Nonprofit Apocalypse Camp – Designated Leader: Foundations

In keeping with our end-of-the-world theme, from time to time, Sarah and Jon will share with you, their esteemed readers, their experiences traversing the vast apocalyptic wasteland in search of a safe haven devoid of shambling hordes of zombies, alien invaders, or other assorted tropes (which are really just thinly veiled substitutes for what’s actually killing the nonprofit world).  This is our first installment… 


Female_With_Clipboard_Silhouette_590x300Jon and Sarah arrived at the camp close to nightfall with their band of battered nonprofit survivalists in tow. They found the camp by following the RFP instructions posted alongside the train tracks they had been clandestinely pursuing for several weeks. They were looking for sanctuary, and this, they concluded in earnest, might be the place. Eventually they discovered the entrance, slightly obscured by a vast line of emaciated survivors patiently waiting by a 30′ high steel gate. Despite the growing crowds and increasing desperation of each passing day, there was only one gatekeeper on sentry duty. Hair pulled back, she wore a black pin-stripe pantsuit with 3-inch heels — a curious fashion choice for the apocalypse. In lieu of a katana or an AR-47, she wielded something far more deadly… a clipboard and a Sharpie. The sun set, rose and began its daily descent again, without one person being allowed into the camp.

By the time their group made it to the gate, Jon stepped forward and said in his most cordial demeanor, “Good evening. My associate Sarah and I represent a plucky and intrepid group of survivors… might we have five minutes of your…”

“Do you have an LOI?” interrupted the black pantsuit, whose voice, it turned out, was as sharp as the pin-stripes of her pantsuit. Close up, they could see that she wore a fading Avery 5385 name tag that read,“Ferme.” Clearly apocryphal, but also perhaps, prescient.

“A Letter of Intent? But… it’s the end of the… we don’t have… a pen… or water, food… anything!” stammered Sarah.

“The RFP clearly states that an LOI is needed before you can gain entry to our steel-gated, armed encampment. It has to be submitted on a one-page, single spaced letter with 12 point font or similar sized script. In less than 2,000 characters, you are expected to provide a mission statement for your group or person, a history of how you got here, what makes your group unique, the top five camps that previously supported your survival, three goals and objectives that will result from your participation in our camp, the methodology used to track those goals and objectives, the long-term benefits your group can provide our camp, a description of what you want from our camp, how you will recognize and acknowledge the generosity of our camp, and a basic list of resources you believe you need to survive for one year only, keeping in mind that we don’t provide overhead. If you are allowed in, you have to re-apply every year and prove that your participation will be sustainable.”

“I’ll show you my fuckin’ LOI,” mumbled Jon as he slowly thumbed the falchion slung across his back. Sarah grabbed at his arm, shot him a hard look, and moved quickly to de-escalate the situation like she had done countless times before.

“Um, Ferme, or Ms. Ferme… Jon and I are hardened nonprofit survivalists. We probably have submitted a thousand LOIs in our careers – we’ve secured millions in grants and private support. And my brother, Matt, used to be a nonprofit lawyer and fought ninjas and crime lords in Hell’s Kitchen. Our group is made up of people you need. We’ve got engineers, farmers, musicians, nurses, teachers, hell, we’ve even got a legal services attorney and a social worker. Our group can support your camp in every way possible to keep people housed, fed, happy, healthy, educated, and alive. Please… it’s the apocalypse… we don’t have paper or anything to write with… if you just talk with us… give us five minutes… I know you will see the value in what we can provide to this camp. Please!”

The pantsuit sighed, rolled her eyes, and dismissed Sarah as she had done thousands of others before. With a vague boredom she yelled, “Next” and thought to herself, “Still not one goddamn transformative disrupter in the bunch.”

– Sarah & Jon


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