Everything You Know About Charity Is Wrong


August 11, 2014 by Brian


“I can’t remember a time at HolySmokes, after watching a video, that I felt this stupid.” – MG


That sentiment was unanimous among the group that gathered last night at The Grind.  The speaker in the video, Dan Pallotta, clearly, concisely  and systematically dismantles our inherent view of charities.  And, he makes the case that our puritan attitudes and sensibilities are, in fact, preventing and real solutions to the world’s problems.  The metrics we use to measure philanthropic endeavors, he says, are backwards and actually handicap the organizations most dedicated to the people and causes near and dear to our hearts.

Please…. seriously, please…  Watch this video.  It will change the way you think, too.

As we went around the room hearing how guys were going to be different this week as a result of the discussion, a couple themes emerged.

I would have done things a lot different if I had watched this video years ago.

Society had convinced me to feel a certain way about the way charities should operate.  I wonder what else I am wrong about.

In every other area of my life, I expect people to take risks to accomplish big things.  If they didn’t, I’d be pissed and fire them.  Why don’t we expect risk taking from our social service organizations. (see Matthew 25:14-30)

Is it OK to have self interest as a motivator to help others?  Yes.  I guess it is.  In fact, it is probably required in order to be successful.


3 thoughts on “Everything You Know About Charity Is Wrong

  1. Bill Bramer says:

    Hate to be a contrarian but some of you will recognize this and where it’s coming from. Assumptions I see here are 1. Throwing money at a problem will solve it. The more money, the sooner. 2. We can solve all the problems of the world if we just ……. 3. Calvinists did this to us. Principles to apply: 1. No we can’t solve all the problems of the world no matter how hard we try. 2. Charitable careers are nice but you can’t do charity with other people’s stuff. Ministers and other caring hearts chose their calling, not their salary. 3. We’re not all Calvinists. 4. More money does not equal more talent. 5. Charities he mentioned are not “incentivized” to accomplish things if the people working in it are paid – it’s their job. Researchers for example have very few places to go outside their current “employment”. These are why I do not believe in “paid fundraising” but inviting participation. Bottom line, find some people who are doing good work and join them as directly as possible with your time, talent and treasure – get your hands dirty.

  2. Brian says:

    Bill – You would have been the only detractor last night, which may have helped change our conclusions (or yours). Hope to see you again one of these Monday nights if you’re free! Cheers.

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