Nonprofit With Balls is now…Nonprofit AF!

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[Image description: Two adorable fluffy puppies in a field of green grass. They are tan and white and standing touching each other. The one in the front has dark ears and dark frames around its eyes. Both are soooo cute! Image obtained from Pixabay.com]

Hi everyone. Over the past several months, I’ve been thinking of new names for this blog. It’s been an agonizing process, very similar to naming a baby. Everyone hated every potential name I came up with, for various reasons: “That’s insensitive,” “That’s boring,” “You’re infringing on copyright laws and Bono might sue you,” etc.

So I am happy to announce that Nonprofit With Balls is now Nonprofit AF. We are Nonprofit AF. What does AF stand for? Amplified and Focused? Awesome and on Fire? Amazing and Fluffy? Sure.

Now, some of you really love Nonprofit With Balls as the name for this blog. I do too. So why the heck am I changing it? Simple: I have been preaching about intent versus impact for several years now, pointing out things such as funding practices that are well-intentioned, but totally inequitable. And hiring practices, also adopted with good intentions, but that play out with terrible consequences. If we are to build the kind of world we want, we can no longer lean on “good intentions” to shield us from acknowledging the impact on the people around us.

Although NWB had the intention of being humorous and cheeky (here’s the origin story), the impact, pointed out by colleagues throughout the years—in nice and not-so-nice ways—hasn’t always been positive to everyone. It reinforces a sort of toxic masculinity, adding to the unconscious narrative and bias that only male characteristics are indicative of strength and audacity.

Not everyone agrees, and I know many people who say, “Let’s lighten up!” But I realize that if we are to engage in this work effectively, we must be thoughtful and take into account all voices. Especially in light of the current state of civil discourse in our society, being thoughtful is not a weakness; it is one of the strengths of our sector.

It’ll take me and some of us a while to get used to saying “Nonprofit AF,” or “NAF” instead of “NWB.” But, the name and the banner are the only things that are changing. The content, the pictures of cute baby animals for no reason, the Kenny Loggins and Foreigner references, the silly metaphors, those things all remain.

Oh wait, the lines of merchandise will be updated to have the new name, so if you really like NWB, order your t-shirts and mugs now; I’ll keep them up with the old name until end of May. New merchandise, meanwhile, are being designed by NAF’s genius designer Stacy and will be released soon.

Thank you for everyone’s patience and support throughout this process. We do important work, I love the community we build together, and I am proud to be Nonprofit AF.

Support the maintenance of this website by buying NWB t-shirts and mugs and other stuff.

Make Mondays suck a little less. Get a notice each Monday morning when a new post arrives. Subscribe to NWB by scrolling to the top right of this page (maybe scroll down a little) and enter in your email address (If you’re on the phone, it may be at the bottom). Also, join the NWB Facebook community for daily hilarity.

Also, join Nonprofit Happy Hour, a peer support group on Facebook, and if you are an ED/CEO, join ED Happy Hour. These are great forums for when you have a problem and want to get advice from colleagues, or you just want to share pictures of unicorns. Check them out.

Donate, or give a grant, to Vu’s organizationRainier Valley Corps, which has the mission of bringing more leaders of color into the nonprofit sector and getting diverse communities to work together to address systemic issues.

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  • I love this, and you, so very, very, very much #UnicornsUnite

  • Bonnie Schroeder

    OK Vu, I love the name change. As a woman, I did find the balls reference a bit of of touch with your more feminine side (see reference to Kenny Loggins and Foreigner).

    Now, I can see you in a leisure suit talking about ‘Nonprofit that is amplified and focused! Oh yeah!’ As a mother on two children (just like you), I hope you get the Despicable Me Vector reference. If not, I just spelled it out for you.

    I must get back to my own work in Nonprofit, oh yeah! Amplified and focused!

  • Andy Kegley

    I applaud this change. It is wise, and correct. I’ve always kinda cringed when I tell NP friends about the blog, so thanks. And besides, we’re not losing any edge really, as AF is nuanced enough to be interpreted many ways. !!!

  • Alisha Johnson

    All about it and Fierce!
    Action oriented and Fierce
    Aggravating Funders
    Answers Factual
    Antsy for Fairness
    And Funloving
    And Funding?

    • AnnFeeney

      Agitating Force
      Adapting Fearlessly
      Always Fighting
      Amplifying Facts
      And Ferocious
      Adding Fuel
      Actively Forward-thinking

  • Zack Mezera

    This is a good move on so many levels. 👏👏👏

  • betty barcode

    I appreciate why you change the name but I sorta wish you had found something just as cheeky but without, in your words, the hint of toxic masculinity. Having said that, I remain a total fangirl.

