Worldbuilders – A Pitch of Three Parts

Since our last blog Worldbuilders has raised another $20,000 dollars for Heifer International. That puts us at $328,000, soundly trouncing last year’s donation total of $311,000.

Not bad for a bunch of book-lovers and sci-fi geeks.

Speaking of, here’s a snippet of an e-mail I just got today:


My boyfriend and I decided that instead of Valentine’s gifts, we’re donating to Worldbuilders. We’re both such adoring fans of yours and Kvothe’s, but you’ve also made us adoring fans of the children and families that benefit from a goat or chickens and the excrements that come from both. :)

Worldbuilders is our favorite time of year thanks to you, and we just wanted to really let you know. We love you Pat! Even if it’s not here yet, I think this Valentine’s Day is going to be the best one yet.



I love you too, Sara. It’s because of people like you that Worldbuilders is a success.

Oh sure, we’re lucky enough to have some people stomp in with thousand-dollar donations. But the truth is, most of our money comes from regular folks chipping in what they can. More than 25% of the money we raise comes from people donating between 10 and 50 bucks.

I mention this because I’ve had people e-mail me saying they’re sorry they can only kick in ten or twenty bucks because they’re in college. Or because they have a new baby in the house. Or because they just lost their job.

What’s my point?

Well, my first point is to say that I know what it’s like to be strapped for cash. I was a college student for more than a decade and paid my own tuition through most of it working several jobs. After I finished grad school and got a job as a teacher, I was still poor enough to qualify for low-income housing.

Even now that I’m all internationally published and and whatnot, you know how I *really* measure my financial success?

It’s not that I can now afford burritos that cost more than 33 cents. It’s not that I can order Chinese food anytime I want. It’s not even the fact that recently, for the first time in my life, I bought a car for more than 500 dollars.

It’s this:

That’s my change jar. This is how I know I’m rich.

There are quarters in there.

There’s been a lot of no-quarters in the jar times in my life. I’ve had a fair amount of no-dimes times too. And there have been a few times when I’ve bought groceries with nickles and pennies. This is my metric for success.

My point is that I know how big a deal ten dollars can be.

My point is that when I get an e-mail that says, “I can only kick in twenty dollars because our car broke down right after Christmas.” I don’t think, “Twenty bucks? Is that it?”

No. I think: You. Are. Awesome.

What’s my point? My point is that every year y’all impress me. Every year you make me proud to be a geek.

So, because we’ve beaten last year’s total with time to spare, I’m officially declaring this year’s fundraiser a success.

(Go Team!)

That said, we are not yet an amazing success. And personally, I like to shoot for amazing whenever I can.

The fundraiser is still going until January 21st at midnight. So today, I’m making my final pitch for Worldbuilders. And it will be in, *ahem* three parts.

  • Part One: What Heifer International Does.

I could go on again about how Heifer gives people a leg up rather than a handout. I could talk about how they’re education-based. How they promote long-term sustainable growth in communities.

But honestly, I’ve said it all before. So this time, how about I post up a video instead?

Four Families: India from Heifer International on Vimeo.

We good? Yeah. I thought so.

  • Part Two: Bigger Bang For Your Buck.

This year we’re trying out the stretch goal thing, and one of our big ones happens when we hit $400,000.

Specifically, if we hit 400,000 dollars before January 21st at midnight, I’ll donate $100,000 to Heifer, bringing our yearly total to over half a million.

If not, I will keep that money and do something stupid with it. I swear I will blow it on catgirls, methadone, and multiple pairs of the same kind of shoes.

That’s probably the best way to think about it. If we make it to $400,000, not only will Heifer get a boost, but you’ll be saving me from myself. Seriously. I can’t be trusted with this amount of money. I’m already about one haircut a year away from being Howard Hughes.

  • Part Three: The Odds are in Your Favor.

As many of you know, one of the cool things about Worldbuilders is that if you donate to Heifer International on our Team Page, you have the chance to win stuff.

(We have so many books we can’t even fit them all into one picture.)

Note that I say “stuff” because while most of our donation incentives are books, we also have comics, music, and DVD’s. There’s also other miscellany in the mix, like my offer to read-and-critique your unpublished manuscript, or chances to visit the Heifer Ranch with the Worldbuilders team.

You could even win a favor from me. Something which, in the auction we’re currently running, is going for a truly baffling amount of money.

So. How likely are you to win something? Very.

Right now, if you donated $10 to the fundraiser, you’d have about a 3% chance of winning something. About a 1 in 35 chance.

In mathematical terms, that means you’re approximately ten hajillion times more likely to win something from Worldbuilders than from any official lottery.

Let’s say you donate $60, enough for Heifer’s team to go in and provide education, support, and seedlings so folks can plant some trees.

