Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Non-Profit Humour for Need a Laugh Wednesday

Non-Profit Humour
After a long career spent mostly in hard-nosed daily journalism (no, I did not keep bourbon in my desk drawer, but at both the AP and Washington Post I knew people who really, truly did), I entered the nonprofit sector in 2008.

(Insert joke here about newspapers having become nonprofit organizations too.)

Nonprofits, I soon learned, have their own lingua franca. "Donor engagement." "Impactful." (I refuse to acknowledge that one.)"Aspirational peers." "Planned giving."

If you have also ever worked for a nonprofit, you will appreciate the humor of the excellent blog Non-Profit Humour. (It's Canadian, hence the "u" in "humour.")

Here are some recent headlines that I found amusing:

Hospitals fight over last remaining volunteer under 60

Street fundraising gets results with leghold traps

Charity's YouTube video just makes them look even more lame

Some other observations about the difference between nonprofit work and journalism:

1. Once, after I'd stayed way late and knocked myself out to meet a deadline but discovered that no one else had met theirs, a colleague said, "We view deadlines as, well, aspirational goals."

2. People who work for nonprofits generally do not swear like sailors.


  1. I spent the majority of my working life in public service and mostly in non-profits. Makes it tough to write a resume when you need to attach $$ savings/profit to your actions.

    Despite the hardships, it is fulfilling.

  2. Good post, Geneva! When I worked for a publishing company in DC, I had an almost canned speech I used when I interviewed people for jobs who had worked in NGOs. It went something along the lines of this: "We are in business to make money. We have to make a profit or we'll cease to exist. Deadlines are important because schedules are planned to help us meet our financial goals." I then asked if the interviewee had any problems with that. Only one person ever did (and we shook hands and out she went). The problem was with the ones who said they didn't have any problems with that but their performance on the job said otherwise. I don't mean to imply that people who work in the non-profit world are slackers or apply themselves less to their work. But they just see things differently than those of us in business.
    I love this NPH website and have shared it with my daughter who works for UC Berkeley.


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