Abstract Many Boards and CEOs of nonprofit organisations face a dilemma in today's increasingly competitive market, that of introducing cultural change by forcing adoption of a market orientation to improve performance. The problem lies in that employees and managers misunderstand or have serious apprehensions towards marketing. In extreme cases, employees call it “going to the darkside”. Via an in-depth case study, the tension-filled process by which management introduced market orientation into a charity is examined. The benefit of the paper is that it forewarns managers of what to expect regarding potential employee resistance. We identify and provide solutions for senior managers considering cultural change towards greater emphasis on marketing activities. The paper advances academic knowledge regarding use of market orientation in charities, with a unique contribution being examination of the change process, managerial experiences and reaction of employees.