The community conversation was robust yesterday evening and this morning in Norfolk,Virginia.
You could see the ideas swirling as nonprofit heads, funders and board members from southeastern Virginia listened to Massachusetts author/nonprofit activist/Ted talk veteran Dan Pallotta. He spoke on January 29 to about 300 people brought together by the +Academy for Nonprofit Excellence at TCC.
The next morning at a +VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads breakfast Pallotta hit the high points for about 130 business, nonprofit and funding leaders who then launched into a mini table-by-table visioning process. Cathy Lewis, host of WHRV's HearSay program, helped keep the discussion and ideas flowing as people talked about better collaboration on issues, fewer nonprofit events, clear messaging and a pipeline of board members open to new ways of running nonprofits.
Pallotta's mantra is that the best for-profit business are judged primarily on their impact, which often stems from investments made in their operations, staffing and marketing. He maintains that the traditional standard for measuring nonprofits is having low overhead, which often leads to low impact. Pallotta maintains that nonprofits are rewarded for "not paying anyone, not marketing, not taking risks and not spending money." He wonders how much more effective nonprofits could be in curing cancer and ending poverty if they were allowed to operate like businesses.
Pallotta helped launched the nonprofit +Charity Defense Council to help donors and funders think about what would happen if nonprofits had more tools, funding and incentives. Could they change the world for the better?
You can get a feel for Dan's ideas by watching his 2013 Ted Talk that has already had more than 3.4 million views.