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Dan  Pallotta

Dan Pallotta

Innovation Expert, Social Entrepreneur & Author of Uncharitable

Dan Pallotta

Innovation Expert, Social Entrepreneur & Author of Uncharitable


Dan Pallotta is a humanitarian entrepreneur, one of the world’s most forward voices on philanthropy and innovation, reshaping the nonprofit sector at an early age. While in college he organized 38 of his classmates to bike over 4,000 miles to fight world hunger. The experience later served as a spring board for other similar events.

He invented the multi-day charitable event industry. He created the Breast Cancer 3-Day walks and the multi-day AIDS Rides, which raised in excess of half a billion dollars in nine years and were the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. The model and methods he created are now employed by dozens of charities and raise in excess of $100 million annually for important causes from pediatric leukemia to AIDS to suicide prevention and many others. Within the past 10 years, his methods have been responsible for raising billions of dollars for these important causes.

He is the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press that parked a new conversation about economic freedom for the humanitarian sector. The Stanford Social Innovation Review said that the book, "deserves to become the nonprofit sector new manifesto." His newest book is, Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has 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.

He is the founder and Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity, an agency dedicated to the expansion and transformation of high-impact humanitarian organizations. He is the founder and President of the Charity Defense Council, a national leadership movement dedicated to transforming the way the donating public thinks about charity and change. He also has given two iconic TED Talks that have been viewed millions of times.

He is member of the board of Triangle, a center for the developmentally disabled in Massachusetts, and a member of the Reason Project Advisory Board. He is a recipient of the Liberty Hill Foundation Creative Vision award, the Triangle Humanitarian of the Year award, the Albany State University International Citizen of the Year award, and the Seven Fund Morality of Profit Essay Prize. He is a William J. Clinton Distinguished Lecturer, and has spoken at Stanford, Wharton, Harvard Business School, Harvard Hauser Center for Nonprofits, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Brown, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Council on Foundations, the Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and the Milken Institute, among others.

Dan been written about in feature and cover stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, American Public Media Marketplace, and on numerous NPR stations, among others.

Speaker Videos

TED: The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong

TED: The Dream We Haven’t Dared to Dream


Speech Topics


This is Dan’s flagship talk about how the way we think about charity is dead wrong. The talk has been delivered in 38 states and eight countries to wide acclaim and standing ovations. This is based on Dan’s book, Uncharitable, the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University press. The Stanford Social Innovation Review said it, “Deserves to become the nonprofit sector’s new manifesto.”

The Power of Purpose

A counter-cultural take in innovation. Great innovation doesn’t come from the desire to win. It comes out of a deep desire to contribute to the lives of others. Where most talks on innovation offer a list of tactics and how-to’s, this talk comes at the subject from an inspiring contextual perspective. People don’t leave with a new list, but with epiphanies, and new understanding of what it really takes to innovate.

The Dream We Haven’t Dared To Dream

This is based on Dan’s 2016 TED Talk on being. It’s about dreaming as boldly in the dimension of our being and our emotional lives as we do in science and technology. A powerful talk with a universally inspiring message for corporate, nonprofit and college audiences. It teaches us all to dream different.