New Video: TED Talk: Rethinking Charity

Families that have fallen into the maelstrom of mental illness depend on many services provided by non-profit organizations. In New Jersey, 120 non-profit community mental behavioral health agencies provide critical services on which their loved ones depend.

Despite the epic scale of problems such non-profits must carry, financially speaking they do so dangerously emaciated. Non-profits struggle to fund themselves. They are unable to build the kind of scale that for-profit companies routinely do. Why is this?

In this very compelling TED Talk, philanthropic activist Dan Pallotta tells us why. It is because of the miserly why our society thinks about charity, confusing “morality with frugality”. If we really expect non-profits to conquer the enormous problems we want them to tackle, we have to treat them in many ways like for-profit companies, especially in terms of their funding, capital, and scale.

This is a very important talk for families in the maelstrom. Families must join the vanguard of public pressure to change the way we treat charities. Activists, providers, and helpers must also trumpet this message, overcoming the sneering suspicion or learned helplessness they often show towards “business” matters such as finance, documentation, compliance, management, strategy, measurement, accountability, incentives, bonuses, rewards, and entrepreneurship. Families and providers together must join this charge because their loved ones and clients need non-profit mental health agencies to be more strong, vibrant, effective, and efficient… like, dare we say, for-profit companies.

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