Letters to a Young Fundraiser: The Philanthropeon Wars and the Fall of Telethonika

My Dear Friend:

You wrote of a growing strain on your spirit that seems to have no reasonable source, as your position is unobjectionable, your master provides you accommodations enough, and your annual fundraising goal numbers not unduly burdensome. What then?
You ask if you are perhaps “a loser.” I think not.
During my youth, my father — a fundraising titan who fought for funding alongside Major Donor — became disgusted with my inadequate Girl Scout cookie sales and sent me away to a notorious fundraising academy, one of the very strictest of the Transactional schools.
I was miserable and branded a failure — a loser — at “working the room,” and “friend-raising,” and so on, until I was confined to the barracks for insubordination after I refused to ply my trade at a memorial service, trading donations for signatures in the guest book.
But then I took a History of Fundraising in Western Civilization class. I learned about the Philanthropeon Wars.
I learned about the lost city-state of Telethonika, where disability democracy had been born around the year 504 BC. It is a loss that echoes down through millennia through some fundraisers who have the disability consciousness and who feel the shadow each year as Labor Day approaches. You may be feeling the echo of the fall of Telethonika, that flattish plain located one mountain over from Sparta.

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The NotPeople Magazine Rationalest Man Alive Interview: Peter Singer Gets Notpersonal With A Respironics Bi-Pap S/T

Parody People magazine cover announcing NotPeople's Rationalest Man Alive! Peter SingerAs part of Tales From the Crip’s new series, Imaginary Interviews With People Who We Wish Were Imaginary, our own Respironics Bi-Pap S/T sat down with philosopher Dr. Peter Singer, Princeton’s Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, whose anti-crip, pro-swine agenda argues that infanticide of babies with disabilities should be legal up until the 28th day after birth, that health care for people with disabilities should be rationed, and that the consciousness of some pigs doesn’t get enough respect. These fascis — fascinating ideas are just the tip of the iceberg of why Peter Singer is gracing the cover of NotPeople magazine as the Rationalest Man Alive! 

RBPS/T:  Welcome to the United States, Dr. Peter Singer, and all Bruces from Australia.

PS: G’day.

RBPS/T: We’re going to have a rational discussion!

PS: Rational.

RBPS/T:  Rational.

PS: Rational.

RBPS/T:  You’ve been named NotPeople’s Rationalest Man Alive 2015. How does this make you feel?

PS: Rational.

RBPS/T:  Any plans for keeping the title in 2016?

PS: I don’t make plans more than 28 days ahead.

Coming Up in the Interview! 

Peter Singer as you’ve never heard him!  

“Your bizarre stereotypes about Australian people are getting in the way of me explaining why infanticide is the rational choice for parents of disabled infants!”

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Working While Disabled: All About M.O.I. Versus the T.E.A.M. Access Approach

BIPAPST

Dear Respironics Bi-Pap S/T,

I’m feeling like such a loser because I can’t get hired for even one job and all I’m suddenly hearing about is this big push for disabled people to get employed. And then there are these ads that act like it’s just my attitude that’s my problem.

Signed,

Feeling like an Uninspired, Unmotivated Kid with a Disability

Dear FUUKD,

First, take a deep (assisted) breath. Now let’s get your head right: Go watch the late (god, I hate writing that) Stella Young’s epic takedown of inspiration porn.

Sure, you’re going to hear that all landing a job really takes for a person with a disability (pwd) is to adopt the All About M.O.I. approach. If you’re not yet working, you’re not trying hard enough to:

Motivate yourself

Overcomerate your disability

Inspirate all who meet you with your “What, me disabled?” attitude

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Letters to a Young Fundraiser: #GivingTuesday Ennui

My Dear Friend,

Thank you for your letter. Your deep and loving trust in my counsel truly makes it possible for me to do the work that I do. I can do no more than thank you. I cannot comment on the style of your year-end fundraising campaign; I cannot take on the role of critic. This is best left to your board, your director, your program staff, Facebook posters, Twitter trolls, and, of course, the otherwise kindly fellow who, upon receipt of your latest missive, alerts you to the missing serial comma in the final paragraph. It is almost always so among our kind and I will speak no more of it. You have made the inexpressible expressed in your ask and to the inexhaustible yearning — How much must I give? — you have said, Any amount that is meaningful to you. And you put this in the PS, as well. You can do no more.

But to continue, year after year, as I have, when the phrases once fresh to a yearling fundraiser, ring as predictably as the morning alarm. Having said these things at the outset, I now dare tell you only this: It’s only going to get worse for you. You wrote to me because you feel the heavy, herding step of #GivingTuesday. You feel an unintended consequence of so much caring that has been calendared months in advance, when each of our individual concerns, housed in the apparatus of our organizations, presented through The Individual Story, a chorus line of concern where your own shapely leg kicks out, but that draws attention more to its whole than some of its parts.

The only cure for this ennui is authenticity and this, my dear, dear friend is difficult to define. You must at times wait for The Angel to speak to you. Go inside. When you know why you must fundraise — it is who you are, it’s October and your year-end numbers are going to tank if you don’t get it in gear — you find your cause and write. And rewrite and show it early in the process to someone who will have to approve it anyway, and start over and then when you need for it to be done, you’ll redo it for the digital version. And #GivingTuesday.

With my sincerest devotion and respect,

IT

PS If you have an inexhaustible yearning to give, this is a very shapely organization that kicks a lot of ass.