Lack Of Interest ‘Postpones’ Anti-Overhead Walk

February 5, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

A three-day, 60-mile walk planned this summer to raise awareness of charitable overhead issues and funds for the Charity Defense Council (CDC) has been put on hold.

CDC Founder Dan Pallotta confirmed yesterday that the march has been postponed “to some future year.” Buried in a press release announcing the council will be focusing this year on its “I’m Overhead” campaign was the mention that the march is “postponed.”

“The more we promoted the march the more we could see that people overwhelmingly want to be involved with the Charity Defense Council, but seem to want something more accessible to everyone,” Pallotta said in the release. “The march is still on the table and we look forward to building our campaign and bringing together this community for a march in the future.”

Sources told The NonProfit Times that the organization’s board convinced Pallotta to pull the plug. Messages left for members of the organization’s board of directors and advisory board were not returned by presstime.

The three-year-old organization announced the walk six months ago with a goal to raise $2 million, half of which would go to the group’s operating budget. As of today, the walk’s page on Crowdrise indicated registration has raised just almost $2,000, only about $500 more than was raised three months ago. The fundraising event was planned from June 26-28 from the Maine border to Salem, Mass.

Marchers were required to pay a $99 registration fee and pledged to raise a minimum of $2,995. The registration deadline was May 26.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based Charity Defense Council recently put up a billboard, donated by Clear Channel Outdoors, in the Boston area with the statement: “Don’t ask if a charity has low overhead. Ask if it has big impact.” There were also T-shirts that read “I Am Overhead.” The campaign will spread to more billboards and print and online advertising around the country this year, with a goal of sparking a national discussion about the way people think about charity, Pallotta said.

Pallotta came to prominence during the early 1990s for his multi-day event fundraising company, Pallotta TeamWorks, raising millions for charities but also scorn in some corners for the amount of administrative costs it charged organizations. Over the years, Pallotta has become a lightning rod in the nonprofit sector, advocating for higher salaries for fundraisers and nonprofits as well as a shift away from using overhead as a means to evaluate or compare charities.

The council, and by extension the march, was formed to “change the way donating public views nonprofit sector,” Pallotta previously has said. The council has five functions: organize the sector in a grassroots manner; serve as an anti-defamation league and legal defense fund for charities; devise public ad campaigns for the nonprofit sector; and draft a national civil rights act for charity and social enterprise.