There are in this world those who are managed and those who manage. Among the managed populations are, the poor, employees, prisoners, clients, and donors. All are handled as they are moved effectively and efficiently through a repeable and optimized process. The process has inputs, outputs, and outcomes. The process is run by MBAs and is of course dehumanizing. The cost of dehumanization is covered under Medicare and Medicaid and most employer provided health plans, under drugs for depression. Also, dehumanization costs are built into prison funding. So, in that sense the costs are also benefits to GNP which is the best measure of societal success. The bigger GNP the better!
Let us consider philanthropic fundraising on analogy with air travel. You line up and you and your baggage are processed effectively and efficiently for the convenience and profitabilty of the airlines. Whether you get peanuts, and how many is ultimately decided by the higher ups, and is factored into the spreadsheet and yield management systems.
Your better customers and clients, the high net worth and high income clients, can go first class. They too are handled and processed for the benefit of the owners of the airline, profitably, and that means effectively and efficiently within a routine, reliable, and repeatable process, just a better one. They get wine as an amenity; you pay for wine. They get a hot meal. You get a Deluxe Turkey Carver Sandwich, or a MegaBite Chocolate Chip Cookie for the lowest possible price at which a profit can be made by the airline, based on its hurdle rate and cost of capital.
Yet, bypassing this system of being managed for the benefit of the owner are - surprise surprise! - the owners themselves. Those who own and operate Wealth Bondage Worldwide fly not first class but in a private jet. They fly when they want, where they want, in splendid hassle free solitude. This is the reward for hard work and success managing industry, the nonprofit sector, and our government. We in philanthropic planning call these make it or break clients and donors Hyperagents, or Sir or Mistress. We call them whatever they want us to call them, if we are lucky enough to be in their presence, for they are surrounded by gatekeepers.
Ask yourself, if you are a fundraiser whether your gift planning process, your gift pipeline, is managed for the benefit of the managers (your boss and institution) or whether it is managed for the benefit of the client or donor. Ideally, your process will be like air travel. For the coach passengers you will have direct mail and other routinized, annoying, and dehumanizing, but efficient and effective processes that maximize the outputs and outcomes and minimize the inputs. That will drive down overhead and make you a high performing high impact organization and earn you the attention of Strategic Venture Funders, perhaps via a Giving Intermediary that measures charities objectively and has ranked you at the top of the list, based on business like criteria, so we can do analysis, like a stock fund manager or a hedge fund investor.
But remember, Dummy! The owner class themselves, are not subject to their own rules and do not respond well to being treated as they treat others, or as the systems of which they are the head, or into which they invest their funds, treat others. They are not cattle, servants, employees, stooges, muppets, pidgeons, marks, human resources, or chumps, like us. They are owners, and in the upper levels, Hyperagents. They create the reality within which we dwell. They create their own reality too in which they dwell. And their reality does not feel or taste or look the same as anything within our direct experience. There is Reality I for the managed. That is your daily bread. Then there is Reality II for the upper income managers and the owners of no big deal businesses. Then there is Reality III for the owners and the owners of the owners, the market makers, the market shakers, the market takers, the too big and too connected to fail. Reality II is the upgrade on your airline. Reality III is the purchaser of your airline. Reality I is succeeding by doing as told by a manager until you are rendered redundant. Reality II is succeeding in a market. Reality III is creating, mastering, and if need be rigging a market.
Your highest level fundraising should equate not to first class, but to the private jet.
In routine travel, the airlines decide what destinations to serve, by what route. In philanthropic fundraising, the Hyperagent client or donor decides what he or she will accomplish via your institution. They leverage you, not the other way around. Unless you get that and serve that they will find others who will.
What do the Hyperagents want? They want precisely what we all want. The difference is that they are in a position to demand it, and to get it. What they want is the following process.
- Listen to my life story.
- Find meaning in my life story and inspiration.
- Reflect back to me my own greatness (as a manager, investor, human).
- Connect your institution in a meaningful way to the amazing story of me.
- Provide me with a way of amplifying my life story by creating amazing results - the world I want! My world! My Way!
- Be accountable. To whom? To me!
- Be my steward. Be my servant. Serve whom? Serve me! And in so doing serve God and Humanity, for I am Me, to whom God has vouchsafed his Mission on Earth.
- Report back frequently on your success in creating The World We Want. "We" in the Royal Plural.
- Show me that my investment in creating The World We Want is paying dividends, that my social investment is high performing, that my program or project has high Social Return on Investment.
- Reflect back to me my self image. If I am Christian let me feel the Christiananness of the process! Live the values! If I am a business person, talk to me in business language. If I am a Buddhist Billionaire, talk business with a Buddhist tilt.
- Offer to write my Gospel of Wealth with me. "As told to." Make it so that my children and spouse love me. Make it so my life had meaning. Make it so God loves me as his emissary on earth. Make it so I am special, now forever and always. Make it so the conscience is quiet. Make it so the scales stay tight upon my eyes. Make it so the world changes, not me.
We have been using the airline analogy. But you are not some clerk, are you? You are not the baggage handler? You are not the uniformed gate agent, who speaks in the passive? "We are experiencing travel related delays. We are experiencing a gate change. We are experiencing a lost baggage situation...." No! You are more like a serving professional, as am I; and in upper level fundraising you might liken it to a country club. The servers do not wear name tags, unlike in places serving the middle class and the merely affluent. In a country club the servers know the guests by first name. The guests know the servers by first name. The guests ask about the server's children, how they are doing, etc. We have a relationship. We are Trusted Servers. We are like family, in a way, or like the Trusted Servants and long term Retainers in Shakespeare, reflecting a just Feudal Order, reporting up to a Virgin Queen (My Mistress!). We provide a good experience reflecting back to guests their good taste, humanity and decency. Our easy deference confirms the social order, the great chain of being, where all creatures large and small fill their alloted space. We do provide a menu, but we, through the chef are happy to cook something to order.
Now, if you get this, does your boss at the institution for which you raise funds? If you are a fundraiser and are capable of rising to the level of private jet services, or a meal cooked to order in the country club, or to laws passed via a Congressman purchased through a Superpac, or a law passed by Supreme Court Justices whose spouses on the are payroll of the funder, does your organization allow you to provide such special service for such special donors? If the answer is no, then you are not in the game. You don't even know there is a game, much less where the game is played, or the rules of the game. You cannot manage these hyperagents to fit your process. They will manage you, because they own you, and they own the game within which you and your organization are chips, representing an investment. They are hyperagents and they by defintion create the reality within which others operate, whether through philanthropy, business, or government. They might likened not to a poor priest in some South American village shot dead by who knows whom for promoting social reform, but to the Pope who speaks ex Cathedra and shakes the hands of Presidents, Dictators, and Tsar's.
We all have to adjust. Morals Tutoring, my area of special expertise, has evolved to meet market needs. Having set up to provide morals coaching for hyperagents, and finding there were no takers at any price, including free, and having been beaten almost to death, over and over, for my (perceived) insolence, I have now found success offering coaching to losers like you. The wealthy are happy to subsidize the moral reform of their servants, the imprisoned, their employees, even their children who are a constant sorepoint. So, business is picking up. As an outcome of the inputs, this post (my output) should pretty well reform your life. I will be around to check to make sure it has. My hyperagent clients expect the best from you. Now get out there and do it. The World We Want, won't wait.