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

Tanglebones wrote:
Stele wrote:
Hobbes2099 wrote:
Isn't this the year the goodjer community got their very own castle?
How is that not the 10 year badge?

It very well could be. They haven't said what it is yet.

Elysium wrote:
FYI -- we are hearing the feedback on icons. You are a convincing and strong-minded people.

See?

Castle!
Castle!
Castle!
/continues chanting off screen...

Nikki Heat?

I really am ruggedly handsome!

Grumpicus wrote:

7 years - IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/sites/all/themes/gwj/images/ranks/companion-cube.gif)

Wait, what!? You mean that's not some kind of owl? And here I thought there was some inside joke I'd missed about Clash of the Titans, or something.

If I stare hard enough, I guess, maybe, I can kinda see a...nope: definitely an owl.

FeralMonkey wrote:
Grumpicus wrote:

7 years - IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/sites/all/themes/gwj/images/ranks/companion-cube.gif)

Wait, what!? You mean that's not some kind of owl? And here I thought there was some inside joke I'd missed about Clash of the Titans, or something.

If I stare hard enough, I guess, maybe, I can kinda see a...nope: definitely an owl.

Me too.
Companion Owl Cube .

Prestige mode is a good idea, but can we get donationstreak rewards too?

3 years of donations in a row: Demiurge gives you a private dance while playing Rock Band
5 years: Pyroman comes through your window one night and starts talking about the latest indie game he can't stop playing
7 years: Wordsmythe edits your wedding vows
9 years: A mysterious invitation arrives in your mailbox inviting you to some suspicious sounding activity in the woods involving a rabbit and pinball.
10 years: The Sehawns throw you a S&T surprise party, that ends up being more T than S.

Chairman_Mao wrote:
Prestige mode is a good idea, but can we get donationstreak rewards too?

3 years of donations in a row: Demiurge gives you a private dance while playing Rock Band
5 years: Pyroman comes through your window one night and starts talking about the latest indie game he can't stop playing
7 years: Wordsmythe edits your wedding vows
9 years: A mysterious invitation arrives in your mailbox inviting you to some suspicious sounding activity in the woods involving a rabbit and pinball.
10 years: The Sehawns throw you a S&T surprise party, that ends up being more T than S.

So much fodder for erotic fan fics in this...

It's damn hard to hit perfect on that Bon Jovi solo while Banks is doing his patented "Indie Hipster Hip Swivel" all over my bathing suit area.

I feel myself moved by the Community Spirit. I may even start speaking in tongues... Fargos frapulism!

Robear wrote:
I feel myself moved by the Community Spirit. I may even start speaking in tongues... Fargos frapulism! :-)

Shalalm Baskur!

Wow, ten years, that's incredible. I still can't believe I'm still hanging out here after so long, and I've only got a company car!

I don't even give money to NPR (shame on me), but I love the idea of helping keep this site going, even if my donations are trimmed to fit my budget. I hope I'm at least subsidizing the bandwidth I use.

I need to find the space in my budget to contribute this year. I get far more from this forum than from most of the games I spend money on, so it seems fair.

I have no objection to the lack of prizes, they were a nice thing to hope for, but not why I've contributed.

I do think that the icon is pretty important though, so I humbly request that the stance on not adding more after number 10 is reconsidered.

I think most are misreading it. There are prices! They are just keeping those themselves. Right?!

Spoiler:
Genius! I must admit

I was wondering how you guys got away with the raffle last year even...

I like the idea of premiums for donations, similar to the public television model. Maybe GWJ coffee mugs at the $50 level, T-shirts at $75, etc. I thought we had a store for GWJ swag (http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/49444) but it looks like it didn't sustain itself, as the links are broken.

Definitely in. I've always thought of my donation in past years as a way to say "thank you" for the amazing content and wonderful community that GWJ has always had, and as my personal request to keep it coming.

Though I'm not around the site as much as I used to be (*shakes fist in anger at Grad School*), I still religiously listen to the Conference Call every week and have enjoyed playing Fantasy Football and Ascension with everyone. Heck, the forum even got me through my first computer build after I made it unnecessarily difficult for myself. The forum has also helped me stop my pile from growing so quickly, no small feat (though I'm horrible at updating everyone on my progress, or lack thereof).

Looking forward to donating, another game of Civ if they ever include PitBoss for Civ V, and hopefully some Borderlands 2 later this month when time allows.

indy wrote:
I was wondering how you guys got away with the raffle last year even...

I like the idea of premiums for donations, similar to the public television model. Maybe GWJ coffee mugs at the $50 level, T-shirts at $75, etc. I thought we had a store for GWJ swag (http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/49444) but it looks like it didn't sustain itself, as the links are broken.

The store got shut down quite a while back.

There are a lot of rules about the ways that an organization can take money from people, especially if that organization wants to call itself a nonprofit or not-for-profit. (I write here from some experience, but I'm not a lawyer.) You'll notice that groups like NPR frame their language very carefully such that donors are granted "membership," and that members receive gifts. Contests of chance and quid-pro-quo setups generally don't sit well with the IRS. Mostly, this is because governments are afraid that the various not-for-profit designations will be misused by people to avoid taxes or take advantage of perspective donors.

That said ...

Chairman_Mao wrote:

7 years: Wordsmythe edits your wedding vows

I'd be honored to work with any goodjer who is working on something that lasting and meaningful—no donation required or requested. My love of language is really about how deeply and resonantly meaningful words can be.

How much do I have to donate to be able to edit people's posts?

Golden Finger -> Butt!

Quintin_Stone wrote:
How much do I have to donate to be able to edit people's posts?

Those with such power did not obtain it via monetary donation.

wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
How much do I have to donate to be able to edit people's posts?

Those with such power did not obtain it via monetary donation.

So... this then?

Bonus_Eruptus wrote:
Golden Finger -> Butt!

wordsmythe wrote:
...take advantage of prospective donors.

FTFY

I will be donating! First year for me, I guess technically I've been registered for a few years, but didn't really start posting much til Diablo 3 came out. I really enjoy this community as well, and I'm finally in a place in my life where I feel secure enough to support the things I care about.

Dakuna wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
...take advantage of prospective donors.

FTFY

Yes, that thing.

wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
How much do I have to donate to be able to edit people's posts?

Those with such power did not obtain it via monetary donation.


That's not an answer!

Quintin_Stone wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
How much do I have to donate to be able to edit people's posts?

Those with such power did not obtain it via monetary donation.


That's not an answer!

It's the answer you deserve, not the answer you need.

Tanglebones wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:
How much do I have to donate to be able to edit people's posts?

Those with such power did not obtain it via monetary donation.


That's not an answer!

It's the answer you deserve, not the answer you need.

I question the notion that Q deserves anything but punishment and disdain.

wordsmythe wrote:
I question the notion that Q deserves anything but punishment and disdain.

Oh baby, if you want to break out the whips and chains, I'm all for it.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
I question the notion that Q deserves anything but punishment and disdain.

Oh baby, if you want to break out the whips and chains, I'm all for it.

I thought that was the 50k goal.

So excited to hear about the "lets play" type videos!