preventing charities from being able to reach their full potential because of all of the restraints and restrictions this ideology has created in the cultures of these charitable organizations.

We discuss the five major restraints that impede charity: compensation, advertising, vision, learning and capital.

Compensation: We allow the for-profit sector to pay people millions, but don’t want anyone paid a high salary in charity. This sends most of our top talent directly into the for-profit sector and gives our youth mutually exclusive choices between making a difference and making money.
Advertising: We let Apple and Coca-Cola inundate us with advertising, but don’t want important causes “wasting” donations on paid advertising. As a result, the voices of our great causes are largely muted while consumer products get lopsided access to our attention, 24 hours a day.
Vision: We let for-profit companies invest in the long-term, but want our charitable donations spent immediately in this fiscal year to help the needy. That means charities can’t set aside funds to develop long-term solutions.
Learning: We aren’t upset when Paramount makes a $200 million movie that fails, but if a charity experiments with a bold new fundraising event that disappoints we want heads to roll. So our charities are petrified of trying any bold new endeavors and are unable to develop the powerful learning curves the for-profit sector can.
Capital: We let for-profit companies raise massive capital in the stock market by offering investment returns, but we forbid the payment of a financial return in charity. Thus the for-profit sector monopolizes the capital markets while charities are left to beg for donations.


Dan is extremely well versed in the charitable world.  His organization Pallotta Teamworks created the AIDS Rides, The AIDS Vaccine Rides, the African Aids Trek, the original Breast Cancer 3-Day walks, and the original, Out of the Darkness suicide prevention overnight event.

These events grossed $556 million in donor contributions and netted $305 million for charity after all expenses and raised these funds more quickly for these causes that any known private event operation in history.

Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, is for anyone who would like to better understand about the history of charity, and the inherent challenges they are faced with in becoming even more effective in helping their respective causes. If the restraints were lifted the glass ceiling would be removed and charities could operate on an equal playing ground to the for profit sector.

If you would like to learn more about Dan Pallotta and his organization please click here.  If you want to know more about his book please click here.

Enjoy my interview with Dan Pallotta, a man on a mission to wake up the charitable sector and accelerate the opportunities to do good in the world.

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