Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk – The way we think about charity is dead wrong


He makes some great points here. Why do we think it is wrong for the charity’s to benefit the people working for them as well as those they seek to help?

People get very annoyed about how charity money is spent – it must go to sick children! – but, you know what, that charity needs to buy stuff. Like computers or pens or paper. Obviously they do. How can your donation actually help people if the staff who are supposed to enact change aren’t properly supplied or remunerated? This stuff seems so basic.

Now, obviously, there are some potential pitfalls and, in 2013, critics of this argument can simply turn around and say “Kony 2012” to make Pallotta’s argument seem spurious. Sure, there is a terrible examples of style over substance which drags down the idea of focusing on marketing and fundraising. But, for all of Invisible Children’s problems – largely highlighted by development industry people, by the way – they did show the way in terms of making money and raising awareness.

Those are both things that charities desperately need to do, regardless of how poorly planned or ideologically suspicious their eventual interventions are. It is the way that it is.

We spend a lot of time concerning ourselves with the end bit, on how to create positive change in better ways; it is probably the main focus of the academic wing of the world of international development. To do any of these innovative or amazingly planned projects, you still need money.

Well worth watching (HT @rebecca_stagg).

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