If Game of Thrones were set in the nonprofit sector

[Image description: A grey and brown wolf, staring at the camera. I like their expression, which is a combination of boredom and maybe sarcasm. Pixabay.com]

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I always joke that the nonprofit sector is a lot like Game of Thrones, but with less frontal nudity. Nonprofits also have power struggles, scheming, manipulations, and an urgent need to unite everyone around the common threat of zombies. But what if it were the opposite, what if Game of Thrones were more like nonprofits? Here are some possible scenarios, in no particular order (and sorry, not all major characters are included). Caution: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD. Join in the fun on Twitter using #GameOfNonprofit


Nightswatchman 1: The Wildlings are at the Wall again. Filthy, inbred savages.

Nightswatchman 2: What are they chanting?

Wildlings: Multi-year general operating funds! Multi-year general operating funds!

Nightswatchman 1: They’ve been chanting this for decades now. Quick, pour the hot oil!


Varys: Why do we keep having galas? They are just pits of chaos.

Littlefinger: Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is an unfinished logic model. Many who attempt to distill it down to its essence fail and never get to try again. Some are untrained, so they believe it cannot be done. They cling on to excuses, illusions. Weak, pathetic men. In the end, the outputs do not matter, nor the inputs, only the outcomes. The outcomes are all there is.

Varys: So…can you be a table captain…?


Old Nan: I could tell you a story about Sir Duncan the Board Treasurer; those were always your favorites.

Bran: Those aren’t my favorites. My favorites were the scary ones.

Old Nan: Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know about fear? Fear is for the end of the fiscal year, when funding is tight and cash-flow but a drip. Lords and ladies huddle with their teams, beating their chests and weeping at late funds from reimbursable grants, at reneged pledges from donors. That is a time for fear, my little lord, for you do not know who will be laid off, who will be furloughed. Is this the kind of story you like?

[Bran nods].

Old Nan: In that sort of fiscal darkness, EDs wander their keeps, wispy and gaunt with bleary bloodshot eyes like giant pale spiders…


Ned Stark: I know that you and Jaime have been forging data for your proposals.

Cersei Lannister: When you play the Game of Grants, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.


Walder Frey: All right, you each got three sticky wax seals to vote on your top priorities. Has everyone voted? Let’s count them. It looks like “keep our allegiances” got 4 sticky wax seals while “betray allies/murder everyone” got 19. Clearly we have a winner. Let’s proceed with plans for the Red Wedding.


Ramsay Bolton: What’s your name?

Theon Greyjoy: Th—th—Theon…

Ramsay: No, you reek. You are now Reek. We’re going to have so much fun, Reek. First, we’re going to do an icebreaker that involves animal sounds combined with some sort of physical gesture. Maybe alliteration. Then we’re going to spend several hours talking about our feelings.

Theon: No! Please don’t do this…

Ramsay: If you think this has a happy ending, you’ve never had me facilitate one of your retreats


Melisandre, the Red Priestess: Lord of Light, take this humble sacrifice by fire. May your will be done. I beseech you to bring light upon the world, for the night is dark and full of terrors.

Young man, tied to a pole: This is the worst MSW practicum site ever…


Jon Snow: My lords, the Night King and his army of White Walkers and undead wights are coming. They will kill everything in Westeros. We need your support to forge weapons made of dragon glass. And we need resources to feed and shelter our soldiers.

Foundation of the Iron Banks: How many soldiers do you have?

Jon: 100,000. That might still not be enough. The Night King’s army outnumbers us three to one.

Foundation of the Iron Banks: We will give you enough funds to buy 17 dragonglass daggers. We do not believe in paying 100% of any projects. You are required to send parchments as proof that you used our funds on the daggers, not on overhead expenses like food for your soldiers.

Jon: My lords, 17 daggers won’t be enough to kill 300,000 undead…

Foundation of the Iron Banks: Depending on your outcomes this cycle, we may renew our support next year.


Missandei: Unpaid interns. This is Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Email Chains, The Unburnt-out. It is she to whom you owe your freedom.

Daenerys: No! You do not owe me your freedom. It belongs to you and you alone. If you want it, you must take it for yourself. You are unpaid interns no longer.

Unpaid interns, looking confused:


Unpaid interns: So, will you start to pay us now?

Daenerys: That depends on our budget this year

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