Tag Archives: donations

Conservancy Match

In January I was at Linux Conf Australia and had the idea of forming a group match campaign for the Software Freedom Conservancy. The Conservancy is one of my favorite nonprofits, and I had been interested in trying to level up my giving while not putting myself into dangerous financial straits.

A match campaign is when an organization, a person, or persons offer/s to give a nonprofit a large(er) sum in the event they can raise an equal amount during their fundraising activities. For example, Private Internet Access has pledged $50,000 to the Conservancy as part of the Conservancy’s matching donation efforts.

I wanted to participate in the fun of running a match donation, but recognized that the amount I could offer was paltry in comparison to most matches, as well as being not actually enough to inspire participation from potential donors. I realized that instead I could work with others others to help reach a number — I picked $10,000 somewhat randomly — and began asking around. With the help of Karen Sandler, Conservancy Executive Director, we surpassed that $10,000 and found ourselves with a $15,000 match.

The Conservancy seemed like a natural choice as a recipient of a somewhat scrappy attempt at a match — they consider themselves to be a scrappy organization, doing a lot with very little. They support free and open source software projects — and unless we have good projects, we don’t have anything to offer people looking to be more freedom respecting in their own lives and their works. They do copyleft compliance work, without which copyleft (and licensing in general) would be meaningless — the licenses need to have teeth in order for any companies to actually follow them and the promise of copyleft to be followed through. They work every day to spread the message and value of software freedom around the world, reaching people who need to be made aware of the way their rights extend to digital spaces and technologies. In the spirit of full disclosure, I also consider the staff of the Conservancy to be among my friends, and I enjoy seeing them at conferences.

I’m really excited (these words don’t capture how excited I am) that I get to participate in something so cool and inspiring as a group of people who want to encourage others to give. I hope you’ll consider making our match successful by supporting the Conservancy.

MollyGive 2017 wrapup

MollyGive 2017 has come to an end. Thanks, team!

Notes: An introduction

As always, I had a lot of fun with MollyGive. Sometimes it’s a little disappointing, but it’s also hearwarming, exciting, and full of discovery. I learn so much about the people in my life and what they care about.

As my salary is a matter of public record, I am going to spend this year talking not just in percentages, but specific numbers.

I worked about 75% of the year. The donation fund this year sat at just over nearly $4.8k. We went over this. That was unintentional…

Whenever a charity asked if I would pay the transaction fee, I did.

The donations

Basic numbers

Tithe funds: $4,794
Amount donate: $5,107.92
Percentage of income: 10.65%
Charities reached: 53
Number of donations matched: 64
Mean amount: $100
Median amount: $92.87
Mode amount: $100
Charities receiving over $100: 8
Charities with the most donations: Givewell; Software Freedom Conservancy
Number of charities outside the US: 3

Note: mean, median, and mode calculations were based on aggregations of donations per charity.

This year I grouped donations into the following categories:

  • animal rights
  • civil rights
  • digital rights
  • disaster relief
  • education
  • environmental (justice)
  • Givewell
  • medical
  • nonprofit support
  • political support
  • poverty support

Charts and graphs

Here are some charts I made.

Number of donations by organization type

A bar chart in multiple colors showing donations by category.

A pie chart in multiple colors showing donations by category.

Value (USD) of donations by organization type

A bar chart in multiple colors showing donations by amount.

A pie chart in multiple colors showing donations by amount.

The Charities

Most of these are 501(c)3s, registered charities. There are some 501(c)4s. I actually cheated my own rules: over the course of the year, if someone said they were giving to a crowdfunding medical campaign, I gave $50 to it. I later donated a matching amount to MassCare. I -also- donated to one educational crowdfunding campaign and then made a matching donation to a project that supports growing technical communities.

There are some charities I like, that I normally donate to, but I just ran out of funds this year. 🙂 They’ll be at the top of my list next year.

    • 350.org
    • Act Blue
    • Against Malaria Foundation (AMF)
    • AIDS Lifecycle
    • Alloy
    • American Forest Foundation
    • American Indian College Fund
    • Animal Rescue League
    • ARC Cancer Support Center
    • As You Sow
    • Barrets Town
    • Black & Pink
    • Casa Myrna
    • Charity Navigator
    • Congenital Heart Walk
    • Conservancy
    • DSA
    • EFF
    • Effing Foundation
    • END Fund’s deworming program
    • Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative
    • Evidence Action’s Dispensers for Safe Water
    • Evidence Action’s No Lean Season
    • FSF
    • GiveDirectly
    • GiveWell
    • Giving Spirit LA
    • Go Fund Me – Medical
    • Helen Keller International’s vitamin A supplementation program
    • Hispanic Federation
    • Homeless Coalition
    • Malaria Consortium’s seasonal malaria chemoprevention program
    • MassCare
    • National Parks Foundation
    • Operation USA
    • OSI
    • Parts and Crafts
    • People for Fairness Coalition
    • Public Lab
    • Rosie’s Place
    • Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI)
    • Secularism.org.uk
    • Sightsavers’ deworming program
    • Somerville homeless coalition
    • Southern Poverty Law Center
    • Water Foundation
    • Woodhull Foundation
    • You Caring
    • YVIO

    My thoughts

    Lessons from this year

    Over the past year, I’ve participated in running several nonprofit, small donor fundraising campaigns. I took what I learned from these to push MollyGive with mild-aggression. I’ve been running MollyGive since around 2012 (I think), and this is the first year I’ve used the entirety of the funds.

