Spotlight on The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project, Saving Young LGBTQ Lives

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have The Trevor Project. It was recently nominated by super donor elearoos. So welcome The Trevor Project to our charity of the month club!

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!

About the Trevor Project

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13–24.

History & Film

The life-saving, life-affirming work of The Trevor Project springs from the powerful intersection of storytelling on stage and film.

In 1994, producers Peggy Rajski and Randy Stone saw writer/performer James Lecesne bring to life Trevor, a character he created as part of his award-winning one-man show WORD OF MOUTH. Convinced Trevor’s story would make a wonderful short film, Stone and Rajski invited Lecesne to adapt it into a screenplay. Rajski directed the movie and TREVOR went on to win many prestigious awards including the Academy Award® for Best Live Action Short Film.

The Oscar-winning film eventually launched a national movement. When producer Randy Stone secured an airing on HBO with Ellen DeGeneres hosting, director/producer Peggy Rajski discovered there was no real place for young people like Trevor to turn when facing challenges similar to his. She quickly recruited mental health experts and figured out how to build the infrastructure necessary for a nationwide 24-hour crisis line, and writer James Lecesne secured the funds to start it. On the night their funny and moving coming-of-age story premiered on HBO in 1998, these visionary filmmakers launched the Trevor Lifeline, the first national crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of young people in crisis have reached out to The Trevor Project’s multiple in-person and online life-saving, life-affirming resources: Trevor Lifeline, TrevorChat, TrevorSpace and Trevor Education Workshops.

So visit The Trevor Project's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And finally, check out the Academy Award-winning short film that inspired this charity:

Congrats to December Winner, International Justice Mission!

Charitocracy's 16th check: to International Justice Mission for $1515

A second lap around our star

Charitocracy was incorporated on Christmas Day, 2015. I'll never understand how it received its stamp on that day. Maybe a computer woke up Christmas morning, like any other day, with our paperwork waiting in its queue of approved documents to watermark with a date and e-signature of North Carolina's Secretary of State. Anyway, here we are cranking away 2 years later, still trying to make the world a little bit better each month.

You may have noticed in the Dashboard the number of donors decreasing and the pot sizes shrinking a bit. I sure have! We only lost about 7% of donors during the first renewal cycle. That's probably better retention than we could have expected, so thanks to everyone for sticking it out! And extra thanks for the extreme generosity of many of your donation upgrades over the past few months. All of these have been matched dollar for dollar, and you'll see those matches in your Giving Trees. That's what got us, at least briefly, into $1500+ territory. Yay!

Our problem isn't retention, and it's not per-donor contributions. It's the slow growth of new donors. If every donor were able to find another donor who, after a minute long elevator pitch, also thought Charitocracy were a great idea, we'd be going gangbusters. Your Giving Trees would be out of control. So this will be my focus for 2018: anything and everything that makes it easy and fun to share Charitocracy with new prospective donors.

 

December 2017 winner: International Justice Mission

On New Years Eve we voted in our 4th cause of Charitocracy's 2nd year. Congratulations to International Justice Mission and to donors Alistair and Rebecca 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 International Justice Mission next week.

Make 10 minutes to watch this video and better appreciate the sort of work IJM is doing to help end slavery around the world, and feel good about your part in our collective $1515+ grant to help with this work!

One small boy. One huge lake. Foli was a slave. Immerse yourself in his story.

Thousands of children between the ages of 6 and 18 live in slavery on Lake Volta, working up to 18 hours a day in the fishing industry. For these young children, the only way out of slavery is to drown or be rescued. Children just like Foli.

Have a great January, don't forget to start writing 2018 on your checks, and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!

The Perfect Last Minute Gift

Felicity was a good sport, helping me throw a last minute video together for our last minute gifts! Plan A was to do a Home Alone themed video with Harry, but when that diva bailed on me, Felicity was quick to volunteer in his place. But she wouldn't accept the fact that it could no longer be a Home Alone video. (Only Harry can rock a bathrobe like that.) "Nevertheless, she persisted..." Hence her choice of sweater and hair, which now she regrets. So be it. Can't argue with volunteer talent!

