Donation Tickets: Here To Stay

caravansary ticket 2

A number of readers have brought to our attention BMOrg’s latest job posting. They are looking for someone to “manage” their tickets, despite paying about half a million dollars a year to an external firm for ticketing.

Significantly, in the wording of the ad is this:

Manages Locals, Lifetime, Alumni, & Charitable donation ticket programs. 

Lifetime tickets?

Alumni tickets?

We have heard that discounted tickets are available for Gerlach locals.

“Charitable donation tickets” would be the “VIP Tickets” that were sold to select camps for $650 all year-long, without regard to the event being sold out. The $250 above face value is a donation to the Burning Man Project. If Burners sell tickets above face value, it’s “against Burning Man’s Principles”, if BMOrg does it, it’s “saving the world”.  Now that the chumps and suckers and hucksters are magically the same, and Decommodification has become an ironic prank on the community, maybe it’s OK for Burners to re-sell their tickets at market price.

Perhaps if you donate enough money to their charity, you become one of BMOrg’s Alumni.

Missing from the list of duties? Putting stamps on envelopes and mailing tickets to the 20% of Burners who come from other countries. There is no incentive to shorten the Will Crawl line, which is reminiscent of the way nightclubs like to have long lines at their entrances.

image: Donovan Beeson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

image: Donovan Beeson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Proficiency in maths is required, which will be helpful given their predecessor accidentally forgot to count $1.3 million of ticket sales a couple of years back.



Ticketing Associate

Location: San Francisco, CA

Department: Ticketing

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Mid Level


Burning Man’s Ticketing Associate manages specific ticketing programs throughout the year and is the point person for all outward-facing ticketing communications, including architechting participant support. This role also participates in year-round planning for Box Office operations, and on playa acts as one of two Box Office Co-Operations Managers.

This is a full-time, regular position eligible for benefits in our San Francisco office.

Year-round Ticketing Operations:
* Oversees day-to-day participant support including creation of support macros, coordinating with the ticket vendor’s support team, ensuring consistency of messages across all support platforms.

* Maintains accuracy of content in all public-facing channels.

* Monitors and pursues ticket resale activity on the secondary market, including managing a volunteer resale tracking team.

Special Programs:
* Manages Locals, Lifetime, Alumni, & Charitable donation ticket programs.

* Reviews and processes Low Income applications.

* Reviews and processes post-event refund requests.

* Manages interdepartmental BMID process and production and oversees on-playa BMID office operations.

* Assists in creation of all training materials & conducting trainings.

* Acts as Box Office lead for Community Events as needed.

* Manages internal ticket QA process and is responsible for all inventory tracking.

* Responsible for coordinating all internal TRS training and supporting materials.

* Manages internal ticket fulfillment.

* Produces post-event departmental ticket use summaries.

* Manages early on-site staff credentialing & coordinates with the Gerlach Office

* On playa acts as one of two Box Office Co-Operations Managers.

* Attend meetings as needed.

* Support current ticket policies.

* Assist with research as requested by the Legal team.

* Bachelor’s degree or higher

* Must be extremely detail-oriented

* Excellent project management skills

* Exceptional customer service skills

* Strong analytical skills

* Ability to work with sensitive information discreetly

* Ability to follow directions accurately and efficiently

* Working knowledge of Salesforce, FileMaker Pro, MS office suite, internet browers, and email clients.

* Comfortable learning new technologies and their applications.

* Experience managing databases

* Confortable with and proficient in math

* Must be adept at prioritizing competing tasks

* Must possess outstanding verbal and written communication skills

* Participant of Burning Man

* Confident & effective working independently


* Box Office experience

* experience managing volunteers

* experience creating data-driven infographics

* working knowledge of graphics programs

Burning Man is an equal-opportunity employer.

40 comments on “Donation Tickets: Here To Stay

  1. Pingback: “The Fox News of Burning Man” [Update] | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. This “job opening” is a good example of a BOrg action that can be illuminated by considering their NPD. Consider that ticketing is the part of the BOrg operations that is the greatest concern to all burners, and has a major legacy of past mistakes and current issues. This job listing, with all the details, suggests that they are looking to dump a lot of responsibility on this new person.

    For a normal, functional organization, the most experienced person of the dozens of full-time staff would be doing this critical task. While you can presume that this “associate” might report to such an existing person, who do you know that has such a critical job that does not already have people in mind to hire?

    But for a dysfunctional organization, this job is a hot potato. The lower staff know that this job is a kamikaze mission, and that the dysfunctional NPD management will blame everything on this person; so, none of them are stupid enough to take the job. Moreover, they would not refer a friend for the job, as would the person that this associate reports to not hire someone they might know who could do the job. Or, if the person this position reports to is part of the BOrg inner NPD crowd, and they are looking for an “unspoiled” acolyte, that the rest of the staff knows will be chewed up and hung to dry as a sacrafice for the agitated burners.

