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Dan Pallotta at the TED conference in 2013. (TED)

Do We Have The Wrong Idea About Charity?

by NPR/TED Staff
May 17, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Giving It Away.

About Dan Pallotta's TEDTalk

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments, even if that comes with big expenses. In this talk, he says: Let's change the way we think about changing the world.

About Dan Pallotta

Everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional, says AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta. He aims to transform the way society thinks about charity and giving and change. Pallotta says there's a double standard between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Businesses are celebrated for risk-taking and focusing on financial incentive, while non-profits are sentenced to begging.

Pallotta believes the economic starvation of our nonprofits is why are not moving the needle on great social problems. Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of citizen philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees.

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