The $1,000,000 Challenge

Every year, something happens that makes us extend the end date of the fundraiser.

In the early days, it was often me gumming up the works. I’d screw up in my planning, (back before we had better people to handle the planning) or I’d get a great idea that would have fit just fine into our schedule…. if I’d thought of it two weeks earlier.

In recent years, the extensions have mostly come about for good reasons. A last-minute sponsor comes in with a cool donation and I need extra time to write a blog about it. Or we end up hosting an event or posting last-minute auctions.

I thought this year’s big last-minute excitement was going to be the table Wyrmwood donated to our prize lottery. (More on that below.)

But we were ready this year. We actually scheduled a couple extra days for last-minute additions. So our team jumped up and down with delight, we slotted the new blog into our buffer time, and patted ourselves on the back for being clever. This was it. This was going to be the year we finally wrapped up our fundraiser on schedule.

Then we got more news. THE news. The news I’m writing about today.

You see, someone out there saw what we were doing here at Worldbuilders. They thought we were cool and wanted to help.

Specifically, they want to help us raise a million dollars this year.

Here’s what they’re proposing:

If we raise $715,000, they’re going to kick in $285,000. And that will carry us to a cool million dollars.

Now here’s the truth: I was excited about us hitting $500,000 today. Half a million is a lot of dollars. It’s a huge accomplishment, and that money is going to change lives. It’s going to make a huge impact on the world. Even if we didn’t raise another dollar after today, our fundraiser would still be a huge success.

But I’m not going to lie to you. I *really* want to hit a solid million this year.

And I think we can do it with your help.

Here’s how.

*     *     *

  • First and foremost, we’ve extended our deadline.

The fundraiser will now be ending on Tuesday, December 12th. That gives us exactly one week to hit our goal of $715K.

This will be it though. Final deadline. If we haven’t hit it by then, we’ve missed our chance.

  • Second: Asking Nicely.

I’m guessing those of you who read the blog or follow Worldbuilders on social media already know what we do here. I’m assuming you’ve been with us for the past three weeks, and you’ve probably made a donation or two. Maybe bid on some of the auctions. Maybe checked out a few of the team pages….

If you haven’t donated yet, I get it. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in the world right now. Hurricanes and fires. The holidays coming up fast…

But I’m asking, if you haven’t joined us yet, would you consider it? The simple truth is that the great majority of our fundraiser doesn’t come from huge donors. It comes from the thousands of people who kick in $20 each. (Enough for a flock of chickens) Or families that pool their resources and kick in enough for a goat ($120).

You see, together we are mighty. And there are no small donations. $20 bucks can change someone’s life.


If you need proof: here’s Ndiolle Faye. Two years ago, Heifer International gave Ndiolle a flock of chickens along with the tools and education needed to make good use of them.

Now she owns over 150 chickens. Her farm is thriving. She makes money from selling chickens and eggs. Her children get to eat three meals a day, every day. And for the first time in her life she has enough money to send them ALL to school, something she’s always dreamed of.

What’s more, she is sharing her prosperity with her community. Following Heifer’s tradition of Passing on the Gift, Ndiolle has given 11 other local families their own flock of starter chickens. Now they are on a similar road to self-reliance and prosperity.

I guess what I’m asking is this: Do you want to change the world? Because you can, and the price is low. Two years ago someone donated 20 dollars, and now 12 different families aren’t just surviving, they’re thriving.

A million dollars would buy a LOT of chickens. And you can help us make that happen if you donate here.

  • Third: Remind Y’all about the Fabulous Prizes we’re giving away.

In addition to making the world a better place, I want to remind you that every $10 you donate gets you the chance to win one of the more than 5,000 fabulous prizes we’re giving away this year.

Prizes like the beautiful Wyrmwood gaming table.

(Ooooo…. Ahhhh….)

I gushed about this table in my last blog. So here I’ll just mention that it’s hands-down the most beautiful piece of furniture I’ve ever seen, and I covet it with the powerful passionate lust of a thousand suns.

It’s handmade here in the US out of Black Walnut, and were you to buy one, it would cost you more than $10,000. But you don’t need to buy it, because it can be yours if you donate $10 or more and select “GAMES” as one of the types of prizes you’d like to win.

