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please help me polish the new "donate" page

 
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After about a dozen requests in the last month (maybe because there was a donate day shortly after black friday?), I created this.  I think it is pretty simple.  

Have I forgotten anything?  

https://permies.com/t/131224/donating-empire
 
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My thoughts being a newcomer to permies

How much is pie? It would to me make sense to even have a scale I.e pie can cost as little as £1 ot if your feeling really green fingered you can buy a year's sub for £5.79

Wolfati OMG so cool, something else to read


SKIP? Not sure what this is


I hope this helps, and sorry if my mannerisms come across badly, still learning

Best

Toby
 
paul wheaton
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I think if you follow the links, you should get all the answers you seek.  
 
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Welcome Toby. There are so many cool things here.

Here's a link to info about PIE.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I think if you follow the links, you should get all the answers you seek.  



I will retire for the night now and read with more care (and less homemade baileys) tomorrow :)

I think what you are doing is a great thing, and in time I  hooing I can find a part in it all! Society is becoming scarier by the day... and I'm lucky enough to have just had a fresh start handed too me as soon as I'm recovered:)

Till tomorrow!
 
Toby Winston
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Mike Barkley wrote:Welcome Toby. There are so many cool things here.

Here's a link to info about PIE.



Perfect! Thank you!

That's what I was thinking, just a snapshot of that where pie is referenced?

Just a thought :)
 
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Project page is nice. It has good info and explains interesting stuff and invites people to consider and involve themselves in a good friendly ambiance.


> anything forgotten...

? Don't know - maybe you've already considered it.  But:

When I think of donating to anything in the course of surfing I often don't give a damn about details. For some reason I connected and made a decisions and now I just want to DO IT. I (right then, "off the cuff", instantly, in the moment, sorta speak) look front/center for a clearly visible/available colorful button tastefully labeled "Donate". Presumably that would open your PayPal page.

I suggest the top of _every_ Permies screen. At the same vertical level as the text under the Permies logo, but all they way to the right side of the page? Or if one wishes to be demure and tactful about it, at the bottom of every page. Maybe the same size/shape (_not_ the same style font or color) as all your other buttons, or maybe a little different? COLOR IT!!!  Color it _something_, anything, that "pops" a little. IOW, not the tan/brown of all other buttons and page elements. Make the text "Donate" also pop. Eg. bright red text on bright yellow button; bright blue text on bright yellow; bright green text on bossy orange..... Something tasteful (the previous were slightly exaggerated for affect - but not all that much) that can be found instantly but doesn't look gross. Maybe reduce button size very slightly to allow popping colors to remain tasteful? Whatever.

With any resources and patience left, maybe color your donate page a little if PayPal allows that. Right now it's like going to the kitchen at midnight all comfy and warm, opening the fridge and getting blinded by bright white lighting. Oh well, some things are worth it.

IMHO, your site deserves a "Donate" button. It doesn't matter if you take in $50 or $50,000, people kind of expect it and a few will feel like using it sometimes. They'd feel lost and maybe embarrassed poking around trying to find just how the )(*&&* to do a simple virtuous act. A cheery "Donate" option right under their noses will make their day. <G>


Cheers,
Rufus
 
paul wheaton
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I am thinking that of putting a link to this new page at the bottom of every page.
 
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In terms of accessibility & visibility, you could add a post into the digital market as well - whether for a standard amount or variable.

People already go there looking to spend money, so it might be someone's inclination to go here if they're looking for an avenue to donate to you.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Paul

> thinking... bottom of every page...

For sure, nothing but good, there. And make it stand out a bit. <g>

Allow me to push a little, please, Ye Good Landlord! <g>  I know gears spin w/in gears all your days, and you almost certainly have mulled this back and forth. But it seems almost too bashful,  to not provide an obvious direct link to contribute. My personal feeling is like this: Permies is without question a high value place. It deserves a simple, available, direct option to jump to the chase and donate, which appears clearly and easily locatable by Joe-Dopey-Visitor (I know that guy real personally...) wherever one finds themself on the site. "Coy" or "bashful" or "unassuming" do not seem to be words suited to Permies. One good place for such a link would be at the _top_ of your "Donating to the Empire" page (I  don't give up easy. <g>) captioned something like: "For those who already know they want support us[or some other ref to Permies] with a simple donation, click here".  Or like words.

