“Royals” and working at a nonprofit (#14NTC)

I listening to “Royals” on a loop right now (particularly this version) after a day at the Nonprofit Technology Conference and thinking through an itty-bitty epiphany. The first fifteen or fifty times that I listened to “Royals” I just heard the chorus, and it sounded like another sing-about-money-to-get-money pop piece, albeit with a lush alto voice crying for alms. But then I finally caught this lyric:

“My friends and I we’ve cracked the code
We count our dollars on the train to the party
And everyone who knows us knows
That we’re fine with this, we didn’t come from money”

And I thought of my monthly lunches with people who do communications work for nonprofits, who speak to and for hundreds of thousands of people, for not-much-money. And I think of all of us standing at the lunch counter, arguing with ourselves about whether we’ll pay for soda or ask for the small-plastic-cup-of-shame-and-tap-water. Then checking our phones to tweet to 25,000 people.

I think I’m clear with myself that I didn’t come to earth for money. The people who know me know I’m fine with tap water, that we’re all working together to crack the code that let’s us save the world and live our lives. And there are queenly benefits to this work, whether I’m tweeting or doing the work I’d like to do, writing the laws which govern our lives.

It’s a life measured in impacts, not diamonds.

PS: Here are my 3 favorite versions of this. The first is the original with its hauntingly simple video, then The Boss, then a sad clown.

Inspirational Quote:

“You can call me Queen B.” – Lorde


  1. Thanks for the reminder about the Puddles version–love it! That golden voice! Where can we find more of him?

    I like what you’re saying about life measured in impacts rather than diamonds. I just read another NTC blog post which mentioned a speaker’s interesting example of output vs. outcome via McDonald’s vs. Five Guys. Outcomes/impacts are definitely where we should be focusing. How do we always forget this?

  2. Glad you attended NTC this year! Loved this post (I definitely passed on the Bruce Springsteen cover!) and you really hit on the “why” behind why nonprofit folks do what they do. The quote, “It’s a life measured in impacts, not diamonds.”, sums it up perfectly. Thanks for sharing it.

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