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Spotlight on No Evil Project

No Evil Project's Kellii: Grandmother, Bipolar, Brown-eyed

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have No Evil Project nominated by donors Alistair and Rebecca. This community photo project shows that people aren't defined by their labels. So let's welcome No Evil Project to our charity of the month club!

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: here's how it works. Donors pool their monthly contributions, as little as $1. The cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So please share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. The bigger the pot, the bigger our positive impact on the world!

About No Evil Project

Are you evil? If not, we need your help!

Unless you have a secret fortress high in the mountains and are devising nefarious plots to bring about world destruction, you can help with the No Evil Project. Everyone is different, and that's a good thing. Everyone is labeled, and despite all the stereotypes out there, you know your labels don't define you. Your combination of labels is what makes you unique.

This is a community photo project where people like you (and not like you) pick three labels that describe themselves, take photos posing as the three wise monkeys, "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil," and write a good thing they've done to show they're not evil. (Simple, right?) The goal? To show the world that anyone can do good, no matter who they are.

So visit No Evil Project's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And finally, check out photographer/executive director Troy B. Thompson's TEDx talk:

Spotlight on Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Leukemia & Lymphoma Society nominated by donor amrizzo01. They've invested over $1.2B in cancer research, focusing on blood cancers. So let's welcome LLS to our charity of the month club!

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: the cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. (Hint: sometimes bigger is better.)

About Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Cancer is a heck of an opponent.

It's a bully. But we aren't afraid of a fight.
It's elusive. But our focus never fades.
It's deadly. But we are known cancer killers.

Since 1949, we've pioneered groundbreaking research that leads us to believe we will find the cures for cancer in our blood.

We were born to defeat this opponent.
We are The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Beating cancer is in our blood.

Mission

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Three pillars of our mission:

  • Research - LLS has invested more than $1.2 billion in cutting-edge research, funding nearly all of today's most promising advances, and bringing us closer to cures.
  • Patient Support - We provided free information, support services and financial assistance to over 30,000 people last year.
  • Policy & Advocacy - Our nationwide grassroots network of more than 100,000 volunteers advocate for state and federal policies that benefit patients.

So visit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And finally, check out their brand new Tougher Than Cancer spot:

Congrats to April Winner, Outer Banks SPCA!

Charitocracy's 20th check: to Outer Banks SPCA for $1103

First, a general update

It's been smooth sailing this past month. Tons of paperwork completed for our nationwide registration. The pot size was up in April, even if just a bit, to cross $1100. You nominated some fantastic causes, the newest of which I'll be blogging about soon. And we're even on Instagram now!

Two things you can do today to help us at Charitocracy:

  1. Grow our donor base and monthly pot: sign yourself up or convince someone you love (or kinda like).
  2. Liven up the party: check out the activity on Charitocracy and make it less anonymous.

We'd love to get our May prize closer to $1200, and our active donors above 200!

April 2018 winner: Outer Banks SPCA

Monday night we voted in Charitocracy's 20th monthly winner. Congratulations to Outer Banks SPCA and to donor bjstager for nominating it! You have a week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to OBX SPCA next week.

Who we are and what we do....

The Outer Banks SPCA is an open-admission animal shelter dedicated to caring for all the lost and homeless animals of Dare County. As such, we take in approximately 2,000 dogs and cats each year. We never turn away a Dare County fur resident, whether they be sick, injured, aggressive or behavior challenged. We receive owner give ups, lost, stolen or stray, but we never turn away.

Outer Banks SPCA believes it is not the animal's fault for being at the shelter. We want every healthy, treatable and manageable animal to get a second chance at love. We're dedicated and determined to saving every life we can through responsible animal care practices. We strive to maintain good health and a sound temperament in all our animals. We practice humane education and employ proactive adoption programs to decrease our animals length of stay and optimize space.

Check out this video about Outer Banks SPCA's new sidekick program, pairing experienced volunteers with hard to place dogs, and feel good about your part in our collective $1103+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great May and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

Show me yours, I’ll show you mine

Don't be all private like this guy. Show your face @ Charitocracy!

Was that a clickbait enough headline for a blog post about privacy at Charitocracy?

I want to highlight three things in this blog post:

  1. Your privacy settings: what they mean, and how to adjust them.
  2. The activity log: where it is and what it looks like.
  3. Call to action: loosen your privacy settings and make friends to bring the activity log to life!

Your privacy settings

Especially in today's climate of social media data privacy concerns, I want to be clear that Charitocracy respects your privacy. We don't sell it or give it away. We don't use your data in any weird or unexpected way. And finally, we don't ask for more than we need to make the web site kick ass.

