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Comment from the perspective of a small nonprofit (Score 1) 268 268

First, I think it's great that not only are you interested in supporting worthwhile causes but are also interested in educating yourself about how different orgs use their resources. So . . . kudos!

Note: I run a nonprofit organization and have a different perspective (+ bias!) about donations.

[1] Generally, I think it's best to begin as you already have by identifying those causes which are most important to you.

[2] Next, ask yourself if you're interested in pursuing a global / regional / local approach? The local org might focus on issues which matter to you - and it might be directly related to issues in your neighborhood. On the other hand "big" issues like constitutional rights might only be addressed at the national level.

Also, are you looking for a large well-established nonprofit or a small up-start where your money will have a more significant impact? For example a donation of $1,000 to the Red Cross will certainly be welcomed but likely not celebrated. If instead you made that $1,000 donation to a nonprofit running on a shoestring budget of $20,000 a year then you've just increased their budget by 5% - which is definitely cause for celebration!

[3] By now you should have at least a handful of charities which meet your criteria and can begin validating their effectiveness, transparency, and legal status.

A good place to start is GuideStar ( http://guidestar.org/ ). You will get information on IRS status, financials, mission statements as well as reviews. CharityNavigator ( http://charitynavigator.org/ ) is another great resource and they provide independent ratings of charities. One important distinction though is that CharityNavigator focuses on larger nonprofits (total revenue must be > $1million in the previous fiscal year).

My nonprofit has a listing with CharityNavigator but no rating because we are (much much much) too small. On the other hand at GuideStar we have a "Gold" rating based on the amount of information which we have shared with them. So either of these are great resources but my bias is showing when I lean toward GuideStar.

If for some reason you'd rather not use either of these sites I would suggest that at a minimum that you verify that the nonprofit has a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS and that it has not been revoked. You can search for orgs by name or EIN here: http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/

For more on charity scams here's some helpful info from the FTC: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/a...

[4] Once you have narrowed your list down to 1 or 2 then you can decide if there's a specific funding mechanism which appeals most to you (e.g. PayPal, cash, check, bitcoin). Some donation methods can take 5% (or more!) of the donation off the top before the nonprofit gets the donation.

For example, PayPal charges nonprofits a reduced fee of 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction (details here: https://www.paypal.com/webapps...). Also, BitPay does not charge us anything for bitcoin donations through our site.

Hopefully by going through this you will wind up with at least one charity which meets all of your criteria and can then just confirm their status in the future without going through all of these steps every time. Thank you on behalf of nonprofit organizations everywhere for supporting their efforts!

Shameless Plug
Of course I have to say something about my nonprofit's work: Jennifer Ann's Group is a nonprofit charity preventing teen dating violence. Our most successful program is producing video games to help young people, parents, and educators learn more about this issue and how to seek help if needed. We have produced 20+ video games through an annual video game design challenge which we have run since 2008. And in fact we will be announcing the winners of this year's contest on June 26th (this Friday).

I speak at conferences about our approach to preventing violence through video games and most recently spoke at GDC earlier this year. My talk is online and free if you're interested: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1...

Our primary website is: http://jenniferann.org/

Good luck,
Drew Crecente
Founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Ann's Group

Comment No privacy issues here (Score 1) 74 74

Nothing about this app has privacy implications:
  • the data that the app reads is otherwise available to the app user
  • the app applies some level of expert-system analysis to identify potentially life-threatening issues
  • the app then alerts the app user about the potential problem
  • the app user is directed to the potentially troubling tweets for review

The charity behind the app has now added the ability to opt-out of the above. Of course there's nothing to prevent another app / service to do all of the above because these are tweets that are still available.

Comment re: naivety (Score 1) 247 247

The MAYDAY PAC is like David trying to beat Goliath in a fist fight. Don't fight on his terms, use the sling, idiot!

I believe the idea is that the money raised by "real people" will be used differently than that raised by corporations. The PAC is the funding mechanism which will be used to consolidate and coordinate "real people" who want to positively affect change. In other words: this is a campaign to raise the money for a sling.

Comment Great Idea! (Score 2) 185 185

This is fantastic!