If you need any last minute gifts (in convenient multiple-of-$13 denominations), cute stocking stuffers, or just want to spread Charitocracy to the masses, be our guest! Email with gift codes and PDF foldable gift boxes are sent instantly. Then you choose whether to forward the email to that special someone, or better yet hand deliver it with a kiss! I am Charitocracy. You are Charitocracy. We are all Charitocracy. And the more of us the merrier!

Over the last few days we've been experimenting some more with Facebook ads. I have to be honest, it's not going well. We still have plenty of matching funds on hand, earmarked for growing our donor base. Incentivizing likes, donation increases, and sign-ups by throwing extra $ in the pot is win-win. We get more activity, and the money goes to the causes. Not so much with the ads: they're generating pitifully little activity and all the money goes to Facebook. We'll keep trying, but I'm more and more convinced that the organic approach (meaning: you and your friends and family) is going to be the most cost-effective. And that doesn't necessarily mean slower growth, either, based on our poor ad results to date.

I have more organic growth ideas. Don't take my growth rate disappointment to be any kind of resignation. It's a challenge, and I rise to those! I just need to crack the code of incentivizing the spread of Charitocracy like wildfire. Sorry, probably a bad choice of analogy these days. Better than spreading Charitocracy like a disease, right? There must be some positive way to spread something... Okay: I need to incentivize the spread of Charitocracy like peanut butter. Or frosting. Like peanut butter frosting. Done. But not if you're allergic to peanuts, in which case I recommend almond butter.

Go forth last minute and spread Charitocracy

Congrats to November Winner, ALS Guardian Angels

Charitocracy's 15th check: to ALS Guardian Angels for $1533

Welcome to the Giving Season

This is a strange time of year. People are just nicer to each other for some reason. Do you truly have something warm and fuzzy burning in your heart? Or do you feel compelled by societal norms to follow suit, spending money to boost the economy? We're not here to judge. We'll accommodate your gift giving needs regardless. Even right up to the last minute before your ritualistic gift-giving deadlines!

At least you know when you give Charitocracy, all of that money is tax-deductible and will go to a good cause. 12 good causes in fact! You can give any amount, as long as it's one of the multiples of $13 we've put on the menu. Who wouldn't want to receive a donation of, say, $39 in their name, granting them a prepaid year of voting and nominating at Charitocracy?!

All you need to do is go here. If you're a donor yourself (you are, right?!), you'll want to log in to Charitocracy so the form is prefilled with your info and you get credit in your Giving Tree for the purchases. Then just choose a $ amount, as low as $13, and enter the name of your recipient. You'll instantly receive two emails: one with your donation receipt for your tax records, and the other with the gift code and beautiful PDF gift box. You can forward it to your recipient at the time of your choosing, or print it out and hand-deliver when the moment is right!

Here's a sample. You definitely don't want to try out the QR code by pointing your smartphone camera app at it. Please, no. Bad things would almost certainly happen. 😉

Charitocracy Gift Box and ReadMe

 

November 2017 winner: ALS Guardian Angels

Last night we voted in our 3rd cause of Charitocracy's 2nd year. Congratulations to ALS Guardian Angels and to donor Maggie for nominating it! You have these next 7 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 ALS Guardian Angels next week.

I was careful not to give any preferential attention to this cause and influence the vote. Now that it's won, full disclosure: my sister, Maggie, nominated it. Our family is personally impacted by ALS. So naturally I'm thrilled that we're able to assist this unique cause that focuses on helping patients live with ALS. I'm also touched that my sister used Charitocracy as a fundraising platform. This is the last you'll hear about ALS Guardian Angels from me, since a year from now it will become eligible to receive votes again. But do know: there is something warm and fuzzy burning in my heart today.

Now watch this video about guardian angel Stu Millheiser and his special charity, and feel good about your part in our collective $1533+ grant to help his mission!

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

T̶a̶c̶o̶ Giving Tuesday

Happy Giving Tuesday, Charitocracy!