Donating $60, you have a 15% chance of winning at least one prize. That’s about a 1 in 7 chance.

Plus farmers get to prevent soil erosion on their land. Plus that cute little girl gets to eat fresh fruit. Plus you get to have a huge warm fuzzy knowing you made the world a better place.

Or, let’s say you kick in 120 bucks. Enough to buy a goat.

With that donation, your odds of winning a prize are about 30% overall.  You have about a 1 in 3 chance of winning something.

Goats provide milk, rich in calcium and protein, wonderful for growing children. Plus the extra milk can be sold, which gives the family an extra source of income. Plus, goats have babies, which Heifer families pass on to their neighbors, improving their lives too….

Or you could go all the way up to $500 dollars, enough to buy a Heifer.

(This is Heifer International, after all.)

Donating enough to buy a heifer will get you a 76% chance to win something. And really good odds of winning more than one prize. (Every 10 dollars gives you an extra chance to win, remember.)

Cows produce nearly four gallons of milk a day, which means just one cow can act as the equivalent of a small business for the family selling the milk. This money gives people the chance to educate their children, buy medicine, and generally take control of their lives.

So there you go folks. My final pitch for the year. We’ll be posting more donations in the next couple days, but this is my last hard sell.

Here’s the link to the Worldbuilders donation page.

Lastly, I’d like to add that one of the best things you can do to help Worldbuilders is to spread the word. Any boost to our signal I would take as a great kindness. So feel free to share this post around, twitter it, or use excerpts of it in your own blog.

Though preferably not the part where I joked about methadone. That would be kinda odd taken out of context.

Later space cowboys,


*     *     *

If you have any questions about worldbuilders, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

We have some cool auctions ending soon. You can see all our current auctions here.

If you’d like to see all the items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can find all the details either on my blog, or by checking out our website.

This entry was posted in calling on the legions, Worldbuilders 2012. By Pat30 Responses


  1. sinnq
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    Donated 5 more usd than last year. Hope we can hit 400k so you won’t be able to enjoy beautiful felines.

  2. Fatikis
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    I’m a contractor for a school and waiting to be paid. If I’m paid before this ends I’ll donate as much as I can. Patrick Rothfuss not only are you an amazing writer but an amazing person as well.

    The world needs more people like you.

  3. Allie
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    This blog is so inspiring. I already made my donation, but I am suddenly feeling the need to dig through the couch cushions and give a little more. I love feeling like a (very, very small) part of this effort. Pat, you make me proud to be a fan.

  4. FarmerMonkey
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    Just wanted to say a big thank you to Pat and the Worldbuilders team for making this happen. And a big kudos to all the Saras out there.

    I ended up winning second place in my fantasy football league right around the time of Worldbuilders. The prize happened to equal one goat. It seemed like Kismet.

    And damn it, it feels good. I spend countless hours of my life making incremental improvements to the IT systems of a fortune 500 company, one small cog in an impossibly complex machine. With a few mouse clicks, I just got to potentially change the trajectory of a families’ entire lives.

    YOU guys (authors/team/donators) are awesome. Thank you for the inspiration, and for living the ideals of the heroes you create or consume.

  5. Katie
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Thanks to you, Pat, Heifer donations are now my gift of choice when I’ve racked my brain and come up empty. I’m hoping that they help spread the word, plus, they get pictures of cute ducklings.

  6. Tribi
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    I actually learned about you and The Name of the Wind through Heifer International, they did a profile of you or you wrote something for them. It was around Christmas and I received a gift card so I bought your book, and thus began her going under.

    My life is charmed like that so here’s hoping we can share that charm.

    • Neville Longbottom
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

      *that’s* cool!

  7. D_
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    This is my birthday tradition now. After snuggling with my babies and hubby, it’s the best gift I get.

  8. brriska
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    LOVED your money jar analogy. Ours has mostly pennies right now…and has for some time.

    It would be the coolest thing ever to win that ring. I wish I could buy it but alas, see previous money jar comment.

    Thanks for all you do! Can’t wait for book 3.

  9. Kemuri
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    I’m sorry if this question has been asked before, but is there any chance Worldbuilders would accept PayPal payments next year? Unfortunately, it’s the only way I could make a donation :(

  10. brelarow
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    I’m unemployed, so there are no quarters in my coin jar, but I had the spare time to dig around in the couch cushions… Where there is a will there is a way.


  11. emin
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    You are truly an amazing person Mr Rothfuss.
    I have always thought that fantastic authors bring great happiness to the world and can change lives, but this you do in a way that is so much more profound and meaningful than others.
    Your books have brought me great joy, and I think that anyone that feels the same should do their part and donate to Worldbuilders as a way of passing forward the goodness.
    I will be raiding my own penny jar to increase my donation.

