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Little movie review: Uncharitable

Recently, I had the chance to screen Uncharitable – the upcoming movie based on Dan Pallotta's TED talk and book. I’ve been a fan of the “overhead myth” concept for a while and felt confident that I knew a lot of the ground the movie was going to cover.

As someone who has had more than one disagreement with a board member about the “overhead” associated with fundraising, a lot of the topics raised in the movie were familiar. But the longer form of the movie allowed for more nuance and detail than a TED talk.

For example, there’s a segment of the film that looks at The Wounded Warrior Project – and the blowback to their fundraising success. I remember seeing those headlines – but the movie gave me a lot more perspective on what was happening at the organization.

What struck me in watching the movie was how often innovation in and excitement about a charitable cause was repeatedly stopped in the name of frugality … or how a budget was turned into some kind of moralistic cudgel.

The unintended consequence of this, of course, was an industry motivated to play it safe and avoid risks.

There’s hope here, too – hope that more and more donors are re-examining what it means to support a cause, and hope that things can change.

The movie, when released later this year, could be an excellent way to educate nonprofit leaders and donors on the issues around innovation and fundraising. Here’s hoping it changes a few minds!

Here's a link to the movie's website:

Do you want to talk about movies? Or about fundraising? Or both? Let's talk!

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