Today I’d like to discuss the fourth point which Dan Pallotta addresses in his “TED Talk”: “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong” (you can find the video here in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/he/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html?source=facebook#.UUgVUSeiOi1.facebook ), which is that there are different expectations for non-profits versus for-profit companies, in terms of how much time a company is allowed to invest in a big idea.
Dan states that in the for-profit world, it is understood that (for example, with a new company), in the first few (or more) years, the company may not be able to return any profit to its investors. The investors understand that there is a long-term objective down the line, and are willing to be patient in order to “reap their rewards”. However, Dan asserts, if a NGO wanted to invest in a major project that would require that for several years no money would go to the cause, “we would expect a crucifixion” (DP).
The non-profit world is structured in a way that we cannot invest funds into a big idea; the money must be distributed immediately to the cause. This is a very tricky situation, and I don’t think there is an easy answer. The only thing I can think of is, perhaps NGOs can be allowed to set aside some funds each year in order to eventually fund their big idea … although by then it may be too late ….
Anyone out there have a suggestion or advice for this conundrum?