Is attitude holding not for profits back from success?  Dan Pallotta believes so.

This year Dan Pallotta presented at TED2013.  The TED site says “Dan Pallotta created two huge charity initiatives — AIDS Rides bicycle journeys and Breast Cancer 3-Day events. These initiatives raised $108 million for HIV/AIDS and $194 million for breast cancer. Both had their best years in 2002 … and then Pallotta’s nonprofit went out of business.”

He believes that the not for profit sector is being handicapped by the attitudes towards them:

1.  People in not for profit organisations should not be paid as much as those in for profit businesses.

2.  Not for profits should not spend money on advertising and promotion.

3.  Not for profits should not try anything new.

The biggest problem here is that not for profit organisations MUST be run as any other for-profit business and that means paying for quality staff and marketing their story so they can expand their impact.

Yet Pallotta says that for some reason, people believe that any organisation labelled as a charity or not for profit should be holding the money tight to their chests and funnelling it straight to the cause.

Low overheads are difficult to achieve no matter what industry you are in but without some sort of expenditure a not for profit will go out of business just as surely as Pallotta’s did.

And so next time you’re investigating at charity, he pleads: “Don’t ask about the size of their overhead — ask about the size of their dreams.”

Click on the image below and watch Pallotta present his argument and then tell us what you think.  Is he right?  Do we expect not for profits to work differently?

not for profits