Insights into Ice Buckets of Charitable Giving

This Harvard Business Review post by Dan Pallotta, The Ice Bucket Challenge Won’t Solve Charity’s Biggest Problem, is more than worth the read and further discussion by anyone working in fundraising, determining policy, or advocating for change.

Openly admitting his love for the Ice Bucket Challenge, Dan goes on to reshape the massive media attention to date by focusing on more than the numbers of buckets or dollars.

Charitable giving in the U.S. was $335 billion in 2013, but only about 15% of that, or $50 billion, went to health and human services causes – 85% went to religion, higher education and hospitals. $50 billion isn’t near enough to cure cancer, ALS, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, and other threatening diseases. It’s not enough to end poverty, homelessness, bullying, and all of the other problems charities address.

His comparisons to the other 98% of US GDP, the for-profits, demonstrate the true challenges to delivering solutions to the real world issues that the “for purpose” sector must address and solve.

Imagine if Tim Cook had to get people to dump ice on their heads in order to bring revenue into Apple – and had to figure out a new idea like that every six months – with an R&D budget for hatching it of precisely zero, to boot. Apple’s revenues are close to $50 billion every quarter – equal to the entire annual budget of the entire U.S. health and human services charitable sector.

Many of us have close personal reasons for celebrating this research windfall for the ALS Association. Maybe now’s a good time to expand the conversation with the goal of implementing a truly sustainable and growing sector for positive change. Read Dan’s article and pass it on.

Tags:

Comments are closed.