Decriminalizing Fundraising

This is part four of a six part series exploring the sessions in the Tactical Philanthropy track at the Social Capital Markets conference.

Session Description: Decriminalizing Fundraising
Fundraising is generally seen as "asking donors for a favor." But what if fundraising is in fact no different from raising investment capital or selling a well-vetted product? This session will feature two 20 minute talks by George Overholser and Dan Pallotta, two of the most visionary and radical philanthropic leaders.

  • George Overholser, Nonprofit Finance Fund Capital Partners
  • Dan Pallotta, Springboard

Each of the sessions in the Tactical Philanthropy track at the SoCap conference will feature a different format. Storytelling, interactive experiments, case studies and debate will all be featured. In this session, George Overholser and Dan Pallotta have been asked to bring their A-game and each give a 20 minute talk to remember.

George is a former executive at Capital One and venture capitalist who joined the Nonprofit Finance Fund to build their growth capital practice. He’s a strong advocate for “philanthropic equity”, the idea that nonprofits need a new category on their balance sheet that accounts for capital meant to be used to grow their organization. At NFF, George created the SEGUE approach to accounting for philanthropic equity in the absence of official equity accounting and worked with a range of nonprofits to raise multimillion growth capital investments.

Dan is the author of Uncharitable, in which he argued that nonprofits are unfairly prevented from using the tools of the for-profit sector. Known for his outspoken arguments against overhead expense ratios and in favor of generous, incentive heavy nonprofit employee compensation, Dan is one of the most controversial voices in the field.

While George and Dan come from significantly different points of view, they share a belief that fundraising practices must be fundamentally changed and that accomplishing this goal will radically improve the nonprofit sector.

Click here to see the full SOCAP10 schedule, including the Tactical Philanthropy Track. Nonprofit employees can apply for a 40% discount here. Click here to register for the conference.


  1. Steve Goldberg says:

    And “decriminalizing” refers to …?

  2. hmmm. The title came out of an early discussion about the session and I see that the description I wrote doesn’t make the connection clear.
    Here are how George and Dan responded to your question:

    Dan “Individual donors and institutional funders are constantly placing downward pressure on charity fundraising investment. This is illogical and undermining. The world faces social problems of massive scale. Up against them, our humanitarian organization are of insignificant scale. The correlation between fundraising investment and philanthropy, at all levels, is well documented and established. How can we ever elevate philanthropy to the scale necessary to solve problems if we forever constrain investments to enlarge it?”

    George: “Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. But that’s not what philanthropy is about. Philanthropy is about creating compelling reasons for well off people to want to part with their money – not to give it away, not to clean up someone’s mess, but to purchase something they dearly want: high quality program execution from a dependable nonprofit firm, that delivers results.”