But all that said, I meant it about your time mulling and your view s/b way more informed than mine (besides, by definition, being "right"). That is understood. I have pushed a POV that seems clear to me because I find Permies truly respectable and am  sorta following the "See Something Say Something" precept. (Which isn't all that bad an idea.) But here I rest and thank for the chance to bend your ear.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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I've got a couple of ideas:
One, In many podcasts and threads, Paul has voiced his hopes for a "thing" to happen/exist if only the funds could be raised, a well on the lab being mentioned repeatedly... and the list of "projects" (linked to above). The "mission" (also linked to above) is served by these projects either being complete (like a well making the place more livable), or being active pursuits (making progress; and drawing in more folks to help, or to attend events like PDC/ATC/PEP).

With Kickstarter funding, there's a definite purpose/reward relationship to the backing. I pledge to help this thing exist, and get a reward (the thing, and maybe some goodies).

What if I could donate to further a specific project? say rocket mass heaters, or freezer wofati research, from a thread(s) about the topic. I'm interested, and I'm right there...Maybe it's direct donation, or maybe earmarking a PIE purchase towards the well.
Sort of like the Biological Reverse Kickstarter, but this would go towards supplies, professional services... and be a bit like "the stick" to go along with "the carrot" that is the BRK.
Maybe you choose one or a few projects to focus on, or maybe you open it to many projects and it acts a bit like a poll of what folks care enough about to back with some money.


Two, NPR does a "sustaining membership" where a monthly charge is made, rather than a lump sum, and presumably budgeting is easier for the station and the donor.
What about an "all PIE, all the time" membership, where one could always have PIE? There could be different levels:

One level "A slice for me, another slice for me...", where you are "subscribed" and always have PIE. (you'd get charged an equivalent of the 12 slices price, spread over the year)

Another level "A slice for me; one, two, three slices for you..." level, where you are "subscribed" and (kind of like the settings in Patreon, you agree to pay for more PIE if you would like to give away PIE to folks... you could maybe budget limits, as in Patreon?) or maybe you are getting 2 or 3 slices a month, instead of just one?

Could Patreon be the platform for implementing these sorts of subscription type purchase/donations?
 
paul wheaton
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:What if I could donate to further a specific project? say rocket mass heaters, or freezer wofati research, from a thread(s) about the topic. I'm interested, and I'm right there...Maybe it's direct donation, or maybe earmarking a PIE purchase towards the well.
Sort of like the Biological Reverse Kickstarter, but this would go towards supplies, professional services... and be a bit like "the stick" to go along with "the carrot" that is the BRK.
Maybe you choose one or a few projects to focus on, or maybe you open it to many projects and it acts a bit like a poll of what folks care enough about to back with some money.



So let's say we set up two BRKs:

  - a BRK for the well

  - a BRK for a freezer wofati

So ...   please help me to understand what you have in mind.

 
paul wheaton
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:Two, NPR does a "sustaining membership" where a monthly charge is made, rather than a lump sum, and presumably budgeting is easier for the station and the donor.
What about an "all PIE, all the time" membership, where one could always have PIE? There could be different levels:

One level "A slice for me, another slice for me...", where you are "subscribed" and always have PIE. (you'd get charged an equivalent of the 12 slices price, spread over the year)

Another level "A slice for me; one, two, three slices for you..." level, where you are "subscribed" and (kind of like the settings in Patreon, you agree to pay for more PIE if you would like to give away PIE to folks... you could maybe budget limits, as in Patreon?) or maybe you are getting 2 or 3 slices a month, instead of just one?

Could Patreon be the platform for implementing these sorts of subscription type purchase/donations?



I think that when you buy PIE there is an option for a subscription.   Maybe it needs a bit of polish?
 
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PIE, it looks to me like: I buy ‘n’ slices and get ‘n’ months, and can buy in bulk, but not a “renewable” or “sustaining subscription”.

