You probably think that the nonprofit world of wakefulness is pretty scary. But what happens when, after a long day of making the world a better place, you finally leave the office/field to go home and get some sleep? What keeps nonprofit professionals up at night?
The classic nightmare: You’re falling never-endingly. But what is this fall? Is it a plunge into endless meetings and projects? Or is it the realisation that world hunger, poverty, etc. will probably not be solved in your lifetime?
2. Ghosts or zombies
The social sector is full of angels and samaritans, but what happens when you get an unexpected visit from the other side? Is it the ghost of an auditor? Are you being chased by a zombie whose hunger can only be satisfied by your progress reports?
3. Failing the exam
You already disappointed your family when you chose to do a master’s in social work or that social innovation management programme. But you’ve taken it a step further by failing the exams! The worst part? You wake up from this nightmare and are almost a little relieved.
4. Missing that important event
It was the highlight of your nonprofit’s calendar, a night that took the whole year to plan. The one time when you could dress up fancy and eat and drink with all the high-net-worth individuals, all for a good cause. But a series of obstacles (grant reports, last-minute elevator pitches, calls from your primary donor for updates) ensure that you never make it to the annual fundraiser.
5. Board meetings
You dream about board meetings all the time. What’s worse—a board that is disengaged or one that is hell-bent on micromanaging every part of your work? Either way, you’ll lose sleep.
6. Losing something important
Like your FCRA? The all-important donor report?
7. Tech malfunction
You managed to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch to one of the world’s greatest philanthropists. You’re about to start your presentation that could help raise INR 1 crore for your cause. But this isn’t a dream; it is a nightmare! A notification pops up on the screen, telling you that your Microsoft Office version is pirated/unsupported. You watch in horror as the PPT file gets corrupted, and your hopes of funding fly out the window. You wake up in a cold sweat.
8. Mission Creep
You’ve just set up your social enterprise and are being applauded by everyone. Everyone you know (and some you don’t) starts suggesting other worthy causes that also require urgent attention. You lie in bed at night wondering if your rural EdTech start-up should also be looking into saving the endangered Great Indian Bustard as well as river rejuvenation projects.
9. Getting fired
This might be one of the worst moments of your life. Hide your tears, pack up your (few) things, and leave the office. Is this a blessing in disguise for you to take your first vacation in years? Sometimes nightmares can turn into sweet dreams as well. (Don’t worry, in no time you will be back at another job where you can relive all these nonprofit nightmares.)