Donation Drive Changes, Launches Next Week


The 2012 Donation Drive Has Launched!


We are launching our tenth annual donation drive next week, and while we have some exciting ideas in store for this year’s month-long effort, there are also going to have to be some changes. For a while now we have suspected that we would need to make a change to the way we are running our annual donation drives, and this year we finally need to go and do it.

The biggest immediate change long-time visitors will notice is that the giveaway prize drawings are gone. The fact of the matter is that these drawings put us and our site in an uncomfortable position of tying donations to our effort with a gambling-like drawing. Not only is this essentially prohibited by every money service we have access to, but there were countless jurisdictions where we have readers that have laws against this kind of activity. As the level of participation in the site and the drives have increased over the year, the likelihood that our drive, as well intentioned as it may have been, was going to end up creating a problem finally ratcheted up to the point where we are making this choice.

What we hope, and what many have told us, is that the reason people were donating was because they genuinely wanted to support this site and this community; not because of the giveaways. And, I hope that’s true, because when it comes right down to it, we don’t really think the donation drive has anything to do with Shawn or myself. It is about you investing in your community.

So the choice not to have a prize giveaway also represented for us an opportunity to change the way we were handling the donation drive in some other ways. And, though the loss of prizes is kind of a bummer, I think you might like some things about our new plan as well.

I have to admit, we entertained (if only for a moment) the idea of just doing a Kickstarter. That idea did not last very long. While Kickstarter is a terrific platform for funding a specific project, I think that using it as a tool for creating an ongoing support structure would be the proverbial round peg in the fourth-dimensional hypercube hole. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t openly borrow some ideas from Kickstarter and do our own thing without venturing into some of the woodier hollows that made less sense.

First of all, for the first time in our decade-long history of running the drive, we will be keeping a user-visible running tally of donations along with some clear financial goals. We think the most fun thing about watching someone raise money for something they believe in is sharing that sense of progress with them. Even when we have efforts within the forums where someone is trying to raise a couple of hundred bucks, and you can see the effort of the community blow past that goal, it makes me feel good to be a part of that.

Additionally, while we will not be having raffles, we will still be setting goals and stretch goals, and associating some cool things we might do with those goals. Things like throwing parties, cool artwork or even a potential video series. That said, our focus again remains making the entire community part of whatever we do, so if we hit those goals as a group there won’t be gating or hidden files only for those who donated. We really want people to think as they are giving that they are making the site better for everyone, and as/if we hit those big goals, we also want that to be reflected in having benefits that span the entire community.

That said, we aren’t completely abandoning individual benefits either. A forum icon will still be awarded to anyone who contributes — the icon you get still depends on how many times you have donated to the site in the past. And for the extraordinary few, literally a handful of people, who will have donated for a tenth time to the site, we have a brand new 10-year icon, which is all the more special because we have decided this is the last one. Next year no new icon, so it feels fitting to us to have this final icon be something you can almost literally wear proudly for years to come.

Additionally, we have a few donation-level prizes that will offer individual benefits. They are pretty cool, we think, and so most of them are in limited quantities. If we see a high demand for them, we may offer some new, different individual benefits later in the drive. We’re playing it by ear.

I can’t say this isn’t a little unnerving for us. In a way, we are making a shift this year from saying “donate and maybe you’ll get some cool stuff,” to saying “donate to keep this thing running, because of that cool stuff.” This year’s prize is basically another year of GWJ for everyone, another year of the forum, of the podcasts, of the community and of articles.

We never built this site expecting to get rich from it, and we certainly haven’t been proven wrong in our expectation. Our big position is that the thing we can’t do is lose money on the effort. And every year to date we have gotten to where we needed to go from a funding standpoint and beyond, allowing us to continue to grow our writers, grow our content, grow the community and grow what we deliver. There are a lot of costs associated with the site: podcast hosting, server/bandwidth, travel and attendance at events, community functions, providing a cut to the host of people who support and provide content, equipment, and so on.

As we approach our official ten-year anniversary in early 2013, we are hoping we can count on you guys to continue supporting the site. Our base goal is not trivial — $15,000 — but you guys have come through time and time again. So, what do you say? How about another year?

Look for the drive to officially launch around September 4th!

Comments

Elysium wrote:

Now, a shaving my beard stretch goal may have merit. Or maybe a goal where I livestream drinking a 12 pack of Corona. Or maybe a stretch goal where I just drink a 12 pack of Corona. hmmmmm]

I'll uhhh ... I'll be right back. *runs to stretch goals list*

In, of course. For the record, I always wondered how much of a financial/other strain the prizes put on you guys, and don't really mind seeing them go.