    Still have not heard back from my application. 🙂

      • Thanks, but I am still putting all the pieces together. Not only do I need lots of normal/NPD contrasting examples like this, but I need to better understand the NPD “pyramid” control you mentioned, and look at the interpersonal advice on how to deal with NPDs to see how that can be applied. Then would hope to run it all by Vaknin and my friend who is the forensic psychiatrist.

        The best advice it to just “leave the relationship,” which I have done, but as a gift to my fellow burners, I would like to put together a complete picture of the BOrg NPD. Hopefully we will get the artists to start exhibiting to alternative burns, with artist-centered contracts. The NV burn will just be the mainstream flypaper with nothing but thin theme and EDM camps for the CCamp people to see from their handicapped golf carts.

        • By pyramid, I mean the idea that there is a hierarchy. People hope to earn what you called “Borg points” by volunteering/sucking up to those higher in the pyramid. To get closer to the top, you are required to 100% drink the Kool-Aid, and never fray from the party line. Years of service and hard work don’t seem to matter so much; there are plenty of stories of people who spoke out once and were dropped like a stone.

          There doesn’t seem to be any reward for this behavior, other than social capital within this group. This can lead to things like “getting a radio”, which makes them feel important. “If you have a radio, you can ask for anything” – and whether it gets done or not, depends on your position within the pyramid.

          • Thank you for elaborating on the Pyramid control. I am sure it figures into the NPD victim pathology. Vaknin covers the victim dysfunction at length, but I need to integrate it into an operational definition for the muti-level organizational structure – or find where he has already done that.

            What is good about Vaknin is that he is an admitted narcissist, so his insights are powerful – and from the inside – that most of us have trouble understanding. Though not a healthcare professional, his publications are well-respected in the field of psychology.

  3. Actually, charitable donation tickets are tickets that Burning Man donates to charities for their fundraising raffles, etc.

      • Perchance, of what Will is stating is not incorrect, but is solely a half truth, Burning Man, i.e., Black Rock City LLC, donates thousands of tickets to charities, i.e., of the main part towards their owners, the Burning Man Project 501(c)3, whom scalp the tickets towards the people the BMOrg desires to attend the event in the desert. Awesome pictures of the Donation Tickets are within your link.

        It would be awesome, and fair, might Black Rock City LLC donate thousands of tickets towards sound camps, mutant vehicle owners, and others providing entertainment, and providing spectacle, towards the BMOrg’s ticket buyers, purposed to assist them towards paying for their costs and labours. I am of the belief of Burning Man donating numerous tickets towards the awesome artists within 2015, in due of it is zero cost to Burning Man, in due of the artists might be termed ‘volunteers’, thusly, they do not count within the 68,000 tickets Burning Man is permitted to sell towards paid participants.

        • Shrewd analysis, I suspect you’re right. “Thankyou Tickets” are therefore “Fundraising Raffles”, part of their “saving the world”. They generously donated them to BMP – perhaps getting a tax write-off – and BMP then sold them to VIPs to raise funds.

          Pity Will didn’t bother to answer any of the other questions here – like the STEP ones. He was visiting this community site during business hours, after all. I guess the Minister of Propaganda is paid for deflection and misdirection, more so than customer support.

          • My brilliant mate, whom assisted towards the Great BMOrg Cash Out post, she stated of the BRC LLC, Burning Man, might, perchance, pay tax levies upon their profits, in due of the BRC LLC, Burning Man, being a festival not devoted towards the purposes of the Burning Man Project, which might be an ‘educational’ 501(c)3, purposed towards educating people on the Tin Principles, thusly a tax deduction might be desired by the BRC LLC.

            But, might the Project change towards an ‘art’ 501(c)3, and, in due of Burning Man being an Art Festival, no tax levies need be paid. Might this be occurring, of which, devoting Burning Man towards art would be awesome, my desire is the AG of the state of California not approve of this change, in due of the people in near total control of the Project, and of the BRC LLC, hiding big, and perchance, insurmountable, conflicts of interests from donors of cash, art, and labour towards the Burning Man Project and towards the owned Black Rock City LLC.

            But, this is solely speculation, based upon their actions, and upon prior comments by my mate. Commentary, by others whom are knowledgeable of this, is desired.

          • From their 2012 Irs filing on

            NTEE Category: S Community Improvement, Capacity Building
            S20 (Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement)

            The new web site seems to be really downplaying the charitable aspects, even though they have switched to a .org from a .com …wonder why that is?

          • Doublespeak. They don’t want to commit explicit fraud. They want the fraud to be in the mind of the faithful and their donors, “to the full extent allowed by law.”