  • Donna Haghighat

    Bravo! Thank you for listening. AF stands for adaptable to feedback!

  • dolly

    I applaud the change – but the problem I had with it was that I felt funny forwarding stuff to my boss, board, and staff (my boss thought the name was gross and I actually think I could get in trouble sending it to people I supervise) and yet you write such brilliant stuff that I so often want to share. So having AF doesn’t solve my problem – I’m still embarrassed to send it to my boss and board and staff. Agh! But they need to hear your wisdom!!

  • Joshua Greenberg

    appreciate the blog and the name change!

  • Lisa McNee Baker

    I understand the need for the name change but don’t like what you came up with. Sorry. We all know what AF stands for in pop culture. Love the blog and the wisdom, dislike the new name more than the last.

    • Rhiannon Orizaga

      Right? Especially since the popular use of the f-word is rooted in toxic masculinity. There is no perfect name for the blog, alas. Cheekiness and intentionality may not be possible to balance in a blog title.

    • Anonymous11

      I think it’s hilarious and edgy.

  • dunwithitall

    “If we are to build the kind of world we want, we can no longer lean on “good intentions” to shield us from acknowledging the impact on the people around us.” Nailed it. And the name change? Nonprofit and Fearless!

  • Jory Barrad

    As you say, a name is just a name. Many organizations really struggle with this when looking at branding. Good for you to have the, um, er, OK, I’m just going to say it, the balls to do what you feel is right for your blog. The content and “mission” is what matters in the end. Messaging and marketing can adjust to match the new names. Again, good for you, Vu!

  • Melissa

    Good change.

  • Kathy Allen

    Love the blog! Don’t know what AF means in American pop culture but the first thing that popped into my Canadian head was this British slang: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=naff

    • Mehitabel

      In American slang, AF means “As F*ck”. As in, “Nonprofit As F*ck”.

      Sorry Vu, I don’t think this was the best possible choice. I was hoping you’d rename the blog “Nonprofit Happy Hour”. But it’s your blog, and I’m here for the content, not the title.

      • Kathy Allen

        Thanks for the clarification – probably I should have known that!

      • marbygirl

        And “Happy Hour” would have endorsed the consumption of liquor – not very Muslim- (or other groups who abstain) friendly … the bottom line is you ain’t gonna please everyone! Personally I like “AF” if it’s not specified what that means… let people feel guilty for jumping to their own baseless conclusions! (Wide-eyed naïveté: “why, whatever do you mean that AF doesn’t stand for Absolutely Fabulous, sir?”)

  • Diane Leifheit

    Jeesh I am confused. What does AF mean? I have always had a “thing” about alphabtizing the language. It seems like a short cut or in this case a disguise or code that only the “in” folks got. So Vu please be straightforward and let us know what AF is for those of us who are fond of whole words and their meanings. And yes I get the change. Sorry in this day and age we all have to be so politically correct. But I get it. Thanks for letting us know what AF is.

  • geeksdoitbetter

    thank you, sincerely

    i’ve been unable to recommend this blog in queer and feminist spaces for several years, despite the mountains of brilliance you produce

    i’m pleased beyond measure at the thoughtful and kind way you are helping others see the reality of the disconnect between intent and result

    so proud to be a unicorn!

  • Carrie Avery

    Thank you, Vu, for listening and making the change. Looking forward to Astonishing and Fanciful writing in the future.

  • Janis Lane-Ewart

    Thanks for the explanation; still in awe of this blog, no matter the name.

  • Erika M

    I love, love, love the content of your blog and everything that you write about. I think it is witty, timely, passionate and so very on point. And, as a millennial (an “old millennial” but millennial nonetheless), I think the name “Nonprofit AF” is pretty great. That being said, as a black woman and member of a community that has been mitigated, marginalized, and had our culture co-opted and appropriated for years, I’m a little disappointed with the use of “AF” in your blog name. So many of your readers represent minimized and marginalized communities, I would have hoped for a little more thought in the name instead of co-opting the latest slang term everyone is throwing around like it’s 2015. Just promise me you won’t change the name to “Nonprofits are Lit” and we’ll be good! Keep up the great work!

