Scary Nonprofit Quotes of 2022

October 19, 2022

Filed under: About My Work,Board Development,Fundraising,Human Resources,Leadership — jonathanpoisner @ 4:57 pm

Welcome to the 2nd annual edition of Scary Nonprofit Quotes.

I authored the original Scary Quotes edition in 2021 as Halloween approached, documenting examples of some of the scariest things I’ve personally heard uttered by nonprofit leaders during my time as an Executive Director and consultant.

For this second edition I put out a call to colleagues far and wide to hear their scary quotes.

So without further adieu, here are the top Scary Quotes shared with me for 2022.

1. “We’re a 501c3 so we can’t lobby”

Note: Yes, 501c3s can lobby

2. [As told by a board member to an outgoing Executive Director]: “We’re going to hire a person to run the organization even though they quit on you despite you telling us not to hire them.”

Note: 2 years later the  organization went defunct  

3. [Told by a board member to an Executive Director]: “I don’t want to ask X person for money because I think it would be impolite”

4. “Rather than pay a salary, let’s pay the development [fundraising] staff 100% on commission on the funds they raise.”

5. “Our nonprofit should expand. You’re either expanding or dying.”

6. “Raising funds for our issue is much harder than raising money for other issues.”

Note: I’ve heard person raising money for issue X say issue Y was easier to raise money for even as someone working on issue Y said issue X was easier to raise money for.  Unless your issues is exceedingly niche and unpopular, this is almost never the case.

Alternative version: “It’s much harder to raise money in ____ (locale).  People here just don’t donate like they do in ________.” 

Note: again, almost never true. Yes there are giving differences by location, but that’s very rarely the true barrier to an organization.

7. [By an Executive Director to another staff person]: “They can never fire me.  I am indispensable.”

8. [By a board member}: “We don’t need an Executive Director, a monkey could do that job!” 

Note: This board chair decided to do the job himself and tanked the organization.

9. [By a board member]: “I don’t do fundraising.”

Alternative version: “Why would I share my contacts/friends list with the organization?”

10. “Don’t worry about entry level staff pay, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. If people leave, no problem. Everyone wants to work here.”

11. [By a board member]: “It doesn’t matter. We’ll never get audited.”

12. [By an Executive Director asked why he wanted to be an Executive Director]: “I figure nobody could tell me what to do.” 

13. [By a board chair]: “The Executive Director doesn’t need a raise because his wife is a doctor.”

Let’s do a poll!  Please vote for your favorite Scary Quote of 2022.  I’ll be sure to post the results on Halloween.

Please also comment if you have your own scary quotes you’d like to share!

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1 Comment »

  1. #2

    Comment by Scott Pratt — October 24, 2022 @ 1:35 pm

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