Donors Choose… Incentives!

Ok, just got the word–there is a donor who is matching small donations (up to $100), so you can double the effect of your money! Just enter the match code “SCIENCE” (without quotes) in the box labeled “match or gift code”, on the page where you are entering your payment info for paypal or credit card. The matching started this morning, and goes until they hit $50,000 of donations to match. That’s a lot of helped classrooms.

But suppose you want to donate more than that? You see the perfect project that you want to be personally responsible for, and you make a bigger donation; is there an incentive for that? Well… sorta. For my readers who donate in the triple digits (if you are able to donate in more digits than that, please note I have a tip jar, myself!), I want to send you one of my cuttlefish car emblems. If you already donated in the triple digits (and you know who you are–and so do I), let me know if you want a car emblem, and where you want it sent (one reader already has).

I have only a few extras here, but if enough of you donate I am perfectly willing to put in another order, and consider it a big win for the kids.

Trick Or Treat–Ahead Of The Storm

So because of the upcoming apocalypse hurricane nor’easter storm, the powers that be moved trick-or-treating up two nights, to tonight. Without telling me. Or Cuttledog. I was prepared. Cuttledog was not. Much barking ensued.

It was an evening filled with many Captains America, a handful of Iron Men, and the usual assortment of witches, kitties, fairies and/or butterflies, a barrel of monkeys, and quite a few zombies.

No Gangnam style, and no binders full of women. I suspect that will be different (or will have been different) at the grown-up Halloween parties.

But… this was the first year I can recall when not one kid had the little UNICEF box. This saddened me, because I was ready to make these kids very happy.

Anyway… So there’s supposed to be a storm hitting soon. I’m as prepared as I can be, so even if I can’t post for a while, don’t worry about me (what? You weren’t going to? … okay…). But, you know, these storms can knock out power, and internet, and access to banks, and all that… so consider this post a bit of a “Trick Or Treat For UNICEF Donors Choose”. That’s right, I’m knocking on your door a little bit earlier than I would have without the storm on its way, and holding out a little box…well, a little software box…

… If I were actually coming to your house, I’d be the one in the really excellent cuttlefish costume. Yes, with a quill pen.

Trick or Treat for Donors Choose!

And thank you to all who have donated already! You astonish me with your generosity! For everybody else–small donations are quite welcome too! (and yes, so are large donations!)


Still busy, but I thought I’d pop in to say thanks–both to the people who are supplying me with wonderful quotes, and to the people who have already donated to Donors Choose via my page.

It’s Friday (hey, I just realized–I have *still* not heard that song–Yay!), which means payday for some people… so I’m nudging the Donors Choose thing again. Mostly because most of FtB does not have their pages up and running yet, so I feel a bit obligated to hold the high ground until they get here, but also because I am ever so slightly competitive, and we’re not the only people trying to help kids. And succeeding.

None of my pet projects has been fully funded yet. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be a big deal; they would have other sources of funding. Sadly, while we knew our world was not intelligently designed, it is a sad thing to realize that our system for supporting education is not either. And it’s something worth supporting, for reasons ranging from the purely altruistic to the purely selfish. Me, I just love going to a school and seeing kids excited about learning–and one thing that excites them is to have a new project funded, which simultaneously gives them something new and cool to do, and tells them that somebody actually cares about what they are doing. (I mentioned last year that I had serialized a classic play for a 5th grade class [ok, two joined classes] and read it to them on Fridays over the course of several weeks–at week two, I was able to supply each student with their own copy of the play. I am not a wealthy cuttlefish, so this was no easy thing for me, but I consider it amongst the best money–and time–I have ever spent.)

So anyway, if you got paid today (or yesterday, like me), consider throwing a few dollars (or, yes, if you have it to spare, a bit more) at Donors Choose. Like the name says, you can choose what you want your money to go to, so reward what you like. Be artsy, or sciencey, or fund your home state, or whatever. It doesn’t take a lot to make a very real difference. And frankly, it feels great to help these schools, these classes, these teachers, these kids.

Hmph. I already spent more time on this than I planned to. See? These kids, with their happy faces, their smiling eyes… they get to ya. Little twerps. And some bigger twerps. Give them a hand.

Tell ’em Cuttlefish sent you.

Donors Choose Re-Booted

Ok, I now have a brand new page just for this year, without all the pesky compliments and accolades from last year’s comments (*blush*). It will soon be up in my sidebar, but I also want to put it here–in part because one of my (my?) teachers from last year has a project that is in its last 12 hours or so! So go, take a look at the projects, and if you have a few spare bucks, some of these projects can stretch that money quite a ways!

Plus, with the previous comments gone, you have the chance to take over the billboard!

Donors Choose

Pretty soon now, you’ll be able to see a widget in the sidebar over there to the right, that looks something like this:

For now, you can use this one. Anyway, it’s that time of year, when you would pretty much chew off your own leg to be done with all the attention on the USAian presidential race. Well, here’s the thing. If you donate to these needy classrooms, then in just under 3 weeks the presidential campaigning will be over! (True, it is quite possible that the campaigns will end even if you don’t donate to these needy schools, but at this point, is that a chance you want to take?)

Last year, the donors who went through my widget were incredibly generous, and I heard back from a number of teachers (and some students!) who shared their thanks, and who showed what a difference you made. I’ve included some of those classrooms again this year, along with a number of others–you can also browse around and search for schools near you, or projects that are near and dear to your heart (lots of people funded science projects through my widget last year, even though I linked mostly to poetry-related projects). Or you can specify high-need projects, schools in high poverty areas, or even have them pick projects for you at random.