  • PJ Morley

    Back in the 60s a Star Trek episode had Kirk note that appreciation for beauty was humanity’s last prejudice. In the 2010’s our last acceptable prejudice seems to be demonizing masculinity. Sad to see this blog embrace that. Pragmatic business decisions have to be made to increase the reach of publications, but sometimes the responsible thing is to omit some of the details to avoid feeding prejudice.

    Pity the new name is completely without meaning to me or anyone else I have informally polled.

    • AMTL

      Hey PJ, It’s not so much about “demonizing masculinity” at least not for me (being married to a great guy and the mother of a great guy). But the “with balls” always made it feel like something that was not necessarily meant for me. Likely if the name of the blog was “Non-Profit with Tits” you’d think that you were not the intended audience.

      • PJ Morley

        In the author’s own words, “It reinforces a sort of toxic masculinity,
        adding to the unconscious narrative and bias that only male
        characteristics are indicative of strength and audacity.”

        I relate to many things with feminine-derived names, and have no problem referring to myself as “mothering”, for example, because I am.

        I’ve lost a lot of respect for this blog and its author for this decision, how it was announced, and awful new name.

  • Sondra Kornblatt

    Yes the change, no the new name.
    It lacks the joy, wisdom, the whole perspective that you share, Vu. It comes across as an exclusive inside joke that everyone else tries to get, like an enigmatic question on a funding proposal. I’m with what Mehitabel said: Nonprofit Happy Hour. Or something full of life!

  • JL

    This is a disappointment. I get the wanting to be edgy, funny, impactful. But this is trite and trying too hard to be trendy and cool, plus—AF is what kids say. Fancy AF, Bored AF, Sexy AF. Everyone who has **any** exposure to youth knows this is As F*ck. I seriously doubt anyone except “old people” will think it’s anything other than As F*ck. Will all replies now be “LB” and “so RN”? I love whimsical and fun, but I think this misses the mark. Having balls in the name was risky, this doesn’t solve that problem.

    • Anonymous11

      I’m 42 and I use AF.

      • Eric Burgess

        You also hide behind your anonymity.

    • commentor

      I think you missed the sarcasm we he talked about what AF stands for.

  • Eric Burgess

    For those who don’t know what he’s trying to do here with having “AF” in the name:

    https://www.lifewire.com/af-meaning-used-in-social-media-3485956

  • Dawn Butterfield

    Way to keep the “cheeky” whilst removing the hint of gender bias! I’m going to go with “Awesome and on Fire” because these younger kids don’t always approve of the saltier language…

  • Sarah Weissman

    Love the name change! Not only does the “with balls” reinforce toxic masculinity, but also is sort of trans-exclusive. I think this is adorable.

  • Rebecca Stratosphere

    Brilliant.

  • Alex Doolittle

    Hallelujah! Have to say, I intentionally did not read your blog because of the name. And, I admit that was hard given how much praise it gets. Thank you for walking the talk yet again, Vu.

  • Nonprofit writer

    Vu, I love your blog! I liked both the old and the new name, but I do understand the argument for the change. (Although did you consider “Nonprofit with Balls…and Ovaries”?) You’re not going to be able to please everyone. I love your voice and creativity. Nonprofit writing is so often a snore, but not you!

  • Maryann Hulsman

    nice! i’ve always felt a little uncomfortable with the NWB name because it evokes so much testosterone. and i like the new moniker.

  • Marick Lewis

    Love the blog, but “AF” is worse than “balls”… at least I could explain to people that it wasn’t THAT kind of balls. I don’t know how to explain that it isn’t that kind of f***. Plus, grammatically AF should also follow an adjective… how can you be Nonprofit “as”? I’m still a reader… it’s some of the most on point writing about the nonprofit world that’s out there. I just wish I could walk into my boss’s office, or a meeting, and go hey… there’s this great blog you should be reading.

    • Eric Burgess

      Maybe he should just call it Ballsy AF.

    • Sarah Weissman

      But it’s gender neutral. It feels less crass even though it’s an actual curse word.

      • Marick Lewis

        I never had a problem with “balls” as a sexist/gender issue, only with the vulgarity. As great communicators we shouldn’t have to rely on profanity as a hook. I’m not offended by it, but some are, and I don’t want to recommend the site to someone who might get the wrong impression. I’m in development and our donors are old school. I can see me passing along to my boss one of Vu’s great posts, and she, having no clue what AF means, might pass it along and take the heat for it. There is a quote by a Latin orator that says something like: Don’t write so that people understand you… write so it is impossible for them to misunderstand you. I don’t think the new title does this.

