Five TED Talks for Nonprofit Professionals

As nonprofits, sometimes we need a little extra inspiration to keep doing what we do. We work in a sector that sets out to change the lives of others, and for that reason we need to understand where others come from first.

TED Talks has been around since 1984, but found a resurgence with the rise of the Internet and social media sharing. The company encourages everyone around the world to spread their ideas—whether they’re large-scale and revolutionary, or small ideas that can change how someone goes about their every day.

Here are some of our picks for the best TED Talks to inspire those who work for nonprofits.

1. Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong

This is one of our all-time favorite TED Talks and one that’s really stirred up the nonprofit world. It’s about a topic very near and dear to our heart: the “overhead myth.” In the presentation, Pallotta addresses an often overlooked double-standard that everyone involved with nonprofits should be aware of.


2. Audrey Choi: “How to make a profit while making a difference

Choi’s TED Talk is a good one for those working with for-profit social impact companies. She answers many questions about how you can make changes in your community without letting it affect your bottom line, and poses that every for-profit company can invest in some social responsibility initiatives.


3. Katherine Fulton: You are the future of philanthropy

In this TED Talk, Fulton covers how all of us can achieve great things by coming together and working collectively. You don’t have to be rich or famous to make an impact in your community. Fulton believes that regular citizens should be working to do this every day.


4. Melinda Gates: “What nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola

In this famous TED Talk, Gates talks about the entrepreneurial spirit of Coca-Cola and how nonprofits can use similar marketing tactics to stretch their impact. The main point she makes is that nonprofits need to pay attention to who their audience is and what their values are. Once you know, you can change your messaging to directly appeal to them.


5. Ernesto Sirolli: “Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

In this cheeky TED Talk, Sirolli addresses a problem nonprofit professionals run into all the time: thinking you know all the solutions to a problem. Sirolli suggests it’s naive to assume that you can just go into a community and help them without talking to people in that community. Make sure that you’re asking the right questions before you decide to start a campaign, or an entirely new organization.


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Hana Muslic

Hana is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, putting her journalism degree to use by writing articles for the Hub’s national publications and overseeing the national social media accounts. Hana is dedicated to the nonprofit sector and giving back to the community that has given so much to her. If you need some last minute plans, she will most likely join you in impulsively buying concert tickets right before the show.

February 16, 2018

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