If you’ve ever complained about how much a charity’s CEO earns or how much a charity spends on advertising instead of ‘doing’ then watch this Ted talk by Dan Pallotta:
There is definitely a balance to be gained here and I don’t agree entirely with everything he says but overall I think he makes a really great point that how we think about charities’ spending might be wrong.
The charity I volunteer for tries to have very low costs: we fold our newsletters to cut down on postage, use up our leaflets and t-shirts with old logos instead of just using the new ones so we don’t waste resources, print as much as we can in black and white instead of having pretty colours, etc. and I whole heartedly agree with this as it means that people’s donations can go as far as possible. However we also don’t spend very much money on marketing the charity either and after watching this I think that could be a mistake.
It’s a difficult balance as I know that I would probably want my money to go directly to a cause instead of just funding a campaign so that they can get the ‘real’ donations from a corporation but if that’s the best way to help the cause then maybe that would be for the best?
Everything donated, however small, really means a lot to the charity I volunteer for and because of the work it does we focus on raising awareness of its services instead of just funds. Should they perhaps be putting more money into bigger campaigns? Maybe. This talk has definitely given me something to think about. It must be added that I also don’t think you can purely measure a charity on the money involved, but that there’s also that whole hard-to-quantify area of ‘goodness’ it does too, but that might be a pondering for another day.