Game of Thrones Nonprofit Staffers

We know them. We work with them. We eat lunch with them. They are our colleagues who resemble characters from Game of Thrones. By no means a definitive list, but definitely an accurate list.

Bran Stark

Bran is the quintessential Executive Director. Doesn’t say a lot in meetings, pretty much zones out in every conversation, and where exactly was he before coming to your organization? No one knows. On the other hand, he has somehow convinced the entire organization he has special skills (powers?) which everyone expects will somehow make great things possible. The one time you expect him to step up big and close the icy major donor, he wargs into some lame corporate sponsor who gives an in-kind gift of bags with ravens on them. Way to under-impress everyone, Bran.

Arya Stark

Arya is obviously the day-saving Executive Assistant. You can tell she has a bit of a sordid past, but she’s charming and knows how to clean up the ED’s lackluster failures. Her wardrobe choice is a bit peculiar, and you’re pretty sure she could kill you with an envelope opener. But remember that one time the ED was supposed to close the icy major donor and didn’t? Yeah, well Arya snuck in at the last minute and closed the deal, even though it clearly wasn’t her responsibility. I’m not sure anyone was really surprised, though.

Cersei Lannister

Cersei is your run-of-the-mill horrible board member. She’s clearly in it for selfish reasons, and only got on the board because of her rich husband, who died rather questionably. She has something negative to say at every meeting and just wants her stupid kids and brother to chair various ridiculous committees. She would gladly see the organization go bankrupt before giving up her position.

The Night King

Controversial opinion here, but I’m going to say the Night King is the rarity we know as a true “Nonprofit Leader.” Leaders have followers, and this guy has hordes, doesn’t he? And is there a better example of a leader who raises up his followers and lets them do what they’re supposed to do? Conversely, his staff are too dependent on him, and when he goes on a “long vacation” everyone pretty much falls down on the job.

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion is probably the CFO. And since so many nonprofits do this weird thing of shoveling finance, operations and HR into one position, it’s perfect. He knows the numbers, but also somehow gets people. The ED and board question him all the time, though he usually ends up being painfully right. Side note: He may have a drinking problem, and several people have reported smelling Dornish wine on his breath in the office.

Rickon Stark

Sweet Rickon. Sweet, sweet Rickon. As the millennial Project Manager, everyone really enjoys his generally positive attitude, including the belief he can survive the cruelty of the dreaded Program Director. Sadly, no one was very surprised when the Program Director gave Rickon “autonomy” over that Zig Zag project, and when he didn’t deliver, he was executed. Fired, I mean fired.


As a fundraiser myself, I hate to admit… Varys is a Development Director, but a really smarmy one. He deploys a ton of sinister methods to get people’s donations, including really icky methods of gaining people’s trust, and even flat-out lying about the organization’s mission and programs. To the chagrin of Association of Fundraising Professionals, he uses his friends who work at other nonprofits to gain information about their donors, then solicits them directly for his organization.

Who’s missing? Who are we leaving off? With the seemingly endless list of characters, who’s obviously a nonprofiteer from the show?

See also: The Five People You Meet In Nonprofits

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