8 Mar

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Photos: James Duncan Davidson

Photos: James Duncan Davidson

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.

In the final session of TED2013, Pallotta shares why that happened: Major sponsors pulled out following a slew of bad press over the idea that his organization was investing 40% of their gross into recruitment and customer service. The backlash came from our basic — and wrong — cultural understanding of charity.

“What we know about charity and the nonprofit sector is undermining the causes we believe in and our desire to change the world,” says Pallotta. We expect businesses and nonprofits to use “two separate rulebooks,” he suggests.

“Business will move the mass of humanity forward, but will always…

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