How NGOs and busineses can work together – an American view in Moscow
Dan Pallotta is an American activist and best-selling author who has raised US$ 582 million through his charitable organisation. At the Third Forum of Social Innovations of the Regions in Moscow, he gave a presentation entitled “NGOs and businesses – working in tandem and accelerating solutions to social problems.” Dan’s best-seller book is called “Non-charitability – how NGOs fail to reach their full potential”. Pallotta is one of the most popular speakers on the TEDx conference circuit. He has organised sponsored walks across the USA to raise money for people with breast cancer as well as sponsored cycles to fund the research and treatment of HIV. Over a nine-year period 182,000 people have taken part in Pallotta’s events, raising over half a billion dollars.
Speaking about the early stages of his funding campaigns, Pallotta said, “We had an idea but we didn’t have any capital.”
The company Avon sponsored Pallotta’s breast cancer campaign. Initially, Avon invested US$500,000, gradually the campaign spread and within a few years it had spread to 13 cities and generated a profit of US$200 million for the company. Avon’s profits far outstripped its initial investment. As Pallotta explained, “Businesses can support NGOs with upfront capital and fundraising. Any major company can do the same.”
Pallotta noted that Russian businesses tend to play a greater role in the funding of NGOs than American companies, although the main source of charitable donations everywhere remains private individuals rather than corporations.
Pallotta commented on the desire of many businesses to change the world but recognised that they do not always succeed. He added, “The best you can hope is that they do no harm, that they do not produce low-grade products and pollute the environment.”
Pallotta cited the example of Apple, makers of the iPhone, “It has transformed the lives of people with visual impairment. iPad technology has had a tremendous impact on education. We need products that are serve the interests of people.”
Dan Pallotta’s presentation was supported by the Blagosphere Centre.