Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential (Paperback)
Uncharitable goes where no other book on the nonprofit sector has dared to tread. Where other texts suggest ways to optimize performance inside the existing charity paradigm, Uncharitable suggests that the paradigm itself is the problem and calls into question our fundamental canons about charity. Dan Pallotta argues that society’s nonprofit ethic creates an inequality that denies the nonprofit sector critical tools and permissions that the for-profit sector is allowed to use without restraint. These double standards place the nonprofit sector at an extreme disadvantage. While the for-profit sector is permitted to use all the tools of capitalism, the nonprofit sector is prohibited from using any of them. Capitalism is blamed for creating inequities in our society, but charity is prohibited from using the tools of capitalism to rectify them—and ironically, this is all done in the name of charity. This irrational system, Pallotta explains, has its roots in four-hundred-year-old Puritan ethics that banished self-interest from the realm of charity. The ideology is policed today by watchdog agencies and the use of so-called efficiency measures, which Pallotta argues are flawed, unjust, and should be abandoned. By declaring our independence from these obsolete ideas, Pallotta theorizes, we can dramatically accelerate progress on the most urgent social issues of our time. Uncharitable is an important, provocative, timely, and accessible book—a manifesto about equal economic rights for charity. This edition has a new, updated introduction by the author.
Dan Pallotta founded Pallotta Team-Works, the company that invented the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer Three-Day events, which raised over half a billion dollars and netted $305 million in nine years—more money, raised more quickly, for these causes than any known private event operation in history. The company had more than three hundred and fifty full-time employees in sixteen US offices, was the subject of a Harvard Business School case study, and fundamentally reinvented the paradigm for special event fundraising in America.
“Everyone who cares about nonprofit organizations and their potential accomplishments—from journalists to sophisticated donors to foundation officials—should read this book. They’ll surely be convinced that fundraising ratios and program expense ratios are a silly, useless, and even fraudulent way to compare “efficiency” across nonprofit organizations.”
— Stanford Social Innovation Review