Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential (Civil Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives) Paperback – July 13, 2010
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.
Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps the number one shortcoming in this book is the order in which his arguments are presented. By starting off with the argument that nonprofit CEOs do not make enough money (only up to a measly $400,000 or so a year!), the author loses some credibility from the very beginning. At one point, the author argues that CEOs have diminished abilities from their pay being so much lower than CEOs of for-profit firms, due to the fact that they cannot afford to join the same country clubs, yachting clubs, attend the same $50,000 a seat galas, etc., as their for-profit competitors. By not being able to run in the same obscenely wealthy social circles, they're not able to lobby for the same kinds of funds they could if they were accepted into that crowd. That's a tough sell. The author repeatedly mentions his Ivy League education and the fact that he could have made dozens of millions of dollars a year in the private sector instead of martyring himself to the nonprofit cause for only about half a million dollars a year. It makes the argument sound a little whiny with an edge of bitterness, and may seem very distasteful to anyone who identifies as lower or middle class. Interspersed throughout this argument are claims that the capitalist system is faultless and should be unrestrained for maximum benefit.Read more ›
At the same time, I don't recommend the book generally because I don't think it is a good book (1) for the general public to read, (2) for those who you are new to or thinking about joining the sector or (3) for Board Members with limited experience. If you haven't been inside the nonprofit sector for a good while and seen all of its beauty and also its ugliness, you might get swept up in what are the book's many false and misleading arguments.
Which leads to the other side of the coin, one of the main themes in the book - over and over again was Dan's tendency to use extreme arguments and examples that are completely inaccurate characterizations of the state of affairs in the sector (hence my frequent yelling at the book). In other words, he repeatedly sets up a phony straw man and then knocks it down. All the while I am thinking BUT THAT MAN DOESN'T EXIST (!) or so rarely that the opinions stated as facts can totally mislead an otherwise uninformed reader!!! This becomes particularly important as we see the growing interest in people desiring to transition from the for profit sector into the nonprofit sector. God help us if this is a book they base their career decisions on.
Another theme in the book is Dan's idealization of capitalism almost as a God that can lead to self fulfillment and "stunning change" through the wonderful motive of personal gain.Read more ›
The important issues he covers include questions such as can nonprofits take risks and does a fixation on "overhead" costs prevent the nonprofits from rewarding talent? But he offers little to the discussion because he fails to distinguish between his experience, running a commercial fund raising company, and an actual charity.
I agree with the sentiment he uses as a chapter heading: Let's stop asking this question. His arguement is that when we focus on asking charities how much goes to program versus overhead we fail to look at other important indicators. Low overhead does not mean the organization provides good services.
But that applies to asking the question of charities. The question is still appropriate, even mandatory, to ask of a commercial fund raising firm.
Another example is his observation about charities being afraid to take risks. But does he follow this up with a discussion of charity taking a hard look at how it provides services or bravely underwritting the costs of bringing services to an underserved community? No; his example is the "risk" his organization took in trying innovative fund raising events. Yet a full reading seems to indicate that the cost of the risk really fell to the charitable recipient of the event proceeds. Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the idea being argued by this book, but it is an extremely dull read. The TED talk version is more than enough.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a fantastic description of the perverse rules that apply only to non-profits and hold them back from their potential impact.Published 3 months ago by EmFromNM
While I'm not sure unfettered capitalism is the panacea that Pallotta claims, but many of the ideas he writes about do seem very prudent for non profit success.Published 3 months ago by Becca
if you can catch him as a speaker, I highly recommend it. If you are in the business, this is a must-read/Published on May 13, 2014 by kara
This books makes a very compelling argument, that the very design of non-profits (limited admin/marketing, poor exec compensation) hurts their ability to actually solve the... Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Amazon Customer
The assumption that charities have not cured diseases, poverty and societies ills and therefore these charities need leeway to be monetized and opened to personal greed in order to... Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by Scout
Readers who do not accept the power of markets and competition to drive innovation and growth will not accept the premise that there is a better way to endow charitable... Read morePublished on September 5, 2013 by Driftwood