What Matters to Donors?

For too many decades, nonprofits leaders have been plagued by the fear of overhead:  too high and risk losing donors; too low and risk insufficient capacity to do all that needed doing.  Then, Dan Pallotta did his famous TedTalk, the Overhead Myth letters came out from the three watchdog groups and Bridgespan and the Ford Foundation jointly suggested that it was time for donors to revamp their funding paradigm.

But, did things change?  Sadly, no.  Yes, there was a greater willingness to discuss the absurdity of Read more

No Such Thing as Overhead

In a comment on a recent discussion board post, a master’s student of mine commented that the three signers of the well-known “Overhead Myth” letters had taken a great risk and made great progress in doing so.  I delicately questioned just what she thought the risk was and just what she saw as the progress made.  I pointed out that the first letter was written in 2013, the second in 2014.  Here we were, three years after the second letter hit the airwaves, and more Read more

Charity Case

In March 2013, Dan Pallotta’s iconic TedTalk, “The way we think about charities is dead wrong,” was released; since that time, it has received over 4 million views.  If you aren’t among those four million, and nor are the staff and board of your organization, correct that oversight immediately.

In June of that same year, the three nonprofit watchdog groups (GuideStar, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, and Charity Navigator), released the first of their two letters trying to debunk the overhead myth—the very thing that they Read more

You’re Overhead

This semester, I taught one class in nonprofit management in La Salle’s MBA program and another in its Masters in Nonprofit Leadership program.  And while I have taught the former for about 10 years, this is only the third time I taught this in the Nonprofit Leadership Master’s. But this was the first time I have had the opportunity to teach them simultaneously, and it was interesting to compare the two student groups.

At the end of the semester, I learned that the most influential activity Read more

I Teach Philanthropy

Dan Pallotta’s been getting a lot of attention lately.   While I find his message a bit of “heard that before,” I still enjoy hearing his message because of the different ways I receive it.  My response varies depending upon what I’ve been working on or thinking or talking about;  like rereading a good book, wondering how you missed something in an earlier read.

Because I’ve been thinking a lot about philanthropy, his question, whether explicit or not, on who is the true philanthropist really resonated. Who?  Read more

November 1st, 2013 1 Comment

Bill and Dan’s Excellent Adventures

I hold in high regard people who have the courage to walk the path less traveled, challenge others regardless of where they are on the org chart or in life, and swim in the waters of controversy.  As summer comes to an end,  I share with you the ideas of two people whose “different” view of things have hung around longer than either might have expected.

In 2008, Bill Schambra, then and now director of the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal at Hudson Institute, Read more