          • ‘The new web site seems to be really downplaying the charitable aspects,’

            I do not understand this in terms of 501(c)3 corporations, Tanya, or Pantsless, or others, might do so. All I know is what is stated within the links, from the Great BMOrg Cash Out post, of ‘CA 501(c)3 law’, it is an awesome primer, and the Project bylaws, linked from the new Project website, of the title ‘Restated Bylaws of the Burning Man Project, A California Public Benefit Corporation, Adopted Unanimously December 09, 2013’. The Project must have an application in to the AG of the state of California, upon combining the BRAF, and the Burning Man Project. Might this be so, the Project bylaws, and the mission statement, must be restated. If so, this information must be stated within the minutes of the Burning Man Project board meetings, of which, any person might view, and copy, and report upon them.

            Upon page 37 of the bylaws-
            ‘The organization may, but is not obligated, to post its annual informational returns on its website in the form of as .pdfs or similar unalterable digital file format. Minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors, except for sections of such meetings held in executive session, shall be available to the public for inspection and copying during regular business hours. The organization shall cooperate with all public disclosure laws and regulations.’ emphasis added

            Might any member of the awesome Burner community be pissed upon the Commodification Camp rubbish, and, desire to make a difference, they are of the ability to do this, and pen a guest post, or Burnileaks, upon this.

          • Of what manner are Commodification Camps within the mission statement, within the bylaws of the Project?

            ‘The mission of the Burning Man Project is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into a larger world. In order to do this, the Burning Man Project will uphold and manifest the values described in the Ten Principles of Burning Man, specifically: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy, as fully set out in exhibit A attached and incorporated by reference. Burning Man Project shall provide the philosophical and educational tools, curriculum, and organizational structure that will allow the people to apply the Ten Principles in many communities and spheres of endeavor. These Ten Principles are integral to one another, nothing short of all of them combined will really do. The principled means to that serve our mission shall always be inherent in our goals and projects. “Burning Man” shall be understood as referring to a way of life lived consistently with these Ten Principles. “Community” as referred to in these principles applies to any human community.’

      • “…so you guys are getting rid of the $650 VIP “Donation tickets” then?” That was EXACTLY the conclusion he was hoping you would jump to, presuming you even believe that such tickets even existed.

        If I answered questions like that in my work, I would be out of business. Then again, people hire me for helpful information, not to obfuscate and scatter the game pieces.

    • OK, will, I will play… What do you call the tickets you sell, like you did this year, for $650 with the $250 donation?

  4. Any further information on whether STEP tickets were sold as $650 gift tickets? Or whether those 1,000 “missing” STEP tickets were really held back by the org (although makes no sense why they’d do that.)

    Suddenly there is a lot of suspicion that the STEP program might not be on the up and up. But there’s no evidence yet. It does make me question whether its best not to participate in STEP next year int he unlikely event that I have a spare ticket.

    • The only information we have to go on is BMOrg’s own words. We covered this here:

      On July 17 2014, they said:

      “Good news! The system is working! Over 2,500 tickets have been sold back through STEP, snapped up by eager Burners yearning for the playa.”

      On July 24 2014, they said:

      “we’ve been able to free up some additional tickets for the community. In addition to the tickets sold back to participants, we’ve already put 1,500 tickets into STEP, and this week we’re adding 1,000 more”

      BMOrg should come clean and let us know exactly how many tickets were sold into STEP, how many were sold back out via STEP, if they added extra tickets to STEP (in addition to those sold by Burners) then how many and why, and how many people were still in the STEP queue when they shut it down early and made everyone try again in the OMG.

      I just can’t understand what the huge secret is here, that involves “a lot of moving parts” and requires months of consideration before revealing. Surely it is a good thing from their perspective that supply exceeded demand.

      According to BMOrg’s own words, quoted in the link above, at least three thousand tickets mysteriously appeared from somewhere at the last minute, which reeks of artificially creating scarcity – to manipulate the prices on the secondary market, perhaps? If not that reason, then why?

  5. Another way to phrase the job description might be:
    “-Must be both familiar with, yet willing to take the fall for, the following, but not limited to: Commodification Camp Scalping and Early Entry Pass dispersal, Will Crawl Shitshow, Leading a volunteer army of internet spy trolls to monitor and harass people (other than yourself) who sell tickets above face value, do whatever the fuck we say or you fry, be our scapegoat and incur the wrath of millions, and implanting chips into all Sherpas and Vendors for 24/7 monitoring…”

  6. European countries and Australia would reliably deliver tickets through their mail services but for most of the other countries, hell no. I don’t even get half the post cards I send myself. But why not use DHL or Fedex, which work around the world. Not like the ORG eats the cost of the shipping. Offer international shipping with signature confirmation.