Not BRK. More like an escrow to hold donations for a purpose. The well guy isn’t going to take a felted hat, five books, a skillet, etc... as payment. He wants $6000.00.

 
paul wheaton
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So maybe there is an escrow service that handles something like this.   40 different people put their coin in, so you know it is really there.  And then when the time comes say "okay we are ready for all that coin" and it is released.  

??
 
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paul wheaton wrote:So maybe there is an escrow service that handles something like this.   40 different people put their coin in, so you know it is really there.  And then when the time comes say "okay we are ready for all that coin" and it is released.  

??



An idea. Instead of an escrow service, and when I think service I think fees, put donated money into a certificate of deposit so it's out of reach for x amount of time and it can't lose value and only earns money, not much, but 1% is better than paying fees. For example, donations now go into a 12 months CD, and while it matures new donations accrue. When the CD matures, those funds get combined with new donations from the prior 12 months, and get put into a new CD. Rinse and repeat until, for example, there is enough money for a big purchase like the well. The money is locked in a CD, so it can't be spontaneously used for an emergency purchase.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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So, I guess it is sort of like the BRK, in that there's strings attached... A donor specifies that they'd like to chip in towards the "__X__" project. It comes time for "X project" and the donations are tapped, Paul makes up the difference, and it can be paid for. The well, for instance, might get $1500 in donations, and so Paul needs $4500 to cover the $6000 cost, and it might get done sooner.

I like the idea of the CD in principle (banking pun?) but if there's interest in accountability (oh yeah, banking puns!) you'd have to find some third party service. But to what end? would the donors be refunded if the project doesn't happen? Would Paul have to prove he bought a well?  Insisting on accountability seems too fraught, like giving the homeless guy food, instead of dollars that he might buy booze with, so instead you just saved him money on food so now he's got his own money to spend on booze... I guess we'd trust Paul to at least keep a ledger of monies donated for "X project", if not a savings account or CD. (maybe we're supposed to hand the money to Jocelyn?) Maybe there's one of those "donation thermometers" on the "donate here" link? so we can all see the level.

If I made a donation "to the empire" I would consider it as good as spent on whatever Paul needs to spend it on, and that would be fine. If I buy PIE, maybe sever bills? maybe gas money? who knows?
But I'm seeing a community aspect here, where there are folks who are bonkers about the rocket mass heaters, or natural building, or other things that the trails are still being blazed, and rather than 50 or 100 or 1000 of us treading the same ground, with possibly mediocre or half-finished results, maybe we all pitch in a little and get farther down the path together, sooner.
 
paul wheaton
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So maybe a BK?  I can create a thread and say "If this ever gets enough pledges I'll move forward with this" and then I can say something like "I need $50,000 to get a well at the lab."  And then if there are $20,000 in pledges and I come up with $30,000 I can say "today's the day!  We're going for it!  Send the monies!"

Something like that?

 
Kenneth Elwell
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paul wheaton wrote:So maybe a BK?  I can create a thread and say "If this ever gets enough pledges I'll move forward with this" and then I can say something like "I need $50,000 to get a well at the lab."  And then if there are $20,000 in pledges and I come up with $30,000 I can say "today's the day!  We're going for it!  Send the monies!"

Something like that?



Well that just sounds like a home-brew Kickstarter campaign, on an open ended schedule... with a lot of possibility for folks to flake out, including you.

SO, I think a project to donate to has to be a thing you are already committed to doing. Not something you're getting egged on to do, and not "donors" holding puppet strings.

I'm thinking some folks might like to see more of "something" happening at the lab in particular, or with a project/exploration in general. They could donate NOW, because they have that money NOW and wish to do that, and somehow you keep track of that money along with the intent of the donor... (maybe it's a ledger, maybe a savings account, a jar, whatever.)  It could be that come time for the RMH Innovators Event, you count the change in the jar and see what cool materials you could buy. Same with the well. It would be folks putting faith in you to follow through, rather than you hoping they would pay up come collection day.
The well is an extreme case, of a huge cash outlay and it's done, but action is fully waiting on the cash. A freezer wofati has some costs I'm sure, but also (mainly) time and labor to design and build it, and those both add up to doing it ...later, since you are simultaneously saving/budgeting/scheduling to do all the things!

