Today has been a great day.
Today I woke up feeling refreshed. The tight knot in my back that’s been bothering me for almost a year was almost non-existent. I found myself singing in the shower, something that I used to do a lot, but haven’t lately.
It’s no great mystery what’s making me feel this way. It’s the fact that in less than 24 hours, we’ve raised more than 2000 dollars for a great charity. More that 4,000 after I match everyone’s donations. Success beyond my wildest expectations.
This is so much fun.
Hmmmm…. I wish that little thermometer said, “We’ve raised.”
Anyway, because we’ve had such a strong start, I waned to answer a few questions people have been asking.
- “Will you stop matching donations when you hit 5,000 dollars?”
No. I’ll match all the donations that are made.
Earlier today, when I told Sarah how well things were going, she looked at me a little nervously and asked, “Are you going to be okay with it if people donate 10,000 and you have to match it?”
“I expect I will whistle a jaunty tune,” I said happily.
“What if they raise 20,000?” She pressed.
“Then I will probably perform a tiny, happy dance while I whistle,” I explained.
Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not all Scrooge McDuck rich over here. But I can’t think of any better way to go broke than this.
Truth is, when I was setting up the page on Heifer, I set the goal at 5000 because I had no idea if y’all would be interested. I didn’t want to set it really high, because then if I only got a few donations, I’d feel like a sad loser.
But because this actually seems to be going somewhere, here’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to raise the goal on the donations page to 10,000. If we hit that, I’ll be all tingly.
I’m also going to add more prizes to the pool, so that everyone still has a good chance of getting something cool. That way, you can tell help me recruit more people without feeling like you’re ruining your chances to win stuff.
I’ll post up more details about the new prizes in a couple days.
- Can I do some fundraising of my own, then donate it and have you match it?
By all means. Have a bakesale. Search under the couch cushions at your friends’ houses. Show people at work the website then pass the hat. I’m matching donations from any and all who want to chip in.
But make sure you get it in by Dec 11th. And make sure you donate through THE PAGE I SET UP. That’s the only way I can track donations.
- “I can buy chicks on your page, but not baby ducks!”
Yeah. They don’t offer all the different options on the donor pages. The cost of a flock of ducks is the same as for the chicks: $20.
- “How much of my donation to Heifer goes to actually helping people?”
This is a fair question. A lot of so-called charities are actually just scams that collect money, then use a very small amount of it for the intended purpose.
But trust me that I’ve done my research. Heifer is an award-winning charity for a reason. They’ve been doing good works for over 60 years.
Heifer keeps all its financial records available to the public, and 75% of everything it collects go directly toward helping people.
Here’s a nice visual breakdown from Heifer’s site.
You can see here that less than seven percent of their money goes toward administration. That’s exceptional.
- “I live in [foreign country]. Can I still send you a check and buy a book?”
Yes. I stopped by the post office and bank today and peppered them with questions. So here’s how it will work.
It costs me $20 dollars to ship a book internationally. Every additional book in the same package adds $10 to the cost of shipping.
So here’s what you do:
1) Add the extra shipping to the prices I’ve already given.
2) Add three bucks to cover the fee that the bank is going to charge me.
3) Convert it into your local currency. (euros, pounds, rupees, whatever)
4) Write me a check using your local currency. (This is important. Don’t write me a check in dollars if that isn’t what they use where you live.)
5) Mail it off to me with the other information I’ve asked for written on a notecard.
Easy as pie.
- “I love that you’re willing to donate to charity. Would you match my donation to [insert name of charity here] instead?”
Everyone has their favorite charity. As I said in my first post on the subject, I know there are a lot of good causes out there, and people have very personal attachments to them. Emotions run high in these areas.
Someone contacted me asking about animal shelters, another about diabetes. A third person posted a comment on the blog, arguing that people living in the US shouldn’t give money to charities that support causes outside the US. I erased the post because it was harshing my groove, then I felt guilty about it because the person was very polite in making their point.
But here’s what I’m getting at. I think it’s important not to go all Bruce Wayne in these situations.
Follow along with me on this. Bruce Wayne’s folks were killed by criminals, so he grows up and becomes Batman in order to fight crime. Because he hates crime. Because his parents were killed by crime.
Now I like Batman as much as the next guy. Good stories. Batarangs. Men in tights. He’s probably my favorite superhero, or close to it. But the fact is, his whole Batman deal is pretty self-indulgent.
Think about it. Dude is a multi-billionaire. If he wanted to make the world a better place, he could create a foundation 100 times bigger than Heifer International. He could build shelters for battered women, schools in low-income neighborhoods. Sustainable agriculture. Renewable energy.
What does he do with his money? He builds super-gadgets so he can fight crime. Drives a rocket car.
Yes I know that Bruce Wayne is also a philanthropist. Don’t quibble. He does a tiny bit of charity, and a whole big shitload of being Batman.
Why? Well… because it wouldn’t be much of a comic if he didn’t. But the other answer is, he fights crime because it makes him feel good. Not because it does good. There’s a difference.
Cancer got my mom not too long ago, and it took a good hard swing at my dad, too. That means that I shoul
d be raising money for cancer research because I hate cancer, right?
Well…. no. Do I hate cancer? Of course. But if I just focused on fighting cancer for the rest of my life, I’d kind of be doing it for selfish reasons. Instead, I’d rather focus on making people’s lives better. I’d like to focus on doing good, then let the feeling good be the side effect.
That’s why I’m focusing on Heifer. They help people all over the world, not just here in the US. Why? Because people all over the world have it really shitty and they need help. To say that some people deserve my help more just because they’re from the same country…. Nah. That’s not my game. I’m playing for team human, not team USA.
Does that make sense? Wait…. What was the question again?
Oh. Yeah. Will I match donations somewhere else instead of Heifer? Respectfully, I’ll pass. I’m not saying you should stop loving your charity. But I’ve put some thought into this, and I’m going to stick with Heifer for now.
Lastly, for anyone who’s interested. I’m going to be doing a workshop (4:00) and a reading/signing (7:00) at a library in Lanesboro, MN tomorrow (Wednesday the 12th). I’m excited because I hear this place is about fifteen miles away from Lake Wobegone.
Want more details? Check out the my tour schedule page.