If you go to My Account > Settings > Privacy, you'll see this:

Share these portions of my data with...

There are 5 categories of data:

  • Donation amounts: dollars contributed
  • Voting history: causes that have received your votes
  • Rough location: zip code as used by donor map (if supplied)
  • Friends & Giving Tree: friends list, and who invited whom to join
  • Activity log: history of donating, voting, friending, etc., with details filtered out according to your other settings above

And there are 3 privacy settings for each category:

  • Public: anyone and everyone can see it
  • Friends: only your friends on Charitocracy can see it (default)
  • No one: not even your friends can see it

By default, all categories of data are visible only to friends. And by default, you have no friends on Charitocracy. So you start with a clean slate of no data visible to others. (But what fun is that?! I have more to say on this topic in the next sections.)

Note on Friends & Giving Tree data: privacy settings for both sides of each connection are respected. So if you make your friends list public, it doesn't mean all your friends will be revealed. Only if their privacy settings are sufficiently open will others be able to see them on your friends list. So no need to worry about outing someone who may want to remain private. They're still in full control of their own data.

The activity log

On the dashboard you can see everything happening on Charitocracy. Every vote, every donation made, every profile picture updated, etc. But which details you see depends on the privacy settings of the donor who took the action (and any other donors involved in the action for things like friend or invitation acceptances).

Activity log

This is what the activity log might look like to a random user right now. Plenty going on all the time, but who's doing it?! Notice a couple early adopters have loosened their privacy settings so we can see their activity and their vote recipients. Wouldn't it be great if more of these activities had names and faces associated with them?

A call to action

After all that talk about how private your data is, now we'd like you to loosen the drawstrings and let the cat out of the bag. If you love something, set it free! Change some/all of your privacy settings to Public!

Here are reasons to make your data public:

  • Donation amounts: When others see your dollar amounts, big or small, they're more likely to give more (or more often) themselves! For once, try to be less modest.
  • Voting history: How better to hype your favorite cause than to show everyone your support for it?! And remember, this isn't a government election. There are no bad choices on the ballot to be ashamed of! Just a variety of 501(c)(3) nonprofits competing for your vote.
  • Rough location: This is just a fun way to see how far-flung (or not) other donors are. We're only talking about zip codes, or even states or countries. Street addresses aren't accepted even if you want everyone to know!
  • Friends & Giving Tree: This helps discover more friends on Charitocracy and encourages bringing more friends into Charitocracy, and in turn growing the monthly pot for our winners!
  • Activity log: This is the way to get your name and face on the activity log when you do stuff, even if you've redacted some/all of the details above. The less anonymous, the more fun and vibrant for everyone!

If some bits make you panicky and others don't, only make public what you're comfortable with. And if you don't want to share everything/anything even with friends, you can change settings to share with no one, and then feel more comfortable making friends on Charitocracy with hasty abandon. That's another way to improve the activity log: make more friends so you can at least see their stuff (still subject to "no one" privacy settings) and vice versa.

Here's looking forward to activity logs full of friendly faces and full-fledged facts and figures!

If you love something, set it free.

Spotlight on Sky’s the Limit Fund

Sky's the Limit Fund

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Sky's the Limit Fund nominated by donor obxlisa. This charity provided a grant that helped her son attend SUWS of the Carolinas, a wilderness-based treatment center for children, adolescents, and teens struggling with autism. So let's welcome Sky's the Limit to our charity of the month club!

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: the cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So share this post and ask your friends to join us and vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. (Hint: sometimes bigger is better.)

About Sky's the Limit Fund

The mission of Sky’s the Limit Fund (STLF) is to transform the lives of youth in crisis by providing grants, support, and hope through wilderness therapy programs and beyond.

Our vision is for youth to achieve their full potential as healthy and valued members of society.

Why Wilderness Therapy

Wilderness therapy programs use the wilderness as a tool to quickly and effectively impact students at risk. Experiential in nature, emotional growth wilderness programs provide struggling youth an opportunity to challenge themselves physically and emotionally while exploring the unhealthy behaviors that have prevented them from making progress in their lives. The wilderness program environment provides a supportive, non-judgmental arena in which students can process their limiting beliefs and core issues, and begin to view themselves and their abilities from a different perspective. The challenges inherent in a wilderness setting provide daily success experiences which serve to challenge old, negative beliefs and lead to new, more positive self-perceptions.