(1) implement the Board of Director's idea as-is;

(2) encourage the Board (and anybody else who supports the idea) that they need to really market the hell out of it;

(3) at the same time create a series of spurious emails to the project backers telling them what a terrible idea the project is;

(4) stay home and watch the news the day that the system goes live;

(5) watch as the villagers storm the company castle and the board of directors (and associated greedy imbeciles) are summarily tossed out on their pointy heads;

(6) return to a company which is now free of these fools;

(7) profit!

Comment Re:Not my horse, not my wagon (Score 1) 1198 1198

"Last I checked, male university students don't get free escorts home at night, yet female university students around here do."

Not sure what university that would be but you might want to check again, anybody who wants a free escort home at night at the several universities I've been to will get one regardless of their gender.

And it actually is your problem not as a male / female / whatever but as a PERSON. Get it? If you wait until something affects YOU directly and until then just sit around with your head in the sand then you are a part of the problem.

Comment Affordable option for charities (Score 5, Informative) 281 281

Rather than discuss alternatives I wanted to let you know that many charities are eligible for deep discounts on MS products. Techsoup.org is a clearinghouse (of sorts) for charities and tech companies, allowing for very deep discounts on hardware and software. For example Office Professional Plus 2013 is $32 and Windows 8.1 is $12. In the past I've paid around $125 for Adobe Creative Suite 6.

In addition to discounts techsoup also has a wealth of articles on tech-related issues for nonprofit management. http://techsoup.org/

Submission + - Patent troll in Texas stymied by Minnesota Attorney General->

drew30319 writes: Minnesota has turned the tables on a patent troll.

MPHJ Technology Investments has agreed to stop contacting Minnesota businesses about the use of document-scanning in their offices. It appears that MPHJ was contacting businesses and requesting / demanding license fees for patent(s) owned by MPHJ.

Under this new agreement MPHJ will no longer contact Minnesota businesses about these purported licensing fees without first receiving permission from Minnesota's Attorney General.

Here's the article at Corporate Counsel: http://www.law.com/corporatecounsel/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202616582520&kw=Minnesota%20Draws%20Accolades%20for%20Settlement%20With%20'Troll'&et=editorial&bu=Corporate%20Counsel

Link to Original Source

Comment my experience running a 501(c)(3) (Score 2) 100 100

This might not be the type of answer that you're looking for but the issue that has most affected me (running a one-person nonprofit from home) is that I've occasionally had problems because my IP address is shared by "adult" web services because I do not have a dedicated server or address.

And so . . . with my nonprofit's focus on the prevention of teen dating violence I have people in school districts regularly contacting me via email and/or visiting my website from schools. From time to time my IP address used to wind up on block lists and I would spend a fair amount of time contacting school web admins to allow my emails through and/or access to my site.

The host I use (HostGator) has worked well for me but unfortunately does not offer a shared-but-not-with-any-adult-sites hosting plan. What I've done to ameliorate the impact is: (1) use Google's fantastic (and FREE) support for nonprofits by using the free Google Apps service to route all of my email accounts through Google and (2) use a free service to monitor my inclusion on any blacklists (MxWatch Monitor via MxToolbox.com). As a result I've been able to avoid almost all email issues and have been able to address any other blacklisting issues as soon as they crop up.

I don't have the web traffic that you do (approx 5,000 unique visitors daily and less than 50GB monthly bandwidth) but HostGator has been almost completely hassle-free. This is the third hosting company that I've used in the past 7 years and I doubt I'll ever have to switch again. I pay around $20 / month and that includes reseller hosting (I help out a few other sites for small nonprofits that don't have a tech background by hosting their sites for them).

If you need further info feel free to contact me - and if you decide on HostGator I'd be happy to give you a referral code (my org could use any and all financial support possible!!!).

Games

Submission + - Play Wii -- Become a Better Surgeon -- Profit!!!->

drew30319 writes: "NPR reports that a team of researchers at the University of Rome required a group of surgical residents to play video games on a Nintendo Wii for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks resulting in "statistically better" performance than a control group for laparoscopic skills. The study is available online ( http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057372 ) and includes some interesting stats (e.g. while the control group showed a 10% improvement in accuracy, the Wii-playing group's accuracy improved by 83%).

The study's authors add that ''[t]he Nintendo® Wii may be adopted in lower-budget Institutions or at home by younger surgeons to optimize their training on simulators before performing real procedures.'"

Link to Original Source

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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