Have you heard this statement before? In 2010, who believes that organizations can succeed without marketing?
Well, let me share who says this statement a lot - nonprofit professionals. And do you know why? If you have ever made a donation to a charity or volunteered for a nonprofit, you'll want to hear what author and Harvard Business Review blogger Dan Pallotta has to say. I heard him speak recently and he turns this sector on its heels.
Based on his book, Uncharitable:How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, Pallotta said his research has uncovered the history of nonprofit organizations to "Puritan notions of charity and self-denial."
Pallotta's company, Pallotta TeamWorks, was the for-profit brainchild behind several campaigns to raise funds for breast cancer and AIDS research and awareness, creating several nationwide, marathon-like events that raised millions. But its founder came under attack for violating the sacred premises of charitable organizations: low profile, low budget, and little or no profit.
Pallotta questions the assumption that charity and capitalism should be divided. He asks, "Don’t charitable causes deserve the same kind of competitive forces that work to get results in the for-profit sector? Wouldn’t social causes be better served if charitable organizations were headed by the kind of bright, aggressive executives that work in the for-profit sector?"
I absolutely concur! I've worked on the "inside" of the nonprofit sector at the national and regional levels, and found it frustrating that people thought we were only effective if we didn't spend more than 10-15% of "overhead" on administrative costs and fundraising. So, where did they place marketing expenses in the budget? On the program side. Sad.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that a for-profit, capitalistic approach can help us solve more of our society's problems?
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