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Comment Re:Wait... Who got that other half of the $$$ rais (Score 2) 19

I spent about fifteen years of my career in the non-profit sector, so I have some perspective on this.

Raising money in a non-profit is just like selling stuff is for a for-profit. Generating gross revenue is relatively easy -- if you spend a lot of money you can rake in a lot of dough. What's a bitch to generate is net profit. In the non-profit sector we don't use the term "profitability" very much, so the metric that's often used to describe financial is "cost to raise a dollar." For typical fundraising activities cost-to-raise-a-dollar runs from 0.25 to 1.5 dollars/dollar.

Take junk mail. The cost to raise a dollar for a well-run direct mail campaign is in the range of $1.25 to $1.50, so if I want to raise $115,000 to spend on other things I have to scale my direct mail campaign to bring inover $258,000 gross. As you can see I chose a net target that was exactly 1/1000 the size of the ALS bucket challenge net, so you can compare the efficiency of the processes readily. The cost to raise a dollar for the ALS bucket challenge is actually better than a well-run direct mail campaign -- $0.91.

And it should be more efficient than direct mail, because direct mail is about the least efficient method there is. The marginal costs are huge because you pay for the names and addresses as well as printing and mailing of each piece, and most of those pieces will end up in the landfill unopened. So if direct mail is so inefficient, why use it? Because the financial inefficiency doesn't matter to the organization doing the fundraising. The end result of my hypothetical direct mail campaign is that my organization has $115,000 it didn't have before. That probably pays for one and half full time staff positions (at the low do-gooder wages we pay) for a year.

So the ALS challenge was in the financial efficiency range of methods normally used by non-profits, albeit a little towards the inefficient end. That doesn't really tell us if the campaign was responsibly run or not; to know that you'd have to look at all the expenses and compare those to costs in other viral Internet fundraising campaigns. But the bottom line is that the ALS association ended up with $115 million it didn't have before.

Can you think of a way of raising $115 million in a few months? I thought not. So presuming the guys who ran the campaign didn't spend the money on hookers and blow, I wouldn't be unduly concerned by a cost-to-raise-a-dollar of $0.91 if I was on the board.

Should donors care that the ALS challenge was a little high on the cost-to-raise-a-dollar metric? Well, I look at it this way. People did it because it was fun and for a good cause, and two years later we can point to concrete and significant scientific results from the money raised. That's not only pretty good, it's pretty damned awesome.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 277

A lot of people live in apartments where even if you have room for a nice setup, there's little or no opportunity to put it to good use without being a complete asshole to your neighbors. Also, unless you're sitting remarkably close to your remarkably large television, the screen in a theater is going to present a larger viewing angle. Some people don't like that, but for those who do, it's a more immersive experience.

Comment Re:The Theater Experience (Score 1) 277

Attendance has been steadily declining over the past 15 years, even as sales have been increasing. This means fewer people are paying more. Where I live, more cinemas than not have full bars, prepared food, and comfy, reclining seats. Eventually, with the possible exception of less population-dense areas, this is what the theater experience will be going forward, and cell-phone using, popcorn-gobbling, soda-swilling teeny boppers will be relegated to watching movies at home on their XBox Two (or on a phone, at school probably).

Comment Re:Can't decide what's stupider... (Score 1) 808

He didn't. The headline is misleading, but neither was it a joke. What he said was, if they have already hacked the server, he would love for the emails to be released.

"They probably have them. I'd like to have them released... It gives me no pause. If they have them, they have them," Trump added later when asked if his comments were inappropriate. "If Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean, to be honest with you, I'd love to see them."

Comment It is done wrong, so no surprise (Score 1) 168

Most Companies pay their CEOs with stock, which the CEO works hard to get its price way up, typically by cheating.
However, if they would pay their CEOs with none publicly traded stock, along with regular salary, then CEOs have a STRONG incentive to get decent dividends rather than focus on the stock price.

Comment Re:anti-science environmentalists (Score 1) 170

Actually, it's thoroughly impossible to tell how the new standards work based upon by the linked articles, but it sounds like in plain language that Florida is using a computer model that could allow more flexibility in discharge permitting. This can lead to better results, whether your definition of better is "more rationally defensible" or "more in line with what my donors want." Determining which way it is better requires review by a competent expert. It might be both.

The real issue here is this phrase from TFA: "one of a kind." That's not so good.

It's important in managing environmental data to do things in the usual way. This is contrary to the way public thinks about new technologies. If there's a new iPhone, you expect it to be better in every way or at least as good. It's not like that with scientific methods; new techniques are proposed because they have certain advantages, obviously. But they always have one big disadvantage: their results are hard to compare with what you already know. You need to do a lot of work to justify doing things a new way, otherwise you can find yourself unable to compare what is happening now to what was happening before.

Fortunately Florida can't do this on its own; it has to get EPA approval. Since this is an administration that is generally favorable to environmental regulation, if they can get this past Obama's EPA that will help give these new methods more credibility.

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