I can’t can’t stress how beautiful this game table is. The recessed playing area can be raised and lowered. It’s amazingly well designed so you can play a game, then pause it partway through, put the cover on the table. Then eat dinner. Or do some work. Or (here’s a wild thought) play an entirely different game.

A DIFFERENT anonymous donor (We have some good people here) has agreed to cover any additional shipping costs from Wyrmwood, so the winner will be able to accept this gift without any additional expense.

If you’re more into experiences, you can also win a balcony cabin for two on JoCo Cruise.

I’ve talked about JoCo Cruise on the blog before. But in brief, I’ll just say it’s one of my favorite parts of the year. I’ve made some of my best friends on the ship. I snorkeled for the first time. I’ve learned about new music, met cool comics writers, and got to hang out and perform onstage with the folks who make Nightvale….

Also? Tequila. Or drinking Rum out of a Pineapple on a Beach. Or playing games with your fellow nerds then spending time in the hot-tub.

And you can join us. You can be on this cruise. If you donate $60 (enough for tree seedlings that will prevent soil erosion, provide nutritional diversity, and bring in extra money to a family) you get 6 chances to win this cabin (as well as all the other prizes.)

There are literally thousands of books and games you can win. In fact, our prize wall is full enough to be difficult to photograph.

And this doesn’t include ANY of the games. They just don’t fit on the shelves, so there’s BOXES and BOXES of them in our warehouse, just waiting to be shipped out at the end of the fundraiser.

The money you donate, in addition to getting us closer to our $715,000 goal, puts your name into the mix for these prizes. And if you love math, we have a wonderful little widget that shows you what your odds are of winning at least one prize… (Though people who donate over 100 bucks frequently win more than just one.)

We’ve never had so much stuff to give away. Your odds of winning are ridiculously good AND you’ll help us reach our goal of $715,000, which is to say, that you’ll help us raise a million dollars.

  • Lastly and most important: Spreading the Word.

“But Pat!” I hear you say. “I’ve already donated. I wish I could help you hit a million, but I’m utterly tapped…”

Believe me, as someone who never made more than $14,000 a year before he got published, I get what it’s like when times are tight.

It turns out there’s a big way you can help us that has nothing to do with money.

You see, I’m proud of Worldbuilders. Heifer is an amazing charity. We have wonderful sponsors. This year we’re giving away more than $160,000 in prizes….

But people don’t know about us. It’s hard for us to get the word out to new people.

So… can you help us spread the word?

Do you have a blog? A podcast? A Webcomic? If you could talk about us to your people, it would help a lot….

Do you make videos on The Youtube? Are you a Twitch streamer? Can you let your audience know who we are? That we’re giving away amazing prizes in an attempt to raise a million bucks for charity?

Do you contribute to your the local paper? Your campus paper? Do you just have a regular piece of paper? You can write a note on it about Worldbuilders, then put it in a bottle, and then… I dunno. Maybe just hand it to someone? I bet that would get their attention.

You can even help us by updating your cover photo on Facebook and including a link to our donation page in the description. ( will point people right there, Or you can pick a link to your favorite team page.)

We’ve made a whole bunch of them with different messages in them. And they’re available in two layouts: as general sharing images, as well as formatted to work as a cover photo on Facebook or Twitter. You can download the ones you like best here and use them all over the place.

You can cash in your change jar. Make your own fundraising team page where you work together with your family or friends to raise enough to give a community cows or clean water.

A lot of folks I know give charitable donations for Christmas this year instead of presents. Last year, my sister gave me a picture of a goat she drew to let me know she donated. I put it on my fridge and it made me happy all year….

Tell your friends. Post about it on social media. Tweet it out to some of your favorite charitable celebrities. Donate to support teams in tonight’s StarCraft Tournament

Barring that. The simplest, most honest way you could help us spread the word is this: Think of the person in your life who would be most interested in what we’re doing here. Think of someone who loves games. Or books. Or goats. Someone who loves sustainable farming. Someone who wishes the world were better than it is.

Then tell them about Worldbuilders. Show them this blog. Invite them to come be awesome with us.

As I type this, our donation total is $532,000. We’ve raised $40,000 dollars today, most of that after we started sharing this news on social media around 5:00.

It’s a strong start to our final week. I think we can do it.

Here’s the donation link one more time, just in case you need it for anything….


This entry was posted in Worldbuilders 2017. By Pat17 Responses


  1. Posted December 6, 2017 at 6:21 AM | Permalink

    And now? I sleep.