So visit Sky's the Limit Fund's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And finally, check out this short film about STLF:

Spotlight on Homeboy Industries

Homeboy Industries Homegirl Cafe

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Homeboy Industries nominated by donor skipshoe. So let's welcome Homeboy Industries to our charity of the month club!

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: the cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So share this post and ask your friends to vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. (Hint: bigger is better.)

Let us know if there's some way we can support you in spreading the word about Charitocracy! You're our cheerleading squad. Enthusiastic, loud, repetitive. Pom-poms everywhere. Go-o-o-o-o Team Charitocracy!

About Homeboy Industries

Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. Each year over 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles come through Homeboy Industries’ doors in an effort to make a positive change. They are welcomed into a community of mutual kinship, love, and a wide variety of services ranging from tattoo removal to anger management and parenting classes. Full-time employment is offered for more than 200 men and women at a time through an 18-month program that helps them re-identify who they are in the world, offers job training so they can move on from Homeboy Industries and become contributing members of the community - knowing they count!

“Homeboy Industries has been the tipping point to change the metaphors around gangs and how we deal with them in Los Angeles County. This organization has engaged the imagination of 120,000 gang members and helped them to envision an exit ramp off the 'freeway' of violence, addiction and incarceration. And the country has taken notice. We have helped more than 40 other organizations replicate elements of our service delivery model, broadening further the understanding that community trumps gang -- every time.” - Father Greg

So visit Homeboys Industries' page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And finally, check out this short film about their mission:

Congrats to March Winner, NPR!

Charitocracy's 19th check: to NPR for $1073

Update on the monthly pot size

The March pot was up from February's. One dollar. $1072 to $1073. It's moving in the right direction, and a perfect reminder that every dollar counts. "It's all about the Washingtons, baby."

I sound like a TV commercial for Save The Children or Save The Animals or something. "For less than the price of a cup of coffee..." But that's really what we're talking about: a small but regular contribution that pales in comparison to most coffee budgets, yet delivers way more. And there's also the network effect. The more donors, the bigger the pot, the more fun it is for all of us, and the bigger impact we have. (Scary thought: if you all donated coffee instead. Zzingg!)

See this blog post for ways you can help. Bottom line: convince a friend to join us!

March 2018 winner: NPR

Last night night we voted in our 7th cause of Charitocracy's 2nd year. Congratulations to NPR and to donor Maurice for nominating it! You have 1 week to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to NPR next week.

The NPR Mission

The mission of NPR is to work in partnership with Member Stations to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

To accomplish our mission, we produce, acquire, and distribute programming that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression; we represent our members in matters of their mutual interest; and we provide satellite interconnection for the entire public radio system.

Check out this NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and feel good about your part in our collective $1073+ grant to help with their work!

Have a great April and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

Platinum Stars for our Foreheads

GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency

Going Platinum

Facebook informed me today about an anniversary. Exactly one year ago I posted about earning GuideStar's gold seal of transparency. Well guess what? Today I'm here to announce that for 2018 Charitocracy has earned their platinum seal. That's GuideStar's highest level of transparency.

Indulge me for a moment while I pretend it's been a major endeavor. Wait for it... okay... The jig is up. Achieving this status is pretty much just a matter of sharing data that already exists. No sweat. We share details about our organizational structure, finances, mission and programs. GuideStar makes it super easy, so with a few hours effort, any 501(c)(3) could progressively qualify for silver, then gold, then platinum levels.

Check out our profile on GuideStar to see what's on there. This is a great site to check out before nominating at Charitocracy or casting your vote!

PCI Compliance

Another one to note in passing: we've dotted the i's and crossed the t's for credit card data handling.

We've always used Stripe for all our donations. They offer the best nonprofit discount we've found in the industry. Fees are 2.2% + 0.30 per transaction, with no fees on the first $15,000. That saved us hundreds of dollars last year. I'm grateful for that. But they've also offered the easiest and most attractive credit card entry UI in my opinion. (Maybe I need to rethink my life choices that have led me to blogging about the sexiness of credit card UIs.)

Stripe is also a breeze to setup and maintain on the backend. And one of their features is easy filing of PCI compliance documentation. This should be easy, since Charitocracy never touches your credit card data. It's stored only in Stripe's data vault, which I picture to exist deep in a mountain cavern guarded by Velociraptors. When you enter your credit card number on what appears to be Charitocracy's web site, really it's going into a separate browser "iframe" talking directly to Stripe's servers. Charitocracy simply gets a transaction reference token we can use to confirm that the donation went through okay.

