Op-Ed Columnist – The Sin in Doing Good Deeds – NYTimes.com: “Here’s a question for the holiday season: If a businessman rakes in a hefty profit while doing good works, is that charity or greed? Do we applaud or hiss?
- Adam, Eve, the Devil and the Serpent (if your Bible hack)
A new book, ‘Uncharitable,’ seethes with indignation at public expectations that charities be prudent, nonprofit and saintly. The author, Dan Pallotta, argues that those expectations make them less effective, and he has a point.
Mr. Pallotta’s frustration is intertwined with his own history as the inventor of fund-raisers like AIDSRides and Breast Cancer 3-Days — events that, he says, netted $305 million over nine years for unrestricted use by charities. In the aid world, that’s a breathtaking sum.
But Mr. Pallotta’s company wasn’t a charity, but rather a for-profit company that created charitable events. Critics railed at his $394,500 salary — low for a corporate chief executive, but stratospheric in the aid world — and at the millions of dollars spent on advertising and marketing and other expenses.
‘Shame on Pallotta,’ declared one critic at the time, accusing him of ‘greed and unabashed profiteering.’ In the aftermath of a wave of criticism, his company collapsed.
One breast cancer charity that parted ways with Mr. Pallotta began producing its own fund-raising walks, but the net sum raised by those walks for breast cancer research plummeted from $71 million to $11 million, he says.
Mr. Pallotta argues powerfully that the aid world is stunted because groups are discouraged from using such standard business tools as advertising, risk-taking, competitive salaries and profits to lure capital.”
If you read the rest of the article you’d definitely understand.
Perhaps people in the aid world were like, “Umm… This guy’s out to profit off the good will (or suffering) of others.”
So how far does one go to be a “saint”?
Can everyone be like Mother Teresa?
Granted – a $390,000 salary is still more than one might need to survive. Maybe $100,000 was more reasonable. Perhaps $80,000?
You got to admit – in my line of work, doing good just doesn’t seem to pay very well. Some other friendlies that I know, they have good hearts, helping good people and they have a family to raise. Damn, I say – they deserve more. Anyways, that’s an aside.
It’s human psychology to gripe about what you don’t have. So my question is this: just how much should Pallota really have earned?
Was his salary really too high for someone in the humanitarian field? Perhaps demonstrating that he wasn’t pure of heart? Or at least humble?
What would have been a reasonable salary, gentle sirs and ladies? Where do we draw the line between a sustainable livelihood and excess?
And will we ever beat our own psychology?Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.