Spotlight on Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund @ GHCF

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at Greater Houston Community Foundation

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund nominated by donor brun064.

The Greater Houston Community Foundation is a public charitable foundation focused on helping donors expand their philanthropic impact. For over 20 years we have partnered withindividuals, families, corporations, foundations, and their advisors to extend their giving in new ways, with greater results.

Throughout our history, we have been proud to support and administer disaster philanthropy when our region has needed it the most. We administered the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund, The Hurricane Ike Recovery Fund, as well asthe Storm Relief Fund of 2016. The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is being felt across the state by families and businesses who have been impacted in profound and numerous ways. The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund is one of many vital philanthropic funds that, in conjunction with Federal and State efforts, are designed to support the relief and reconstruction efforts. The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, set up by Houston’s Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Emmett, is focused on immediate and long term relief efforts in Harris County and Houston (which may include City residents in Fort Bend or Montgomery County). A fund advisory committee has been established and will ensure that there is a process to determine unmet needs in these areas. Tony Chase, Chairman & CEO of Chase Source, and Bill Jackson, Harris County Budget Officer, will co-chair the advisory committee of 10 members. The Greater Houston Community Foundation will oversee and administer the grant distribution process.

The distributions and grants will be made in support of the Fund’s charitable purposes: relief efforts to aid the victims of the flooding and other weather caused by Hurricane Harvey, including shelter and temporary housing needs, food and supplies, healthcare, transportation, child care, facility needs of child care and social service agencies, and other purposes approved by the advisory committee and consistent with the Fund’s charitable purposes. Because of the immense need in and around Houston, this Fund is dedicated to filling the gaps that are not met by other local and federal efforts. This is simply one of the many critical philanthropic efforts across Houston and Texas that will support those in affected areas, whose lives have forever been impacted by this disaster.

GHCF is committed to our community and is prepared to administer the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund without charging any fees so that 100% of donations go to immediate and long term relief efforts. We will gain support from other philanthropic partners and donors for the crucial management and grants administration we will be performing. The Greater Houston Community Foundation will share information about all grants publicly on its website and through other communications for complete transparency about the expenditure of funds.

Visit Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause! And check out this video about GHCF's 20 year track record of philanthropic impact:

Apple Pay is finally here!

Charitocracy now accepts Apple Pay

A lot of people spend their labor day weekends doing fun stuff outside, soaking up the end of summer. Those people have their priorities straight. I spent the majority of mine adding Apple Pay support to Charitocracy.

Apple Pay

If you have a recent iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Pro with Touch ID (fingerprint sensor), or an Apple Watch and a Mac, then you'll see a "Donate with Apple Pay" button whenever you'd otherwise enter in your credit card details. If it's your first time using it, you'll see a "Set up Apple Pay" button which brings you to your device's Wallet settings. That's where you add your credit card(s) to Apple Pay.

So why use Apple Pay? For starters, it's fun. Apple Pay pops up a little panel with a fingerprint button. All you do is tap your Touch ID sensor, or double-tap your Apple Watch button, and bingo. Transaction complete. But then Apple Pay is also more secure. Your actual credit card number is never used for transactions.

You can use Apple Pay for signups and increases to your annual donation amount. For example, if you want to double your donation for this coming year, hint hint! The most common use of Apple Pay will be "sweetening the pot" with extra one-time donations, simply because it'll be so quick and easy now.

Stored Cards

But the rest of you, do not despair! I've improved the donation process for you, too. Our credit card processing company, Stripe, already keeps your credit card information on file in their vaults in order to process your annual recurring donations. But now I've made one-time donations and annual donation changes use those stored cards, too.

As before, your credit card details still never make it onto Charitocracy's servers. (We don't want 'em!) But now we tell Stripe to use your stored card whenever you want to make a donation. No more re-entering your credit card every time! Of course you can still choose to supply a new card. Or if your stored card fails to work for any reason, we'll offer up the Stripe credit card entry panel you know and love. You can store a new one that'll be used for all future donations.

Please try it!

I tested it out the best I can in my sandbox with fake Stripe credit card, but please do let me know if it all works! Make it rain on Special Olympics in these last few hours with an extra one-time donation of as little as $1. Or if you wait until tomorrow, you'll be sweetening the September pot.

These donation improvements combined with our new "forever" logins should make Charitocracy dramatically more convenient!

Apple, the Apple logo, Apple Pay, iPhone, and Touch ID are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Happy Birthday, Charitocracy!

Charitocracy's 12th check: to Special Olympics for $1266

Birthday Presents Are Welcome!

Today is the one year anniversary from when we opened Charitocracy to donations on September 1, 2016. We started from scratch and together raised some mad cash for 12 brilliant causes. As mentioned last week, you can wish Charitocracy a happy birthday by increasing your donation!

We hope to further grow our impact significantly in the coming year. More on how we'll celebrate Charitocracy's birthday in the days to come, but today we celebrate our latest winner...

August 2017 Winner

Last night we voted in our twelfth cause. Congratulations to Special Olympics, and to donor obxsunny for nominating it! You have these next 7 days to sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Special Olympics next week.

Watch this video illustrating how Special Olympics unleashes the human spirit, and feel good about your part in our collective $1266+ grant!

Have a great September, and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause! We'll have more Charitocracy news coming soon...

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Some day, and that day may be real soon, I'll call upon you to renew at Charitocracy.

The day has come.

Reminder emails will start going out at least 1 week in advance of each automatic recurring annual donation. So if you signed up on September 1st 2016, the first day we opened the site to the public, then you can expect a reminder email this coming Friday at the latest. Others will follow throughout the year depending on when you signed up.