    I know I would rather pay 30$ extra than sit in will call line for four hours like I did this year, Wednesday pre event no less with 20 people in front of me. Of course 10 of those people were picking up their whole build crew’s tickets and every single one of those tickets needed processing through the box office’s seemingly archaic validation processes that takes 10 min per ticket and the inevitable issue that arises when people have handwritten notes from ticket buyers allowing intermediaries to pick up their tickets. Jeez that was a shit show. End of rant.

  7. Just want to point out that residents of Gerlach get free tickets to the event (one of my campmates is married to a resident and he gets a free ticket every year), so that what might be the “lifetime” tickets they are referring to.

      • I’m not sure about Gerlach/empire folks getting free tickets. I know in years past they could get a laminate/badge for unlimited in and outs. Keep in mind that Gerlach has less than 100 full time residents, and Empire less than 5. I think. If you add in all the people living on ranches in the area, it is still less than 200 folks.

        Years ago BORG did give free tickets to local tribe members, however many of the tickets that borg gave them ended up getting sold. I think they now offer them steeply discounted tix.($100?)

        Lifetime tickets? I believe they are also known as “gold pass” tickets. Perhaps 1-200 people at the most would be able get them. I think they are handed out to folks from the early days who “went above and beyond”, to help make the event happen. Rumor is/was people who kicked down extra cash (I think they asked for $100) to help with cleanup in 97 get them. I also think that some people from the early 90s get them as well but am not sure.

        Alumni tickets? Are for folks that have worked the event in years past. Not everyone, but people that have played a significant role, Dept. mangers and so forth.

        So if you add up all the “comp” tickets to the local, lifetime and alumni could be entitled to, it is probability less than a few hundred, and tickets passed out is more likely a few dozen at the most.

        fyi, I am a gold ticket holder, and have not been out to the event in many many years.

    • From a speech Larry gave in 1997 at the end of the event, when they were deep in debt and needed a way to pay for “mandated services”:

      “LH: If anybody wants to give us five, five hundred dollars, they are lifetime Burning Man. They can come forever.”

      It was on the old BM web site; not sure if it’s on the new one anywhere. It’s an interesting window into the early relationship between law enforcement and the Org. Cached link here:

  8. This is probably the toughest job at BMOrg. Don’t do it! Constant complaints, begging, questions, etc.

    As for not shipping overseas still, it would be nice, but I totally get it. Every country has different rules, different postal systems, etc. A few years back Canada had a postal strike just as tickets were going out. Canada is the only other country that BM will mail tickets to and it was a disaster. I ended up stranded at the gate for 24 hours because I had early arrival but no ticket and Will Call wasn’t even open yet. Boo urns!

    • “we can’t mail tickets overseas because a country’s postal service might strike” – that may be their excuse, but I’m not buying it. Someone should do an analysis of how many of the world’s 200+ countries’ postal services went on strike 3 months before Burning Man, over the last 25 years. Usually, a strike is for days or a week, not months. Of course, there’s always the “email and print at home” that the rest of the multi-billion dollar ticketing world uses. But it’s harder for them to charge $12 “handling” for that.

      • This is not a conspiracy, its a question of logistics. It is also impossible to send the survival guide and other important safety materials if you just print your ticket at home. This isn’t a football game or a ticket to a play.

        Also, the reason they do not ship to foreign countries is there is no way to guarantee delivery, i.e. with UPS/USPS they can force a signature and get verification of delivered tickets. This stops someone from calling and saying, “I never got my tickets!” while sitting on a pair of tickets fraudulently. Not all countries abroad have this system in place. Think of the logistical nightmare– people saying their tickets didn’t arrive in Berlin/Tokyo/Bangkok/Amsterdam. People showing up with tickets that have been canceled and/or re-issued or any variation of problems.

        The real question is why they haven’t fixed the will call process at the gates — every year it is a disaster. Adding will call locations in Reno/San Francisco would be VERY helpful at least for a couple of days at the beginning of the week and would cut down on congestion into the event.

        • You’re talking about some of the biggest cities in the world. The idea that you can’t send mail there makes no sense. If the free postal service can send a postcard from the Playa, BMHQ can mail a ticket from the middle of San Francisco.

          If tickets don’t arrive in the US, it’s the same problem as if they don’t arrive in Berlin. The USPS is not a superior quality service to Deutsche Post.

          DHL can deliver with signature for receipt to pretty much every country in the world.

          If people said their tickets didn’t arrive, and couldn’t resolve that until they were at the Box Office, they’d have to buy an exception ticket. There’s already all kinds of chaos at Will Call – as you point out – so removing 14,000 people from the line would not make the chaos worse.

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