It's Tuesday. Normally that means tacos for lunch, but today it means giving to your favorite charities. And naturally that means Charitocracy. Happy Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday means doubled donations

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching all donations coming in through Facebook's Donate button today. And Facebook is waiving fees. So today is the day. If you've been wanting to donate to Charitocracy but for whatever reason (fear of commitment? Triskaidekaphobia?) don't want to join Charitocracy, visit our Facebook page and click that Donate button! Any amount is welcome. Your dollars will go 100% straight to Charitocracy... But only after being mimeographed to take up double the space in Charitocracy's bank vaults. We'll make room.

Of course there's no better way to give to Charitocracy than to actually join us here. That enables you to vote for causes and nominate your personal favorites to win. Most importantly, it will sustain that warm feeling in your heart throughout the year, at convenient monthly intervals. Check out our past winners!

Already a donor?

If you've read this far, there's a strong chance you're already a Charitocracy groupy, so the above information isn't very helpful to you. How else can you help on Giving Tuesday? Let me count the ways:

  • Increase your annual donation! Whether that means doubling from $1/month to $2, or $10 to $20, you know best what kind of impact on the world you can afford. I spend $10 on coffee in a single day sometimes, so that helps put things in perspective for me. Don't be afraid to open wallets wide! It's all about the Washingtons, baby.
  • Give Charitocracy as a gift! Give the lucky people on your holiday shopping list a prepaid year of Charitocracy. Gifts come with a PDF you can print out or email with the low-down on Charitocracy and a foldable gift box! Stuff stockings, enclose them with greeting cards, hang them on a tree, or incorporate them into whatever tradition you celebrate. Put one in your Tuesday Tacos. It's all good.
  • Invite your friends and family via email! Not all of us possess the resources to save the world with cold hard cash. This is why we've incorporated what we call your Giving Tree into Charitocracy. Visible right alongside your personal donations, this Giving Tree $ amount shows you all the donations you're responsible for bringing into Charitocracy, not just your own. This is the most important number to celebrate, as you can have a much larger impact by bringing your friends and family into the fold than you can hope  to have individually.
  • Share our Facebook page to all your friends! Click the [...] button, then Invite Friends, enter a brief note about Charitocracy's greatness, and click the Invite button next to each friend. This costs you nothing but a few minutes time, but since we're throwing an extra $1 of matching funds into the monthly pot for each new Like, it can add up quickly! Even if just 5% of your 400 friends listen to you for once and click that Like button, that's $20 in the pot right there! Not to mention the strong likelihood that they'll like what they see and join us as donors themselves some day...

Our kids covered some of this in their video last month, so check it out!  And have a warm and generous Giving Tuesday, everyone! *Tacos not included.

That’s So Meta…

Charitocracy blog + website, two great tastes that taste great together

... a blog post about the blog!

Maybe you’ve noticed that the blog is now embedded within the main Charitocracy site? Goodbye blog.charitocracy.org, hello charitocracy.org/blog! (If you haven’t noticed, that’s a good sign it’s been a smooth transition.)

The blog predates the rest of the site by nearly a year, and was hosted on a separate server. My SEO gurus (hey, Dave & Tommy!) tell me that’s frowned upon by some search engine algorithms. Not to mention, it’s just a historical artifact that they were separate.

Build it and then what?

My “Build It And They Will Come” mentality is starting to show its naïveté. That saying only holds true for the ghosts of baseball legends when you transform a corn field into a baseball diamond. Or maybe putting up a Starbucks next to the research station in Antarctica. Charitocracy, without the same captive audience, will need to start taking marketing much more seriously in order to carry out our mission.

Organic growth has been humbling, in multiple senses of that word. On one hand, 100% year-to-year growth in donors on nothing more than word-of-mouth and the generosity of our friends and family fills my heart. You guys amaze me. On the other hand, we have ~200 donors today, while the site in its current form could easily serve 2000 or even 20,000 donors.

Expect to hear more about our new marketing efforts in the coming weeks, as we enter 2017’s Giving Season!

Let me get this straight, not only won't they come, but they won't even see what I built unless I boost it?