  • megalfoni

    Not liking the new name (loved the old one). But love the content! Keep up the great work. We here at our non-profit thank you.

  • Brenda Hillhouse

    I recognize how much you wrestled with this name change. I have always loved the old one. But I don’t think this makes it any easier to share with a professional circle. I am guessing I would be asked what “AF” stands for and answering that could be more awkward than just calling it “Nonprofit With Balls”. Love everything you write, your wit and edginess, and, especially, the hard truths you expose. Will keep reading but I’m afraid I have to be in the camp that is not so happy with the new name!

  • bethkanter

    Vu,

    I had a problem with my publisher using your blog’s name – they were not sure they could put “nonprofit with balls” on the cover of the Happy Healthy Nonprofit to show your affiliation for the amazing foreword you wrote. I love A & F …

  • Patrick Taylor

    I’m in the camp that finds the new name to be just as bad as the old name, and I’ll explain why. Mostly who I really really want to read this blog are people that work at foundations or in philanthropy who maybe are a little more conservative in their approach to thinking about grantees. Having an edgy name that references an expletive doesn’t make the blog any easier to share with people on a more formal, professional level. If I happen to be talking to the head of a foundation, I’d be really hesitant to be like, “Have you read the post on Nonprofit As F***k about why foundations should be giving more general support? Which is why I’ll continue to reference this site as “Vu Le’s blog”.

  • Tegan

    I really appreciate this change.

  • Davida Silverman

    Like the name and love the blog. Heads up, though, that NAF is the acronym of a well-known and respected org: National Abortion Federation. They frequently call themselves and are referred to as NAF.

  • Marlene Smith

    I understand why you are changing the name but don’t get the AF. It does nothing for your brand or great content. I like the name “Nonprofit Happy Hour” as a few others did too. It has more personality like your blog and is professional.

  • RG

    Alas, if there had to be a name change, I would have much preferred Nonprofit with Balloons.

  • Sue Hine

    I like the arguments, but when you got to NAF – my mind went straight to ‘naff’, a piece of unflattering slang. See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=naff

  • Linda Spuck

    I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco later this week when I intend to grill you about what AF REALLY means 🙂

  • Kate Hitchcock

    Loving the new name (I loved the old one too, but can see how it was problematic). I work at a funder, and we have happily shared your blog internally in the past with neery a thought for whether the name was appropriate – we were all too busy enjoying the excellent content. Keep it up Vu =)

  • Becky Caldwell

    Love it! I have a “Classy AF” sign over my shoulder in all webinars and skype calls. It’s a good tag 😀

  • queencee

    Not sure whether anyone else added this type of comment, but it looks like you did not consult with our UK unicorns on saying the acronym out loud. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/naff
    Myself, not a fan of NAF.

  • Paul McGregor

    You were brave to change it and I think that was a good call. I’m not sure about the new name but it won’t stop me reading and sharing your wonderful posts!

    Non Profit with Guts would have been my suggestion, for what it’s worth

    http://www.paulmcgregor.co

  • Judy Hppa

    I actually did a spit-take when I read this headline. Good for you!

  • Sherrie Smith

    I love it! The AF can be played with, but if it gets to keep its meaning then it also talks about us being badasses who love our jobs. Fierce.
    I’m glad for the change – because I felt the “with balls” reference was something I didn’t care to say out loud in a professional setting (Now I’ll just say “AF” and have no issue with that) and it did kinda imply that if you have balls then things are better.

    Great change. Thumbs up.

  • Tatiana Stone

    Nonprofit as f***!? F*** yeah!

  • Dan Ryan

    I, for one, appreciate the new name, and I now feel much more edgy with my AFP membership.

  • Kristen Porter

    Hooray! I can now share your articles more on social media!! Totally got where you were going with the old name but for all the reasons you have listed this is a great move, and now the name doesn’t need to be explained to everyone. Congrats! Looking forward to sharing away.

  • Patrick Cody

    I read a plug for this blog site in an listserv post (yes, listservs can still be relevant in the 21st century), so I thought I would check it out, and I am glad I did. Great stuff!

    I am interested in the topic of name changing in general. I know this is “just” a blog and you can name it whatever you damn-well-please without going through a bunch of formal steps…BUT…I am curious: are there resources out there addressing name changes for non profits? Our org. is considering a name change, and it’s my task to find out how much labor & cost is involved.

  • Jonathon Morrison Winters

    Great move. Thank you!