  12. Hillary
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    I’m currently doing AmeriCorps, so basically I volunteer full time. While I am given a monthly stipend that is enough to scrape by, I often have to tighten my belt. But I know that even my measly income makes me better off than many others around the globe and this post really inspired me to give.

    I donated as much as I was able!

  13. Neville Longbottom
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    If they couldn’t take the methadone joke, they stopped being my friend many years ago…

  14. Dragen
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    I have donated for the first time, not much because I am a single mom on welfare, but enough for a small flock of chicks.

    I wish I could give more so I have taken steps and found a solution so I will be able to give more next year. I opened a bank account in my netbank and named it “Worldbuilders”, I then checked the balance of my my visa account and transferred $ 1,2 to the Worldbuilders-account making the balance of my visa account an even number. I will do this throughout the year and then give the total of the account :)

  15. Constance
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    I had bought the playing cards, calendar, and the Paul Kidby “Night Watch” Print through the auction. They made excellent Holiday gifts.

    But I just tossed in another $20.00 into the general donation fund.

    Why? I just landed a job with full benefits AND a gracious salary the likes of which I’ve not had before. Although my husband is still out of work and we’re struggling to pay our bills, we’re not starving or in danger of going a night without eating or drinking clean water. I am so thankful of this fact I have to do something to help someone who’s far worse off than I am.

    I know a lot of people have it rough but like so many – we care and give what we can. Hopefully next year I can give a right proper big fat donation in gratitude for having had my job for a full 12 months.

    Here’s to that happy day for 2013’s drive!

  16. Constance
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    Oh Pat, curious — are you at liberty to disclose if the rings which have already been won have been exchanged for favors, and if so, for what favors? I’m curious as to what’s been done with them so far.

    • jayh
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

      These are the first rings to be given out. They weren’t out for last years golden ticket.

      • EmperorCohen
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

        I think they were.

        • jayh
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

          Nope, there was one in the works, but it didn’t make it into production until this year. If there had been one I’d have Gollumed it for a few months.

  17. Morag
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, I just wanted to thank you for giving me a bit of perspective.

    I’m going through kind of a rough time in my life right now and I’ve been finding it really hard to see the light some days. Then I read your blog, as I sit here in my warm house drinking tea made from clean water, and I see the smiling faces of these beautiful kids, and I realize there *is* something I can do.

    I may not be able to figure out where I’m going right now, but there is something I can do to help someone else. So thank you, for sharing your generosity and boundless love. The world is better because of people like you.

  18. tristanter
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    This latest blog inspired me to donate…thanks for doing this. I’m a huge fan of you, your beard-y-ness, and your books.

    Becky Dodd

  19. Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    Sadly, the amount of money in my bank account that can be removed without overdrawing my account is around $7. I will not be paid again before the fundraiser ends – but I am thinking I can still donate on my own afterwards, so I will! I love that you think of others who are less fortunate than you and I! Thank you for being awesome!!!

  20. Brandi
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this blog! I kept thinking about donating to Worldbuilders and putting it off until later, but this blog is what finally got me to go do it. I had a number in my head before I started reading . . . but after watching the video I doubled it. Among other things, the girl in the video reminded me of why I love working in environmental engineering. It also really gave my latest “problems” working on my dissertation some much needed perspective . . . :).

  21. AshleyY
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for this blog post! The timing was very appropriate. I just donated to Worldbuilders and was agonizing over the amount we could afford. My husband and I are both attorneys who have not been able to find legal employment since passing the bar. We are both working menial jobs and barely able to pay our bills. Knowing that we are not alone and that every amount is appreciated means more to me than you can know at this point. Thank you for everything you do.

  22. Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    I bought a duck. I shall call him Darkwing because he fights hunger. That’s so much more fun to say than my broke ass can only afford to donate $30.

  23. Jorde
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Well Pat, you talked me into another donation. Hopefully sending spanning my donations across three separate amounts won’t cause too much of a problem. Next year I should just put everything in at once, but I fear you will talk me out of even more!

  24. Raytheist
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

    Dammit, Pat, you made me cry with that video. I was going to donate today anyway, now I had to double it. No worries, I was happy to help, even with my humble $20 donation. Thank you so much for what you do. You are truly one of the greatest human beings I have ever met and my own personal hero.

  25. bway
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:16 AM | Permalink

    I’m sooo fucking hammered I’m willing to donate my whole paycheck. Believe dat.

  26. jayh
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    So, my question…. if we make it to 400,00 and Pat donates the 100,000 does that mean the 450K and 500K stretch goals are met and we’ll be shipping him off to Nepal?

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