So please give, and in giving, let not your left tentacles know what your right tentacles are doing. You know, just in case it’s something icky.


Last Donors Choose Post

Today, Friday, Saturday. That’s it.

The good news is, the Powers That Be are, for those three days, doubling all donations. If you donate (even as little as a dollar), they will (if I remember correctly) send you a voucher for you to choose where to spend that same amount on the same or other projects of your choosing. Hey, I only just found out about this, or I’d have asked everyone to wait.

Also, the scientopia blogs are catching up with us. You may or may not care, but it kinda irks me. Of course, they are catching up in total dollars, but not numbers of donors, so we still rule there.

Anyway, You know the spiel by now–widget to the right, deserving cause, right thing to do, every dollar helps. Now, every dollar helps twice as much.

So please help.

Home Stretch

The science bloggers’ challenge, in Donors Choose, is rapidly coming to an end. The official challenge (which FtB is leading handily, even with PZ mis-categorized) ends this Saturday, one day after the end of the world.

As of this writing, four of my pet projects have been funded (yay!), one timed out without being funded (sob!), and there are several more still searching for money (including one that is in its final days). I am tempted to add still more projects; it would be a false sense of accomplishment to pretend that the job was ever “finished”. There will, at least under our current structure, always be more to do, and more left undone.

But you don’t stop paddling just because you can’t see the shore. If you are going the right direction (“second star to the right, and straight on till morning”) the only way to get there is to keep moving.

So let’s keep moving.

There are still my projects, and plenty more where they came from; if you don’t want to support poetry, you can look around for science, or history, or music, or sports, or search by state or town (a former student of mine puts in a plea for Memphis TN, where funds are desperately needed). Find a project that speaks to you, or screams out to you. Find projects that are ending soon, and listen to the sighs of relief from teachers and cheers from students. Find projects that remind you of your grade school days.

I was going to suggest a spoof on the “we are the 99%” movement, encouraging people to make donations (as many as they can, of course) of 99 cents. As the 99% protests show us, numbers count. A lot of “we are the 99 cents” donors can make up for a few big donors. And it is absolutely true that every dollar helps.

And yeah, you can do that. Or you can give a lot (I’m looking at a particular recent donor from Brooklyn, here. Thanks!). But we are running out of time to give at all. So please take the time to click through the widget on the right, and experience the pleasure of helping out kids and teachers who need, and who appreciate, your help.

That’s Some Pig

Over at my recent Donors Choose Feedback post, I just got a comment (at about 4 AM–I wonder what time zone?) with a bit of a plea:

OK, it’s not exactly a science project (well maybe if you stretch — animal husbandry? the life-cycle of the order order Araneae?), but this Donors Choose project to buy a set of _Charlotte’s Web_ for poor kids in Louisiana expires in less than two days; I’ve given more to it than I can afford, but not enough … I wonder if you wonder consider adding it to your list? I’ll be devastated if it doesn’t make it.:

I loved that book as a kid. Anyway, I took a look, and the project is indeed expiring–it actually says it has just one day left now. I have added it to my widget over there to the right.

And yes, I am a sucker for a plea for help.


I got an email from the Donors Choose people. One of the projects I had chosen to support… didn’t make it. They timed out without getting the money they needed for their project. Hey, it happens, about one project in ten, said the email.

I felt like I had personally failed them. Still feel that way. It wasn’t just one I had chosen for my readers to support, it was one I had donated to. And their time was up, and there’s a bunch of disappointed kids and a sad teacher.

Now, when bad things happen, I often hear that it was really for the best. That God had different plans. I think maybe I’m sensitive to it, having heard it about my brother’s death. But around here, we know better. It was not the action of a god that kept books from these kids, it was the inaction of people. Of the local community that could not or would not support the school, of a system that does not prioritize education despite our wealth, and yes, of me. I was, in part, the safety net, and I came up short.

When you don’t believe there’s a god there making sure it’s all for the best, you can’t kid yourself. We are all part of an interconnected web; I influence you, you influence me, and our inactions are every bit as important as our actions.

In the grand scheme of things, a few kids missed out on some poetry books. It’s not vaccines, or lunches, or a roof over their heads. They’ll live.

But I really do think life is better with poetry.

Anyway, the widget is still there, to the left, and the other kids still need your support. Last time I checked, Scicurious had come down with a nasty bug, and we are kicking her but anyway, so donate because it turns out if you don’t, there’s no guarantee someone else will pick up the slack.

And it’s not all part of God’s plan.

Donors Choose: Feedback

Mrs. Holloway, Ms. Kelly, Mrs. Hickman, and Ms. Smith
Have each written to convey their deepest gratitude
So I thought I’d share their message, and I add my thanks as well,
I assure you, it is more than just a platitude.
But the contest isn’t finished; no, the battle’s just begun
Since Scicurious is mustering her readers—
Thus, I post this brief reminder, of the challenge and the stakes;
You know cuttlefish have never been conceders.
Lest we somehow grow complacent, and Sci’s minions start to surge
We must keep up with the pressure and donations
And no matter what the magnitude of victory for us
What’s at stake, for real, is children’s educations.

I go all NPR on you after the jump:
[Read more…]