4 TED Talks That Will Change the Way You Think About Charity

Do you ever find yourself sitting at your desk or lying on the living room couch feeling uninspired? Check out TED Talks for a quick burst of motivation. These 15-20 minute videos feature engaging speakers who share innovative ideas, advice and calls to action. We have four talks that will make you change the way you think about giving back and taking action.

1. “The way we think about charity is dead wrong” by Dan Pallotta

“We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people. Interesting that we don’t have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money not helping other people.”

Dan Pallotta, entrepreneur, author and activist discusses the stark contrast in the growth of the nonprofit sector compared to the for-profit sector, and why we’ve got it wrong when it comes to the way we think about “successful” nonprofits.

 2. “Should you donate differently?” by Joy Sun

“Studies across the board show that people use cash transfers to improve their own lives.”

What would happen if we handed the poor of the world cash instead of items we choose for them? Do we really know what is best for the poor? Experienced aid worker Joy Sun explores the surprising results of studies behind cash transfers for the poor.

3. “Meet the mom who started the Ice Bucket Challenge” by Nancy Frates

“If you ever come across a situation that you find so unacceptable, I want you to dig down as deep as you can and find your best mother bear, and go after it.”

When Nancy Frates‘ 27 year-old son, Pete, was diagnosed with ALS, doctors told him, “I’m sorry, there is no treatment.” Pete told his family he wasn’t going to take “I’m sorry” for an answer. The night that he learned of his diagnosis he vowed he would work to get his rare, deadly disease in front of philanthropists like Bill Gates. Listen to the story of how he and his family did just that, and raised more than $160 million for ALS research.

 4. “We need to talk about an injustice” by Bryan Stevenson

“We will ultimately not be judged by our technology, our design, or our intellect or reason. Ultimately you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat the rich and the powerful and the privileged but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated.”

Bryan Stevenson, human rights lawyer and executive director of the Human Rights Initiative, recently helped to exonerate a man who was on death row for 30 years. In his TED Talk, Stevenson discusses the need for our society to care more about human rights and human dignity, and our need to marry our ideas surrounding technology, design and innovation with ideas that allow for compassion and justice.

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