Dan Pallotta invented the multi-day charitable event industry with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Days. These events altered the landscape of options for ordinary individuals seeking to make an extraordinary difference.

Dan's work brought the practice of four-figure philanthropy within the reach of the average citizen who had never raised money for charity before in their lives. 182,000 people of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds participated in these inspiring, often grueling, long-distance events that raised $582 million in nine years - more money raised more quickly for these causes than any private event operation in history. Three million people donated to the events.

To put this in perspective, the events that Dan's company — Pallotta TeamWorks — created and produced, raised more money than the American Express Charge Against Hunger ($21 million), Pepsi Refresh ($15 million), Hands Across America ($34 million), USA for Africa ($66 million), Product (RED) ($150 million), Kiva ($100 million), and American Idol Gives Back ($175 million) combined as of 2011.

The company had approximately 400 full-time employees in 16 U.S. offices, won Brandweek's Best Cause-Related Event Award, and was the subject of a one of the first Harvard Business School case studies on social enterprise. Its concepts and methods are employed today by dozens of charities in a variety of events throughout the world that raise approximately one hundred million dollars annually for important social causes. To date the industry has raised in excess of $1.5 billion for important causes in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K employing innovations Dan pioneered in the sector.

Dan is the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press. The Stanford Social Innovation Review said that it "deserves to become the nonprofit sector's new manifesto," and which contributed to a new conversation about economic freedom for the humanitarian sector. His newest book is Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World from Jossey-Bass. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. described it as "an Apollo program for American philanthropy and the nonprofit sector".

Dan is a featured weekly contributor to the Harvard Business Review online.

Dan is the founder and Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity, a full-service brand and inspiration agency for the humanitarian sector. He is also founder and President of the Charity Defense Council, a new national leadership movement dedicated to transforming the way the donating public thinks about charity and change.

He is a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer, and has spoken at Stanford, Wharton, Harvard Business School, Harvard's Hauser Center for Nonprofits, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Tufts University, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Council on Foundations, the Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and the Milken Institute, among others.




The way we’ve been taught to think about charity and change is upside down. If we changed the way we think about charity, charity could change the world. This talk is an immersion in the issues opened at his iconic TED talk. It's offered in two versions - for nonprofit and corporate audiences.


A counter-cultural perspective on innovation. Where most talks on innovation offer a list of tactics and how-to's, this talk comes at the subject from a counter-intuitive contextual perspective. People don't leave with a new list, but with epiphanies and a new understanding of what it really takes to innovate. The talk covers presence, patience, risk-taking and courage in the context of having a great purpose, and it examines thinking outside of the box in a way that's outside of the box itself.


 We're taught that we have to overcome our fear—that fear is a sign of weakness. But what if it's normal—a sign that you're on the right track. Dan's signature approach to most issues is to turn things on their heads—to look at things in the opposite way that most institutions look. This talk takes on fear in exactly that way.


Based on Dan's third book, Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World, this is a follow-up talk to Uncharitable. It's a blueprint for the movement the sector has to undertake to liberate itself and fulfill on its true promise to change the world for all those citizens most desperately waiting for it to change.


How will I make the difference I really want to make? What if I never fulfill my true potential? How do you plan your future in a vacuum? This is Dan's most personal talk. It's an exploration of faith, mystery and passion that offers hope, inspiration and serenity in the face of universal human anxiety about our futures.

Hats off to Dan for a truly spectacular talk. It’s really rare to see someone change the thinking of so many people in such a short period of time. Humor, vulnerability, perfectly-judged visuals, and laser-like logic combined to make one of the best talks we saw this year at TED2013.