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Jason Lynch's Fundraiser:

Charity School

Jason Lynch

THE STORY:

 

Problem:

Our culture's attitudes about charity are stifling its potential and slowing social progress.

Solution:

We're building a gamified web platform called Charity School that will:

  1. Rapidly educate the donating public about charity
  2. Remove the constraints that undermine charity's potential

We'll teach users how big change gets made and show them the unintended consequences of the "overhead myth," the false idea that low overhead indicates high performance. By 2020, our Charity School platform will produce over 11 million graduates. With this inspired and informed army of grassroots supporters, we'll pressure charity's major influencers and demand game-changing systemic changes:

  1. Charity Watchdogs: Emphasis on overhead, not impact
  2. Foundations Full funding of projects, transparency about costs
  3. Media: More thoughtful reporting, fewer sensationalized stories
  4. Government: Laws that better support the charity sector

Action:

We're crowdfunding $25,000 as the first step in launching Charity School. With this amount, we'll be able to accomplish two things:

  1. Video Content
    Start developing world-class video content for Charity School
  2. Signal Funders
    Signal to big funders (foundations & individuals) that the market needs and wants a solution like Charity School

Background:

In 2013, our founder Dan Pallotta delivered a powerful TED Talk: "The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong."

The talk celebrates the charity sector's profound potential to change the world. But, it also exposes our culture's counterproductive attitudes about charity. In just 3 years, the talk has challenged nearly 4 million viewers to rethink what they know about social change.

"Overhead Myth"

Over time, we've been taught that good charities have low overhead, low salaries, and bare-bones budgets. In reality, however, overhead investments — things like fundraising, advertising, and infrastructure — are crucial for being effective and having a big impact.

Experts agree that the "overhead myth," the false idea that low overhead indicates high performance, ultimately starves organizations of the resources they need to have a big impact.

Under-resourced organizations inevitably turn into under-performing organizations. That's not just an inconvenience. It means slower social progress and more unnecessary suffering.

What the Experts Say

The experts agree: it's time to rethink charity and get focused on impact.

"The people and communities served by charities don’t need low overhead, they need high performance."
- Charity Navigator, Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance

"A vicious cycle [caused by the 'overhead myth'] is leaving nonprofits so hungry for decent infrastructure that they can barely function as organizations — let alone serve their beneficiaries."
- The Bridgespan Group

"All of us in the nonprofit ecosystem are party to a charade with terrible consequences — what we might call the 'overhead fiction.'”
- The Ford Foundation

"To deal with the inadequate funding for administration, organizations resort to the strategies of low pay, make do, and do without that diminish organizational effectiveness.”
- Urban Institute, Indiana University​

"It doesn’t serve any of us well to use overhead as a measure of efficacy simply because it’s an easy one to measure.”
- Nonprofit Finance Fund

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