    Can y’all keep the fires burning while I’m away?

    • James
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

      But… You just said fires burning is one of the things we’re trying to help people recover from…

      I’m confused, so I’ll just increase my donation. More good fires, less bad fires, and some honeybees for someone to care for and protect.

      • Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

        I like the cut of your Jib, James.

        • James
          Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

          So much for your resolution to sleep after posting!

          It looks like we kept the fires raging for you – it jumped almost 100K in a day, well done! But please make sure you get some rest.

          • Posted December 7, 2017 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

            Maybe in a week or so…

  2. Falka
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    Pat, your are making great job with all of this. I know there is lots and lots of people behind it, you are all making great job and lots of people happy :)

  3. Laitainon
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    I am glad you posted this, as I had almost forgotten to donate this year.
    Thank you for being a force of good in this world, Pat. Thank you, team worldbuilders, and thank you, anonymous donor, for making this possible.

  4. cellima
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    Okay, I’ve a question: I’d love to donate, but we’re really, really, broke this year. However, I was also really hoping to squeeze the budget enough to get a few friends copies of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle books for Christmas . After looking at my copies and deciding they were too worn (read well loved-seriously, I need to start donating them to schools, my students adore them) to regift, I decided to purchase from the Tinker’s Pack. I know the Tinker’s Pack proceeds are donated, but will they specifically help to reach this goal? Thanks!

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

      The money from the Tinker’s Packs does go to Worldbuilders, but it won’t help us reach this goal.

      That said, all support is welcome. It all helps the charity.

  5. uberzombie
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    BLACK SODDING DAMN. I didn’t know I could donate an ALPACA! ALPACA are the greatest creatures on the face of the planet. I’ve donated already, but those were for Oot’ s cow. Going to have to pony up for a majestic fucking alpaca….

    • Posted December 6, 2017 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

      They are pretty great. And super fluffy.

  6. Posted December 6, 2017 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Shared on FB and also found out I still had “matching” donation money from my work to give, so did that as well. (I can donate up to a certain dollar amount in donations, and they will donate an equal amount as well).

    Curious about how matching like that works? If they company matches in my name do I get double the lottery chances? Even if the answer is no, Worldbuilders is so awesome that I’m absolutely happy to donate, but I am wondering.

  7. maggie
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    My husband got me a water buffalo for my 40th birthday. I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. Thank you, Pat, for your wonderful work and (by proxy) the best laugh I ever had.


    • Posted December 7, 2017 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

      I’m delighted to hear it….

  8. embee0
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I’ve been following Worldbuilders from Germany for many years now, and I can’t tell you how much I love you and your team for this. To be honest, although I enjoy your books oh so very much, my enthusiam for you as an author pales in comparison with my admiration for you as a Mensch.

    I’m teaching a course on the side this year, which unexpectedly is paid not in time (less teaching elsewhere), but in extra money. So my three kids, my wife and I decided to give this money to charity. While brainstorming about what to do with the money, I told them about you and about the goats. They were excited, because they saw wisdom of Heifer’s approach.

    For whatever reason, I had only donated to local, German charities up to now, probably because of deeply ingrained beliefs that a transatlantic transfer of money will be eaten up by bank charges. But, hey, this is 2017; how big can the credit card fees be in a globalized world? I’ll find out in a few minutes.

    I just read about your new, fantastic one-million stretch goal. One thing you maybe could do to achieve that goal, is to reach out explicitly to your *international* readers and ask them to join in. We are legion, you know! I can imagine many people outside the US thinking (at least subconsciously, like myself): “Oh, this is great, but it’s an American thing by an American author and his American readers”. Which of course it’s not – it’s called *World*builders after all, so why shouldn’t all the world build? So maybe, if you address us “foreigners” in one of your next blogs and tell them that the international banking thing is easy these days, that you just need a credit card to donate, this could help push Worldbuilders over $715,000…

    At least for my family’s $300, I cannot imagine a better return of investment than $285,000!

  9. Kendall
    Posted December 9, 2017 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    Thank you so much for extending the deadline! I’m behind on everything this year, so yay, I can donate in time!!! I’d donate to Heifer International anyway – it’s my one of my two favorite charities; I’d never leave them out – but I love donating via Worldbuilders especially. ;-)

    And it looks like you already passed the $715K! :-D

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