The whole visible goals and progress thing sounds great, can't wait.

Certis wrote:
Elysium wrote:

Now, a shaving my beard stretch goal may have merit. Or maybe a goal where I livestream drinking a 12 pack of Corona. Or maybe a stretch goal where I just drink a 12 pack of Corona. hmmmmm]

I'll uhhh ... I'll be right back. *runs to stretch goals list his bunk*

FTFY.

Tanglebones wrote:
Certis wrote:
Elysium wrote:

Now, a shaving my beard stretch goal may have merit. Or maybe a goal where I livestream drinking a 12 pack of Corona. Or maybe a stretch goal where I just drink a 12 pack of Corona. hmmmmm]

I'll uhhh ... I'll be right back. *runs to stretch goals list his bunk*

FTFY.

IMAGE(http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s149/MilkmanDanimal/evony_fixed.jpg)

No prizes?
Forget it. The only reason I donated was the hopes that I would win. When I didn't win, I sent you email after email saying how much of a rip off it was and that I wanted my money back, but i'd better get to keep my icon.
R.I.P.!

I'm Joe King!

Hey, of course I'm in. I'd die without this site to help me and my dog make beautiful love at work. (i don't own a dog)

Where could I find a guild on a new game that broke 100 members before official release even happened?!

Where could I find a site that offered advice and with open arms helped people cope with some of the most personal issues and problems a person could have, ever?

Where could I find a site that was so level headed that nary a post contains a single flame, newb bashing or leet a$$?

Where could I find a site that offers to financially assist families in need? People they have never met. The trust on this site is so amazing.

Where could I find a site that has the most incredible people on it that offer to throw together a computer for a member, and a nephew of a member just because a comment was made on a thread?

This site stays! I love you guys!

I suck, I really need to donate. This year I'm definitely in. This place has made me laugh, made me cry, made me punch babies.

.... I think I've said too much

I am not sure, but I hope I am one of the ones eligible for the 10 year icon.

At least with prizes coming to end Legion will no longer be winning anything.

I think that community goals are about the best idea I've heard you guys have in forever. Maybe we line up a few features folks want on the site and you toss a few bones the way of the janitors to make those happen? Or upgrade some of the "services" that make the community run, like Ventrillo (if that's even necessary)? The video sounds interesting, looking forward to elaboration. Perhaps we make a video of a virtual GWJ PAX? Documenting the event for those who can't make it? Or the same for GenCon, or PAX East? I dunno... Looking forward to the creativity. And to the involvement of the community in ways other than monetary, ways that let the community shine and grow.

The best individual gift you can give to a GWJr is to let them participate. I thank my lucky stars you guys gave me a shot every day.

I missed the donation drive last year. I had just started listening to the podcast maybe a couple weeks before, and hearing all the the fabulous prizes being handed out seemed to add a bit of excitement to the prospect of donating. I was too new to the community then (I still feel pretty new now), but I figured if I stuck around I would definitely take a closer look at donating the next time around.

And now that we are finally here, the prizes are gone. Can't say I didn't expect it -- the idea of getting one one of those huge prizes always seemed like a far-fetched prospect. And this change definitively puts those prospects to rest, for better or for worse.

So in spite of this, am I still going to donate? I think so. I don't usually donate to things, but this site has been my safe-haven away from the normally childish and immature video games culture that has seemed to permeate every other community I've looked into. For that reason alone, I want to see this place stick around, and if donating helps those increase those chances, then by golly just tell me where to insert the cash.

I'm in. We like you...we really like you.

Carl

Do I get to caress Elysium again if we reach 50k?

Elysium wrote:

Now, a shaving my beard stretch goal may have merit. Or maybe a goal where I livestream drinking a 12 pack of Corona. Or maybe a stretch goal where I just drink a 12 pack of Corona. hmmmmm

"Told u I was hardcore." Don't do it, Elysium!

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

Do I get to caress Elysium again if we reach 50k?

No, but the front page banner will be replaced with him duplicating the Marilyn Monroe Playboy shoot.

Sparhawk wrote:

Sounds good to me.
I won't be getting the 10th year icon....
But how about my own custom icon?
I really want this one :
IMAGE(http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/6718/donatefirefly.jpg)

:shock:... me too!

So far, you guys have impress me enough I stuck around..

I came with no expectation, and so far, I'm surprise of what I found. Real people, real gamers, and a human touch to some of our passions.

Heck, if that could just support the Conference call, I'll be glad, you guys put a smile on my face on my way to work, and out of it. (Yeah, and I'll go rate it now)

So, when I must give again?