Here's the RMH example:
Maybe someone doesn't have a spare $500 to experiment with a RMH by themselves right now (or a site, time, skills...), but they could pitch in $20 so that you could host an awesome RMH Innovators Event at the lab with a good stock of fine supplies so some epic shit could be made, advancing the technology. Maybe you come up with an awesome $300 version as a result, now they're $200 ($180) closer to their own RMH, now there's plans, and a video.
So they're on Permies and reading up on RMHs and see... "oh, what's this link? donate to more awesome RMH tech? *click!*" or "buy PIE from this link, and make the Innovators Event in June MORE AWESOME!!"
Both ways they are expressly supporting RMHs, and rather than monies going to the general fund, you set those aside for the purpose. (which you then follow through on...)

Maybe it could be a bit like Kickstarter or Patreon, where the donors are given early access to/discount on the fruits of RMH Innovators Event (videos, live Q&A, book, plans...).
 
paul wheaton
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I confess that the whole donate thing confuses me.   I see people say "donate to my stuff" and they get $200,000.  I am baffled at what happened there.   My first kickstarter asked for $800 to get equipment to make a youtube video that would be free to the world.   It got $1100.   My second kickstarter said "gimmie $100 and I'll give you four dvds - you can only see it if you give me money" and I got $92,000.  

I guess I understand the money-for-thing recipe.   I struggle to understand the money-for-me-and-you-get-no-thing recipe.   People clearly do it and have great success.   I just cannot wrap my head around how.  

If a billionaire guy gives me five million and says "go do what you do to save us all" I know exactly what to do.  

If somebody gives me five bucks, I'm not quite sure what to do.  I feel weird.

 
James Freyr
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:... and rather than monies going to the general fund, you set those aside for the purpose. (which you then follow through on...)



paul wheaton wrote: If somebody gives me five bucks, I'm not quite sure what to do.  I feel weird.



I'd like to offer myself as an example of the psychology behind donating and I'm sure there are thousands of different reasons why people donate.

So for me, I don't particularly care for the idea of a general fund in this particular case and will not donate to one. I'm not going to pay for pauls groceries or to keep his lights on. I won't support Pauls livelihood. I think he's super smart and has found ways to earn money. An example for a general fund that I do donate to is Alive Hospice. I don't know precisely how my money is being used, and I'm ok with that. It's a non-profit organization that does good things, and those nurses earn a wage.

If there is a way me to donate, say $10 for example, that would go directly to paying for Permies.com internet hosting server stuff and nothing else, I'm more than happy to chip in. In this case, I do get something, and I've been getting something for free for years, and I'd like to give back. I am very fond of these forums, enjoy communicating with the people here, and have learned a lot. Basically, as long as there is some guarantee of some kind that my funds would only go towards something specific and not be misappropriated and used for say, pauls favorite ice cream, I would donate.

The way my mind works, I am reluctant to donate to a general "money for paul to spend however he chooses" fund.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Five bucks:
My point is, none of us can do anything BIG with the five bucks. It isn't enough on it's own. I can wish and hope for a RMH of my very own, but at $500 (for round numbers sake) I have to save $5 per week for two years.
If I give you the five bucks, and one hundred others do the same, you have $500, now.

And here's the thing:
You already have a plan what to do with it. (you just said so. I guarantee that $5M windfall is going to get spent on a lot of $500 stuff)

2768 backers for BWB. MANY of them for more than $5.
$5 x 2700 = $13,500
Let's say that is 27 iterations of a $500 RMH. That sounds like some Research and Design!

If you share the results of that research, it's not "money-for-me-and-you-get-no-thing", we all benefit. Not having to suffer through the same mistakes, sharing the advancements... Plans, videos, maybe products...

The "buy me a well" thing is more difficult, I agree. You get a well, we get nothing.
But do we? There are other things that well enables that maybe are a benefit to us all?
More activity on the Lab?
Never hearing about "if I ever have a loose $50,000 we can finally get a well on the Lab" in a podcast ever again? (half-joking)
 
paul wheaton
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If you share the results of that research, it's not "money-for-me-and-you-get-no-thing", we all benefit. Not having to suffer through the same mistakes, sharing the advancements... Plans, videos, maybe products...



