Scary Movies and Spooky Stories for Nonprofits

October 28, 2019  |  Grace Duginski

First, a poem for the season: 


October is in its prime; 

Orchards laden with fruit red and fine; 

Coffee’s pumpkin spice 

(and other things nice) – 

The post-summer chill’s a grand time. 


But autumn’s more than just hay rides, 

Plaid flannel, or scarves snugly tied.  

Halloween’s ’round the corner! 

Think you’re unfazed by horror? 

O! these frights will send chills down your spine. 


(Shout out to Nonprofit AF for the inspiration. Readers, consider yourselves warned: these are nine of the most terrifying horror movies and spooky stories for nonprofit staffers.)

No Budget for Admin Staff


No Budget for Admin Staff 

You understand that funders want to stamp their names on cool projects. The projects themselves are very worthwhile! However, you have to ask: how is your org going to pay the human labor necessary to carry out these cool projects if none of the available grants cover overhead? The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, this is not – you can’t bring brooms to life in order to fulfill your mission. 


James and the Giant Typo




James and the Giant Typo 


They say nothing breaks like a heart, but you know that adage should actually be “nothing breaks like a news story”. However… what if you proofread your press release, got it out lickety-split to all the right local media channels, and then later noticed a slew of spelling errors in it? 


The Exit Grant

The Exit Grant 

You’ve run an impactful project for years, supported by a loyal funder. One day, you receive a letter in the mail from this funder saying they are closing down their operations, and you will receive one last grant – and in a smaller amount than you were expecting. You contemplate shopping this project around to other funders, and despite no change to your office thermostat a chill rolls down your spine. 


Four EOY Galas and a Sight Visit



Four EOY Galas and a Half Dozen Site Visits 

It’s a cold afternoon in the middle of your EOY campaign when your biggest funder calls you up. Surprise! They’re going to be in your town on December 17! They’d so love to see you! Can you meet with them for a three-hour strategy session and also potentially show them around? Your eyelid begins to twitch again when you realize that’s the same day you have no fewer than three evening off-site events to attend, but this is your biggest funder… 


Paris is Burning (Out)



Paris is Burning (Out) 

It’s been ages since you took more than 90 minutes of PTO at a time. You’re pretty sure you’ve developed the ability to sneeze with your eyes open in order to keep typing up grant reports. You’d love to take vacation and reacquaint yourself with the general structure of your children’s faces, but those 600 thank-you cards simply won’t print themselves. 




Time to call I.T.




It’s a day that ends in Y, so naturally your desktop P.C. from the Bush era has crashed and lost your progress on the project proposal you’ve spent all day working on. You check the time, and realize with a start that it is 3:45pm and the complete proposal is due by 5:00pm. You feel a lump in your throat, but know that you cannot waste time on tears – much like Sisyphus and his rock, you have another proposal to write. 


Brokeback Chairs



Brokeback Chairs 

The grant stipulates that no more than 5% of funds go to overhead, but things are in such physical bad shape around the office that staff have started bringing in their own folding chairs after Stacey’s desk chair (initially constructed, you suspect, while the earth was still cooling) suddenly collapsed under her one morning.