The important thing is that no matter what happens, it is now impossible for Legion to win anything. Sounds like a great compromise to me.

I'll pitch in an extra five bucks if it means LobsterMobster has to act like Darksiders jokes are still funny.

Prozac wrote:

I've always thought of my donation as a yearly subscription fee.

This. I don't spend a huge amount of time here, but I donate for the same reason I give Scubaboard $50 a year. I use their site maybe 3 weeks out of the year when I'm planning a diving trip, but the information I get during those 3 weeks is worth way more than the $50 they get from me. I want that resource to be there next time I need it.

This site has some of the best writing, and hands down the best forum community, of any gaming site on the internet. It's worth supporting with or without prizes. I want it to be here when I need it. I don't need free* stuff, I don't have time to play with the all the stuff I've already bought.

Plus I have plans to become one of the forum elite when I retire in 25 years and do nothing but play video games and drink scotch for the rest of my life.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:

Do I get to caress Elysium again if we reach 50k?

50k to watch KrazyTaco violate Elysium? We can do this.

trichy wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:

Do I get to caress Elysium again if we reach 50k?

No, but the front page banner will be replaced with him duplicating the Marilyn Monroe Playboy shoot.

And if we reach 75k, it goes away again.

I would LOVE to see Elysium and Demiurge do a Bratz: Extreme Makeover video game commercial.

Then Certis and Julian could do a special LARP of them hunting each other down in The Hunter: Most Dangerous Game edition.

Then we all crowd into the Minecraft server, erect a giant Wienerbomb made out of TNT, and blow it up while standing around it singing "I Wanna Friend You Up."

Just some ideas off the top of my head.

How much again? 15k? Yeah, I don't think that'll be a problem. College for the kids is just a waste of time anyway.

I said it before and I'll say it again:

IMAGE(http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/241/796/cac.png)

Also, if anyone is getting a tattoo, it's gotta be a ponycorn.

Happy to contrinue to contribute. It was never about the prizes (or to put it a more direct way, it's not like I ever won anything in the past!)

All these changes and still no tote bags. For shame.

I contribute because I appreciate the content (the cast, the articles, and the access to a great community). While I always loved the idea of “maybe I’ll win” I can certainly see why prizes as such have been retired. As well, while I’ve been here no where near 10 years (a measly 4 for me) I do wish you’d continue to create new custom icons for those who contribute after 10 years- it’s just a new small thing. I’m sure there are good reasons why you’re leaving this behind, if you do, but just putting my 2 cents in.

One thing I wish you’d consider would be a horrible idea, so of course I can only imagine you won’t. I do think it’d be interesting if there was a raffle-type entry where all who wanted or all who contributed and wanted to be considered could have an opportunity to win a spot on the conference call to discuss games with the group. There are obvious reasons why this is a horrible idea, and thus I do not expect it to come to fruition, but the possibility of having Joe Dude (or Dudette) having a chance to share their opinions with those more seasoned in the discussion could provide a unique opportunity for the show. Again, I know it’s a bad idea- but I’m throwing it because it’d only be a bad idea for a single show in an otherwise consistent showing of excellent content.

Also, thanks for including the community in this conversation regardless of how you continue to grow.

shoptroll wrote:
Now, a shaving my beard stretch goal may have merit. Or maybe a goal where I livestream drinking a 12 pack of Corona. Or maybe a stretch goal where I just drink a 12 pack of Corona. hmmmmm

What's in it for us?

How about a stretch goal to build that combat arena that was suggested months back?

Ah the Endless Pit of Human Misery Livestream

Kickstarter Project
Endless Pit of Human Misery Livestream
$5 - You get to watch Cory and Julian fight for Sean's love and approval, which he will never give!

$10 - Exclusive Sean-cam where he just shakes his head, over and over.

$20 - You get to suggest a way for Sean to show his disapproval of their performance. He will ignore it.

$50 - A boxed DVD version of the event, with a special gift! The gift is sadness.

$100 - Your very own vial of Cory's tears

Fredrik_S wrote:

How much again? 15k? Yeah, I don't think that'll be a problem. College for the kids is just a waste of time anyway.

I think you misunderstood. That's not EACH...

What would GWJ do with $10 mil I wonder.

First, I didn't know there was an icon hierarchy, so if you were going for subtile, you all succeeded.

Second, this is only the second web site I have ever donated to (after BGG), and I donated after only listening the conference call for a few weeks. Now I've had a whole year of the podcast, plus an excellent forum. So yeah, expect my donation.