Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Clicking for Charity

Maybe I just missed the start of this trend, but it seems like a lot of charitable funding decisions are being turned over to online voting. That leads to get-out-the-vote campaigns by champions of those charities.

What better way to drum up online support than through Twitter? After the jump, three tweets with a Richardson connection that caught my attention recently.

Many, many thanks to all who voted! The Cancer Center has earned 2 @LIVESTRONG grants for cancer support programs

Honored to be named One Man Dallas finalist & thrilled to promote @methodistrich Cancer Center! Vote for us.

The Starbucks Foundation is giving $4 million. Our votes decide where it goes! Vote Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

It's too late to participate in the LIVESTRONG grant voting. I don't know how that voting system was run. But thanks in part to online support from the community, the Methodist Richardson Cancer Center was awarded two LIVESTRONG grants. Congratulations.

The "One Man Dallas" voting system is still running. They ask for your email address before allowing you to vote, like the email harvesting scheme I disparaged in the original Richardson Coalition PAC's "Real Heroes" award voting system. But unlike the "Real Heroes" award, which is sponsored by a political action committee, the "One Man Dallas" award appears to be a purely charitable effort. You can probably trust that your email address won't be used for politicking, although I couldn't find any privacy information posted on their website that confirms that. (To their credit, for this year's award, the Richardson Coalition PAC dropped the requirement for voters to give the PAC their email addresses.)

The Starbucks Foundation voting system appears to be a commercial scheme. It plays on your altruism to get you to sign up for a Starbucks card ("Don't have a Starbucks Card? Don't worry! Send an eGift to yourself, register it and start voting all within a few minutes.") I wonder how much new business Starbucks hopes to generate for its $4 million in donations?

Personally, I would prefer to see the grants decided by a better cost-benefit analysis than the system used to choose the next American Idol, but, whatever. Online voting does generate public awareness, and that's good. If you believe in the cause, follow the links, supply your email address, buy some lattes, and click your heart out. It's (mostly) for a good cause.


Sassy Texan said...

Maybe a reality check would do some good. Here is a video you might find of interest.

Mark Steger said...

The original post was about local charities. Thanks, Cheri, for putting that in the larger context of the national debt. For a video that puts the national debt itself in a larger context, look here.