Spotlight on The Magic Yarn Project

The Magic Yarn Project

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have The Magic Yarn Project nominated by donor emily0153.

Our Mission

To create magic in the lives of children battling cancer and to inspire volunteerism to help make a difference.

Not so long ago, two moms started a project to make a few dozen princess yarn wigs for young girls battling cancer.

Chemotherapy treatments often leave young scalps too sensitive for traditional wigs. Our yarn wigs are comfy, soft, and warm. Magic yarn wigs are inspired by beloved Disney characters, and invite children back to the world of play and daydreaming. They are beacons of fun, laughter, and play, during scary times.

The Magic Yarn Project has received coverage by over a hundred internet media sources, magazines, and local news stories. The demand for magic wigs grows daily! Every year, roughly 83,000 young girls, ages 2-10, are diagnosed with cancer (5,000 in the US).

Due to the popularity of these wigs, The Magic Yarn Project was born, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Our growing organization is funded solely by donations and we are entirely volunteer based!

Visit The Magic Yarn Project's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this 4 minute video, and see for yourself that magic is something You can make:

Spotlight on Outer Banks SPCA

Outer Banks SPCA

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Outer Banks SPCA nominated by donor bjstager.

Our Mission Statement:

Dare County Animal Services, operated by the Outer Banks SPCA, provides professional and progressive animal welfare assistance to our residents. Our focus is on providing quality care, rescue, reunification, and rehabilitation to all stray, homeless, and abandoned animals in Dare County. We maintain extraordinary standards and achieve exceptional results, making our organization a well respected resource for responsible pet adoption, ownership, education, and retention on the Outer Banks.

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.

We believe 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 are 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.

Visit Outer Banks SPCA's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this video of Bear, their latest pet of the week!

Congrats to October winner, UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund

Charitocracy's 14th check: to UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund @ HF for $1453

First: a new video

Growth is our primary goal for this, our second year. To help out our kids recorded this new video discussing ways you can help:

Bottom line: invite your friends and family to like our Facebook page, or better yet, to join Charitocracy! Take the time to personally tell someone about Charitocracy, how low the "buy-in" is to get started ($13), and some of the cool causes that have won so far. Then follow up with an easy to generate email invitation.

October 2017 winner: UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund

Last night we voted in our 2nd cause of Charitocracy's 2nd year. Congratulations to UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund hosted by Hispanic Federation, and to donor TdotWING for nominating it! You have these next 7 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 Hispanic Federation next week. (And thanks to the pot-sweeteners that have already come in today!)

Hispanic Federation has provided an update on some of the actions they've taken to help Puerto Rico rebuild and heal. Now watch this CBS News clip of Lin-Manuel Miranda discussing Hurricane Maria recovery in PR, and his new song raising money for the UNIDOS Fund, and feel good about your part in our collective $1453+ grant to help make things better there!


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

Spotlight on Rapha House International

Rapha House International [Love Rescue Heal]

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Rapha House International nominated by donor MADNK.

About Rapha House

Our mission is to end the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children through aftercare for survivors, prevention for the vulnerable, and awareness for all.

Our Values

Rapha House is a public benefit 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to ending the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Founded in 2003, Rapha House continues to rescue and rehabilitate children, while bringing them to lasting freedom. Love • Rescue • Heal is more than a slogan to us. It’s a way of life at Rapha House.

We are Christians who take seriously the Scripture that reads: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). And it is with compassion energized and sustained by love that we act on behalf of victimized children wherever we find them.

Though we are committed Christians, we offer aid without requiring those that we help to embrace our faith. When Jesus fed the 5,000, he did not withhold from those who refused to believe. He gave freely, and so do we.

Our Vision

No child deserves to be trafficked. No child deserves to be sexually exploited. Rapha House’s vision is to see children living safely in communities without the threats of trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Rapha House seeks to…

  • prevent the trafficking of children before it starts
  • rescue children who have already been trafficked
  • operate safe houses for the healing of these children
  • train and re-integrate children who come into their care

Visit Rapha House International's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this video about their mission to save these children.