Emails will tell you how to cancel your recurring annual donation, but will also encourage you to increase your donation instead. Taking no action simply means the same amount will be donated on your Charitocracy anniversary. And there's no need to wait for that email to perform either task. You can cancel or increase your annual donation any time, right from My Account in the Charitocracy menu. You can also update your credit card information if anything's changed, like a lost or expired card, so the automatic donation will go through without a hitch.

Here's where you can update your credit card, change your annual donation amount, or cancel future donations

I'm hoping our renewal rate is high, and that donation increases will offset any donors we lose along the way. But I'll also be focusing on growth during our 2nd operating year. I have lots of ideas for this, and welcome any additional ideas you may have. Let's get that monthly pot over $1500!

I'm going to make Charitocracy a donation they can't refuse.

Who hates logging into Charitocracy? Me.

Remember Me Forever

The biggest pain point for donors at Charitocracy is having to log in. I get it. I'm a donor, too, and I have to log in all the time. If you can even remember your password, it's still an annoying stop along the way every time you want to vote or read about a new nominee. Annoying enough that you may have stopped bothering to even try. I don't blame you one bit.

Starting today, if you check the Remember Me button while logging in, Charitocracy will remember you forever. That is unless you explicitly log out, switch to a new web browser, a new computer or device, delete your cookies, etc. Everywhere you log in, though, it will remember you forever if you simply check the Remember Me button. I highly recommend it! (But I don't recommend it on public computers, such as those at schools, hotels, and libraries. You should log out of Charitocracy when you're done on those shared systems.)

Go ahead, try it now!

"That would be fantastic," you say, "except I forgot my password months ago, so I can't even log in the first time for it to remember me forever."

Fear not! Resetting your password is super easy. A failed login will provide you this reset link. Then check your email inbox (and if that fails, check your spam folder). And failing that, do not hesitate for a moment to email me and I'll personally help get you back online!

A related tip for those of you using Macs, iPhones, and iPads: iCloud Keychain is an easy way to share passwords across all your devices. Turn it on in your iCloud settings, and then after you log into a site like Charitocracy on one of your Apple products using the Safari browser, in future it will offer to fill in your password on that product as well as others using the same iCloud account. I bet Google has something like that for Chrome browsers, too, not to mention 3rd-party apps and services that serve a similar purpose.

That cross-device password storage combined with the Remember Me checkbox should mean never having to remember your Charitocracy password, and almost never having to log into Charitocracy ever again. No one will benefit from that more than I will!

"See, I just logged back into Charitocracy without a password." "You can do that?!"

Congrats to July winner, the ACLU!

Charitocracy's 11th check: to the ACLU for $1231

We voted in our eleventh winner last week! Congratulations to the ACLU, and to donor TdotWING for nominating it! You have these next 7 days to sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to ACLU next week.

Watch these two most recent short ACLU videos illustrating just two of the many ways the ACLU fights to protect the rights of all Americans, and feel good about your part in our collective $1231+ grant!

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

“Keep Your Normal Job”

Benj, I bet you are definitely among the top 100 nonprofit coders... depending on the nonprofit

Jessica, her brother, and I rewatched the first episode of Flight of the Conchords earlier this week. The first song is a serenade to a party guest, the "most beautiful girl in the... room (the whole wide room)." It includes these lyrics:

You're so beautiful
You could be a part-time model
But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job

Exactly. I consider myself good enough to be a part-time Charitocrat, but I'd be crazy to quit my day job.

However, after a winter and spring of overdoing it, working crazy (even for me) hours, burning out, and then collecting my thoughts for a few weeks, I made the decision to officially become a part-time model volunteer coder for Charitocracy. My day job now has time boundaries, and I think those boundaries will help me do great work at both places, and just be a more balanced and dare I say fun person for everyone else in my life.

What this means for Charitocracy is that I'll have at least one day each week to devote myself 100% to it. Also, my nights and weekends now have a better chance of seeing some Charitocracy progress, too.

Transitioning from the "Year of Benj" (full-time Charitocracy) back to real life was like hitting a brick wall at 100 MPH. Now I've pulled some bits from the wreckage and am capable of at least puttering along at a steady 20 MPH. Slow and steady wins?

Don't look now, but Benj is back!

Spotlight on Potter League for Animals

Potter League for Animals

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have Potter League for Animals nominated by donor MegaMom104.

As the heart of a humane community and in partnership with that community, the Potter League for Animals is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals. We promote the humane treatment of all animals and provide shelter and care for lost or unwanted companion animals. Through education, commitment to a standard of excellence in the care of animals, and fostering relationships between people and animals, we enhance the animals’ lives and enrich the human experience.

Visit Potter League's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause!

Spotlight on CO/LAB Theater Group

CO/LAB theater group

Next in our series of posts about Charitocracy nominees, we have CO/LAB Theater Group nominated by donor miacrivello.

CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries) Theater Group is a non-profit organization that has been providing individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts since 2011. At CO/LAB, our Teaching and Supporting Artists work together to facilitate a positive, safe and fun environment for our actors. In classes and rehearsals, we encourage participants to collaborate and work together as an ensemble as well as discover their individual voices.

Visit CO/LAB Theater Group's page on Charitocracy to vote for, like, or discuss this cause!

Congrats to June winner, Planned Parenthood!

Charitocracy's 10th check: to Planned Parenthood for $12225

We voted in our tenth winner last week! Congratulations to Planned Parenthood, and to donor Bethany for nominating it! There's still 4 more days to sweeten the pot with a special one-time donation of any amount, which we'll add straight to the check we write to Planned Parenthood next week.

Watch this recent 3 minute video about Planned Parenthood by Joss Whedon (one of my favorite creative minds on the planet), and feel good about your part in our collective $1225+ grant!

Happy Independence Day, have a great July, and log into Charitocracy to update your votes or nominate a new cause!