    It always makes me a little sad when people like, retweet, and share relevant social media bites but don’t participate themselves. Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken to giving them the benefit of the doubt (after my initial sigh): I remind myself that not everyone feels able to give.

    This year, out of curiosity, I spoke with a few of them. I also had someone else approach me and offer a similar explanation: They think MollyGive is a great idea, but, since they have more means, and are planning on giving anyway, they don’t want to take that opportunity away from someone else. That was nice to know, and nice to think about. Thanks, friends for being so thoughtful with your giving.

    General thoughts, personal thoughts

    MollyGive is still a very silly name, that feels a little egoizing to use. After a number of years, I’ve gotten used to it. The first year it felt like a bit of a lark. Having just wrapped up its sixth year, I’ve found that other people have come to take MollyGive as seriously as I do–even though the name seems a little silly. As I’m writing this, I wonder if giving something a silly name helps it be more fun, or more approachable.

    I can’t get over how generous everyone was this year. I really can’t.

    It was suggested to me that I am outsourcing a not-insignificant amount of my decision making. This is true–I believe in expertise. I trust the opinions of others, especially concerning things I know little to nothing about (e.g. nonprofits working on education reform).

    Lessons for next year

    I think next year I am going to put a soft limit on the amount a given charity can receive. This is for personal reasons. I was using funds from outside the tithe account at the end of the month (see: going over 100%!!!). I am excited about the outcome–really–but I also wished I had been able to reach some other groups that I like and didn’t have a chance to get to this year.

    I’d love to somehow expand MollyGive. One suggestion someone gave me is to invite people who want to give, but want to outsource their decision making, to join me by promising their funds.

    Acknowledgements

    I don’t think I’ve ever written this before, but I’d like to thank Katrina Romangoli. She put the idea for MollyGive into my head in the early 2000s. I’d also like to mention Madeleine and Chris Price Ball, for the inspiration their yearly giving brings me.

    I’d also like to thank the socio-economic situation that allows me to do this. I am really grateful.

    To everyone who donated: thank you so so so much. We gave over $10,000 to charities. I’d like to give a special shout out to the people who helped me find new charities I’d never heard of, the student who is struggling financially who gave $20, and the people generous enough to give over $1000.

MollyGive 2016

Since I lost my job over the summer, I figured I wouldn’t do a MollyGive this year. However, as we’ve been moving through the final weeks, I started feeling sad about this.

My favorite thing about December is donating the money I saved throughout the year. So far it’s been to Casa Myrna, Free Software Foundation, Open Source Initiative, and Software Freedom Conservancy. (Also Parts & Crafts earlier in 2016.) Giving makes me happy, and giving is important to sustain and support the important (an frequently necessary) work of non-profits.

With that in mind, I want to spend the last two weeks of 2016 doing what I’ve done for the past few years: matching donations.

Make a donation of up to $100 to your favorite nonprofit(s), and I will match it until I am out of funds. Even if you think you’re too busy to volunteer, go to meetings, or participate in actions, you’re not too busy to make a major difference!

Here is last year’s MollyGive announcement, for some more info: http://deblanc.net/blog/2015/11/30/mollygive-2015/

MollyGive 2015

MollyGive 2015

I am pleased to announce the return of MollyGive for the 2015 donate-all-your-money-to-charity season!

MollyGive will run from December 1st, 2015 – December 25, 2015.

Here are the rules:
1) You donate up to $50 to a charity*
2) You tell me that you donated up to $50 to said charity
3) I then donate a matching amount to said charity**

And we all win!

*If you would like to donate more than $50 to a single charity, tell me and let’s see if I can match it.

**as long as I don’t find them actively offensive

Some more deets

What is this?

Every year I tithe. At the end of the year (December), I take whatever is left and do matching donations.

You can donate to more than one charity

If you want to support the EFF, SCI, PP, and the Red Cross, cool! I will donate to each of them as well.

Handling organizations I expect will get multiple donations

I expect that organizations like the EFF, Wikipedia, and the FSF will get multiple donations from amongst those most likely to donate (i.e. the people most likely to read this, i.e. my friends). I’ll send those in a batch on December 25th.

Why I am doing this

When I was younger, tithing was like $1k a year, which is actually not hard to give away with all the runs/walks/bikes/musicing for charity people do. Now that I have a much fancier job, it’s a lot harder. Sure, I could just drop all the money on the Red Cross and call it a day, but:

  1. I’m not convinced it’s the most useful thing I can do
  2. I want to encourage others to give as well
  3. I don’t care about other organizations that  have needs

We all have our causes. I work in edtech supporting a community developing free software. Great, I care about education and software freedom and I get to spend every day working on both. I’m not very inclined to, on top of that, donate a bunch of money to the cause.

I also care about things like the environment. I ended up in a position in my life where I’m not working on helping out with that (if you have ideas on how I can do more, I’d love  to!), but I can give money to it.

MollyGive enables me to help causes I don’t really think about. I don’t especially care about Native American college attendance more, or as much, as I care about, say, Earth Justice. However, one of my friends thinks the American Indian College Fund is really important. It’s great that, together, she and I can help them.

In Summary

Give early, give often, send me the deets. Let’s help some people.

Resources

Resources

Past MollyGive Donations