All of that is to say: Stripe makes it easy for us to file our PCI SAQ A, attesting that they've taken on all the risk and corresponding security requirements themselves. We simply need to ensure Charitocracy uses encrypted protocols. And we do, via our free TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt.

We're doing everything we can think of to put you at ease, safely making your donations at Charitocracy! Let us know if there's anything else you can think of that will give you peace of mind or answer burning questions you have about Charitocracy.

Benj is back at it upgrading security protocols @ Charitocracy

Spotlight on Together We Rise

Together We Rise: No child Deserves a Trash Bag

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Because We Can - 2018, a fundraiser hosted at Together We Rise. It was recently nominated by donor SuZQ. So let's welcome Together We Rise to our charity of the month club!

A few words on Charitocracy

Firstly, for newcomers: the cause with the most votes each month wins the pot. No matter how much or how little you contribute, each donor at Charitocracy gets one vote. This is where charity meets democracy. So share this post and ask your friends to vote! That's how we spread the word and, as a result, grow the monthly pot. Yay!

Until a donor changes their vote, votes carry over from month to month. So do the nominated causes. So part of the fun of Charitocracy is the cumulative aspect, watching a charity's support grow over time as it breaks into the Top 10, the Top 3, and hopefully eventually #1. It's unusual for a cause to go straight from nomination to winner in the same month, though it has happened. Most recently: Hurricane Harvey relief for Houston and Hurricane Maria relief for Puerto Rico. But in most cases, it's a slow steady rise to the top over many months.

In this case, SuZQ has nominated a limited-time fundraiser at Together We Rise. More details below, but if Together We Rise wins the pot after this fundraiser's May 1 deadline, that's fine. We'll either earmark another similar fundraiser at TWR or let TWR choose how to use the funds. All good!

About Because We Can - 2018

Last March while Molly was still in foster care with us she decided she wanted to help find a way we could help other foster kids like herself. She remembered what it was like for her to leave her home and come to move in with us.

Initially entering foster care is probably one of the scariest days any kid could ever face. At a moments notice they are told to pack whatever they can fit into a trash bag. Told that they can no longer live at they only home they've ever known. That they are going to have to live with strangers now. That can be pretty terrifying for any child. Sadly throughout a child's time in foster care they may be bounced between foster homes time and time again for a number of reasons.

With that thought in mind Molly wanted to raise money to create Sweet Cases, a type of care package, in the form of a decorated duffel bags filled with a stuffed animal bear and some basic necessities to help these kids with their move into foster care. These duffel bags also serve as permanent piece of luggage these children can call their own to use over and over if needed. For every $25 raised we can put together one bag for a child. If we can add a small ray of light to the process, give it a little more dignity, perhaps even make that day even a little less scary for these kids then why wouldn't we try?

About Together We Rise

Every day, 1200 kids enter foster care in the United States. We are a non-profit that changes the way they experience the system.

Together We Rise is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization comprised of motivated young adults and former foster youth. Our vision is to improve the lives of foster children in America, who often find themselves forgotten and neglected by the public. We collaborate with community partners to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.

TWR works with hundreds of foster agencies, social workers, CASA advocates, and other partners to bring our programs to foster youth across the nation. Our foundation has allowed us to provide thousands of foster youth across the country with new bicycles, college supplies, and suitcases so that children do not have to travel from home to home with their belongings in a trash bag.

So visit Together We Rise's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And finally, check out this touching video about Together We Rise's mission:

Congrats to February Winner, Innocence Project!

Charitocracy's 18th check: to Innocence Project for $1072

Re-grow the monthly pot!

If you noticed the pot get smaller recently, you're not imagining things. This is for two reasons:

  1. Quite a number of holiday gifts of Charitocracy were given at the end of 2016 that boosted the pot significantly throughout 2017.
  2. Some large donations and corporate matches made outside of charitocracy.org were used to boost the pot early in 2017, whereas this year we'll instead use similar large donations to grow the pot by attracting new donors, which works toward our mission and will hopefully grow the pot more sustainably.

See the previous blog post for ways you can help. Bottom line: convince a friend to join us!

February 2018 winner: Innocence Project

Wednesday night we voted in our 6th cause of Charitocracy's 2nd year. Congratulations to Innocence Project and to donor cperg814 for nominating it! You have 4 more days to further sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Innocence Project next week.

Check out this video about Innocence Project, and feel good about your part in our collective $1072+ grant to help with their work!

The Innocence Project's mission is to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.

Have a great March and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!