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  • Tere Ryder

    Yes, consultants need to freeze and forgo payment.....Too many "consultants" making a lot of money for their supposed "philanthropy".

  • Andrew Holets

    This seems to take a very negative and inaccurate view on the state of philanthropy. The first point asserts that the definition of philanthropy is outdated. The claim is more so than the reality. Nonprofits actively engage community members in one-time and on-going volunteer service commitments, including their time, talent and treasure. Our country is wise enough to offer tax-deductions for all of these contributions, for the most part, and has evolved appropriately. Volunteer opportunities abound and are taken advantage of regularly.

    The second claim is equally dubious. Small business owners frequently play important roles as volunteer board members, donating their time, expertise and taking on the very real risk of fiscal responsibility for many nonprofit organizations. The article seems to suggest that nary a small business provides donations--in-kind or financial--to any nonprofits. That does not seem to be reality-based.

    Finally, the third point goes a bit too far. While consultants and experts should certainly share their skills at a reduced or occasionally free rate, we should encourage smart, socially-conscious individuals to go into the nonprofit sector. Shaming them into thinking that their work should not be compensated for because its for the social good is not only negatively idealistic, but deters people from joining or staying in the realm of nonprofit work. Nonprofit salaries and compensation are already lower than other sectors. Why devalue skilled work that is open about its social good?

    • Matthew Manos

      These are all really great points and observations, Andrew. My issue with philanthropy is not so much how it is currently working, but more how it is currently branded. Very often, and throughout history, the practice of being a "philanthropist" has been regarded as something reserved for the wealthy - as a result a lot of us can feel insecure in our own ability to give back in the traditional sense. My hope in pointing this out is to really get us all thinking about how we can give back in unique ways, even if we can't afford to do it out of our own pocket because let's face it - if you are making a billion/year, shelling out a million here and there is pretty much the same as the rest of us going to the liquor store to buy a candy bar. When you are a business barely pushing 6 figures, or an individual making 30k/year, donating money can be tough - you have to get more creative about giving back.

      Second claim - yes they do play a large role, but it is always off hours (at least typically). My whole mission, and the reason I started a company like verynice is to try to spread an idea that giving back doesn't have to be left for the weekends or framed as a fun activity for employees to do to build friendship once a year. It can be more integral. More central to day to day operations.

      For the third - I know this sounds harsh. Everyone has their own take on the value of their own role in creating impact, and this is mine. I hope you get a chance to learn more about this perspective in some of my other essays.


  • LanVy Nguyen

    If we ask Philanthropy to change, so should we ask businesses to do fake philanthropy.

    The One-to-One Model from TOM is a destruction of local economies. Consumers buy a cheap pair of cloth shoes at $45 USD, TOM gives a poor child in S.America a pair of cheaper shoes worth $1 (TOM gets millions worth in PR). If TOM really wanted to help those poor children, then TOM should have created a plant to employ the poor parents of those children so that they can buy shoes for their own kids.

  • Kathryn Sheridan

    If you're motivated by contributing to environmental causes, consider becoming a member of 1% for the Planet ( 1% for the Planet members donate 1% of their sales (not just their profits) to environmental non-profits. Today there are over 1,200 member companies in over 48 countries, many of them small businesses like mine.

    Consumers vote with their dollars so buying products from 1% member companies means 1% of the company's sales are going to environmental non-profits. Klean Kanteen, Clif Bar and Jack Johnson are all members.

    Full disclosure: I'm a 1% for the Planet Ambassador and my firm Sustainability Consult is a member company. Why? Because I believe in business giving back and because I LOVE BLUE!

  • Sabah Baxamoosa

    Hi. Thank for sharing these myths. They shed light on the prevalent attitudes in our society about working in the non-profit/social impact sector. I graduated from college at the top of my class and chose to dedicate my skills and talent to making the world a better place. So let me ask you this: why is it acceptable that we are willing to pay truck loads of money to people whose sole purpose is to make more money and find it problematic if people who are working for the greater common good demand an equitable compensation for their effort?
    You're right we do need a new way of thinking about philanthropy - we need to figure out ways to attract top talent to non-profits and make it a viable option. That way $1 will probably render social impact of $100. You may benefit from watching Dan Pallotta's video on my blog that speaks to this issue eloquently.

    • Matthew Manos

      The key message you are missing here, Sabah, just as Pallotta is missing, is the fact that getting top talent does not have to be attached to paying for that talent as long as we make pro-bono service and volunteerism attractive to the most skilled people in the world.

      Pallotta's perspective is valid, but it completely disregards the value and opportunity for organizations to take advantage of all of the pro-bono resources that currently exist a la Taproot Foundation, Billion+ Change, and verynice. A website done for free that is done well and with high standards is just as valuable as a website done for $50,000.00 - this is the kind of work we do every day for organizations at verynice (


  • BobHenderson

    Wow. What basis do you have for any of the assertions you make in the article? There are a bunch of doozies.

    How 'bout we start with "We hear about billionaires like Bill Gates giving away half of their net-worth upon death." Uh, no. Actually Mr. Gates is actively involved in the Gates Foundation, and he's still very well alive and kicking. The Foundation is his primary vehicle for giving away his wealth. It's also very focussed on results-oriented giving.

    • LanVy Nguyen

      Has anyone heard of the $100 laptop lately? Have all the children of the 3rd world received their laptops? You don't hear anything about this because the Gates Foundation has stop throwing money to self-inflate results while failing to admit failures or lessons learned from such huge failures. This is a pretty accurate portrayal of reality specially from those on the ground.

      • Matthew Manos

        Well said, LanVy. Funny enough, my rant really wasn't anti-billionaire. It's pretty obvious that when you have a billion dollars, giving away a million here and there is the equivalent of the rest of us going to the corner store to buy some skittles. Of course billionaires can have financial impact, Bob - I sure as hell hope they do. My thought is more on the lens of trying to get the rest of us - the 99% of the world - to understand how we too can make an impact in creative ways.