April 22, 2019

What would Shakespeare say?

There is enough drama that happens in the social sector. Here's how you can channel your inner bard to get you through it all.

2 min read

Sitting in your third conference in a week – and it’s only Wednesday – listening to the fourth panel on collaborating to scale impact.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” (The Tempest)


Your meeting has stretched 30 minutes longer than it was supposed to; you’re the last person to give an update, and all you want to do is break for lunch.

“Men of few words are the best men.” (Henry V)


You are pitching your work to a potential funder, but judging by her expression, she is not impressed.

“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Related article: If Game of Thrones were about nonprofit life


You name your organisation after three months of fighting with your co-founder, but the trademark is already taken. Now all you can do is console yourself.

“What’s in a name? A rose by any name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet)


You are at a social sector conference, and somebody is talking about how they scaled up their operation to 14 states in 3 years.

“Now I will believe that there are unicorns…” (The Tempest)


Your donor wants you to ‘run more like a business’.

“Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.” (Much Ado About Nothing)

Shakespeare quote_nonprofit humour


Your friend from the corporate sector is planning to make a shift to the social sector, and talks to you for advice. You answer truthfully and now he has changed his mind.

“I am not bound to please thee with my answers.” (The Merchant of Venice)


For the hundredth time, somebody asks you why you chose the social sector despite it paying less than a corporate job

“I am one who loved not wisely but too well.” (Othello)


When you are trying to convince your founder/boss that working with CSR professionals might be good for your organisation.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (Hamlet)

Related article: Indian miniatures on life in the social sector


When you find out your 28-year-old niece with a business school degree earns more than you (a professional with 20 years of experience)

“The fault, dear Brutus, lies not within the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar)


You are a part of a panel discussion, and somebody asks you how you took your organisation to success.

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Twelfth Night)

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India Development Review

India Development Review (IDR) is India’s first independent online media platform for leaders in the development community. Our mission is to advance knowledge on social impact in India. We publish ideas, opinion, analysis, and lessons from real-world practice.