That's my general recipe.  I can wrap my head around this.  


The "buy me a well" thing is more difficult, I agree. You get a well, we get nothing.
But do we? There are other things that well enables that maybe are a benefit to us all?
More activity on the Lab?
Never hearing about "if I ever have a loose $50,000 we can finally get a well on the Lab" in a podcast ever again? (half-joking)



So the wording might be "accelerate all the projects at wheaton labs."  And maybe the thing to do is multifaceted:  try to raise some funds through donations, and try to get the rest through loans. :)

   
 
paul wheaton
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I hope that someday the PIE program brings in more money than the server bill.  

In fact, it would be cool if PIE+advertising brings in more than the server bill.  

And to be more accurate, that's the bandwidth and rackspace bill.   There will be a time when about $5000 will need to be dropped on a new server.

 
Rufus Laggren
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> earmarking...

I think that can be difficult for a small organization still morphing into stable self sustaining mode. When comes something that _has_ to get paid, well, you pay it and if prior statements make it hard to use some available monies, then you get lots of soul searching and waffling around and generally rock/hard-place choices that can cause issues down the road. Operating expenses _must_ be met and then infrastructure maintenance. To have a medium sized escrow fund sitting inviolate which has to be sent back to donors because the outfit closed the doors due to the server failing and not being able to use that money just - that just doesn't look like a good way to do things. Everybody can lose big there.

So earmarking doesn't look real good, this time/place. Perhaps some general categories of donation types might make sense, but... kinda the same problem.

Looking at the NPR practice, donations are accepted during show time and the show airing at the time of the donation gets an implied vote by that donor. BUT, the station does _not_ specify or promise how that money will get spent. It simply cannot afford to do so. Perhaps providing for 3 votes which could be "spent" on one or more projects listed just below the "Donate" button would allow some donor input in the same way. And also provide clues to what interests the teeming masses.


Regards,
Rufus
 
paul wheaton
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Here is the tippy top reason why I struggle with any asking for a donation:  all this talk about donations got me thinking that if anybody wants to donate, the thing I want most of all is support for the boot BRK.  So, yesterday, I emailed 77,295 people.   More than 7600 people have opened that email so far.   Two people added to the BRK for a total of $40.  

It's a bit like I am in high school and looking for a prom date.  70,000 girls avoided eye contact and 7000 clearly said "no".  That's a lot of rejection.   So if I had asked 10 girls to the prom, then 9 would avoid me and one would say no.  

The BRK is, I think, the most important thing.  By far.  And ...  during that same time period, about 20 people bought permaculture playing cards on amazon.  

So the whole "donate" thing ...   is really weird for me.   It it magnificently lovely when big gifts come in and I don't ask!  When I ask and then funds come in, I feel weird.   But I don't feel weird asking for the BRK because that money does not touch my fingers.


 
Kenneth Elwell
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Paul, you are comparing your personal likeability with: support for the BRK, and whether there's backing for what you are doing at the lab, and sales of a low-priced "stocking-stuffer" product just 10 days from Christmas.

My dad said when they did a mass marketing mailing from the mortgage finance company he worked at years ago, that a typical response rate was 1/10th of a percent. 1 in 1000. I'm not sure how qualified the mailing list was but I'd bet it wasn't random names.

I'll try to address James' point a bit better... There are folks who would like to contribute, as James states, to keeping Permies.com alive so that it continues to enrich their lives, there will be others who think the BRK is a fine way to see progress occur at the lab and encourage the boots, others still who have backed your Kickstarter projects.
Everyone is making their own calculations on the value they are getting. It seems that, mostly, folks are happy with or conditioned to an exchange of their money for a product or a service. You aren't running a non-profit, so there's a stigma against "giving" monies free and clear (a gift); and you feel weird, because it's not a check from your Aunt.

There's a great TED talk about how we view charities by Dan Pallotta, transcript here: TED: A new way to judge non-profits
I think part 4 and part 5 have some insights.

Charity events, Kickstarter, and Patreon all seem to take advantage of a collective effort either within, or by creating, a community. A big difference is a physical reward, and yet there are $1 Kickstarter backers...
gift
 
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