Reflections regarding my charity initiative

Today it’s one month since the launch of my charity initiative. The turnout hasn’t really been what I hoped for, and here are my thoughts.

I somewhat feared that it would happen just as it has; people agree that it’s a good thing, and they support it. But at the end of day, almost no-one contributes. In one month, there has been only six contributions (out of which, two are very close friends to me):

I’m not sure why it is so. Maybe it’s too much of an effort to contribute (going through the steps, or basically just doing it), because I don’t think it’s about the actual money for most people. And when I had my old theme here yesterday, with ads, for just one day, I realized that having ads in the page would be a lot more lucrative.

My plan

My idea is to see what happens after this post and in the days leading up to Friday. If no significant change occurs, I will bring back ads again and instead give all the profits of the ad income to charity myself. I will additionally also keep the charity links for those who want to contribute directly.

Please don’t consider this as a threat, but rather that I really want to help out, and I desperately seek the best way to do it.

Thoughts?

Posted in General |

10 Comments

  • Yes, it's too much effort. I am here to read whatever you write and that is my only goal. Actually making a donation to one of your charities is a moral choice I do not want to make, because it implicitely excludes other charities. It's hypocritical, I know, but that's how my mind works…

    However, when you donate your revenue to the charities, it is you who makes the decision for me. I am supporting your cause, not theirs. As such, I assume you have enough knowledge about the charities to make an informed decision. And all of that while I am persueing my original goal :-)

  • I haven't donated anything via your site although, to be fair, I never clicked any adverts either :) but, my opinion is that the donations aren't working because they don't offer anything to your audience – with the exception of a post-donation warm fuzzy feeling. On the other hand, an advert is designed to entice people to click it.

    I think your idea to donate your ad-revenue to charity would be far more successful and beneficial for all concerned.

  • Pat says:

    I didn't donate either Robert, as you well know, because I donate enough already as it is from my own Country. When does one draw the line. Send my regular cheques, or donate via Robert too.. hence I'm not doing it twice. Worse, if all our favorite writers asked I could find myself broke if I gave in each time :)

    Your blog has alot of power I'm sure with all your readers, but it probably takes too much time to do it, or they don't like giving out their personal credit info via the net, or they are already donaters, or UK was too specific, or they don't care because we're taxed enough and can barely make it these days, or they feel charities just never stop asking and it gets monotonist after you've given, given, and given, or they think like my husband "Where the hell does all that money go anyway! It's crap!" LOL – yet I still give, even with his evil eyes peering over my shoulder as I sign the cheque. But you know what, out of the charities that I donate to, nothing feels as good as giving money regularly (when I see him) to the guy who has a shopping cart, only one arm, and his faithful dog beside him. Poor old man.

    Whatever the reasons, I'm glad you're taking my advice with the ad driven donations. It's easier for your readers, and it will satisfy you as well. I know I'll try to click more, but I sure hope you show your efforts as well, so we can see you're donating, that will be priceless; and hopefully encourage more people to click as well.

    Good Luck with that, and good on you for sticking with it in some form or the other.

  • matthijs says:

    One thing I don't like is that 5% of the donations go to justgiving. It's not much, but I don't know what's done with that money. Is the owner of justgiving laying on a beach in the Bermuda's now, thanks to all donations? I know, nothing is free in this world, but still.

  • I don't donate (money) online although I am involved with various charity organisations.

  • Goulven says:

    I agree with the previous comments. I knowingly click on well-targeted ads on some occasions, because of their technical interest (software related to my trade, or whatever reason).

    Donating is a way out, whereas your content page are primarily designed as ways in, as far as great content is concerned. I'd compare this to stores making environmental claims: I feel positively inclined when in a store that advertises about its moves, but that's no reason to rewrite my shopping list.

    People primarily come to your site to learn something, not shop or donate.

    If I were you, I'd set the charity divs apart from the content, and return to targeted ads (if targeted or lucrative enough or both) in the usual places.

  • Andreas says:

    For the same reason people dont go to the milkstore to buy a new tv people dont come here because they are interested in charity (they might be but they have other sites for that). no we come here because we are interested in your work and your articles about web development. Also keep in mind most of the "visitors" are via rss readers and will never see the "ads".

  • I agree with your idea of having other adverts as well and using your income as a donation to them. This was raised when you first posted and implimented and I think it will probably be the bigger earnings and best idea.

    The charities would probably get more as well :p

  • Ced-le-pingouin says:

    I must admit I've read the post where you explained the charity thing, but… it is as if I'd already forgotten about it.

    I know this sounds sad, but as others have said, I'm coming on your site through RSS, and when the page appears, my eyes focus on one thing: the main post. So I'm not kidding when I say I don't see the charity signs anymore under the post.

    I guess it may come from the fact that I developed a kind of super-power, the ad-avoider: on the internet (mainly) but also on tv (where I can say I "spit" on ads, they're so dumb and low-class), I don't see ads anymore. I mean, even when it is in front of my eyes, I often don't see them (yes it is possible, with training ;) ). It is such a nuisance. So I only see the parts that I'm interested in. I *know* these are not ads, but my habit is stronger, so I simply don't see them, really.

    Sad how you have to adapt to your environment if you (well, your brain, at least) want to survive ;)…

    Having said that, now that you reminded us that you put these on the site, I don't mind donating, because I trust you, so I assume you gathered a minimum amount of information before doing it, and you yourself trust the way it is done.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thank you for your comments! First and foremost, naturally I want you to read and like what I write, and I love you for coming here. And that's the reason I wanted to express my feelings with you and discuss it; I could've just made the change, and not cared about your opinions.

    The idea was that people would appreciate a web site with no ads whatsoever (as opposed to a majority of the other web sites out there), and therefore, contribute as a thanks.

    However, the overall feeling is that ads will work better, so they will back, effective immediately. As soon as they're back, please click them and help me contribute!

    Jeroen,

    Leave that choice to me, then, and I'll see what I can do. :-)

    Phil,

    I hear what you're saying, and it is a good point.

    Pat,

    Yes, most likely there are tons if different reasons behind why people don't donate (and, like you, some people actually do donate through other channels).

    When I removed the ads, one of my other options was to give the money from the ad income to charities myself, but I had hoped giving people the choice themselves would work out better. Needless to say, I was wrong.

    Most likely, I will present my ad incomes in some way, showing how it pays off.

    matthijs,

    When you donate to a charity directly, or generally just buy something online, the credit card fee usually ranges between 2 – 4%, so to me at least that leaves about 1% for Justgiving, which to me sounds reasonable to cover the costs.

    Robert Wellock,

    That's just fine!

    Andreas,

    Well, my, apparently naive, hope was that people would donate a small sum out of gratitude for an ad-free web site, free content and code. People naturally don't have to, but at least that some would.

    Also, most visitors aren't actually RSS readers. The visitors to the actual page is a bit more that the number of RSS subscribers (but yes, people who read the RSS feed tend to just visit the web site when they want to comment on something).

    Jermayn,

    Yes, I hope it will work out well.

    Ced-le-pingouin,

    I can relate to that. A lot of computer-savy users get very good at skimming past ads.

    <blockquote cite="">

    Having said that, now that you reminded us that you put these on the site, I don’t mind donating, because I trust you, so I assume you gathered a minimum amount of information before doing it, and you yourself trust the way it is done.

    Thank you! The ads will be back, though, so I'll leave the option to you whether to click the ads or contribute directly.

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