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[Comments] (2) The Online Donation of Constantine: Sumana asked me why, my stupid jokes on the subject notwithstanding, I don't have a little PayPal button on my pages so that people could send me money. It's true that I've considered this. NYCB, NewsBruiser and my various other writings and software cost me nothing but spare time (I've been bumming off of other peoples' hardware and bandwidth for 9 years, and why stop now?). It's not very monetizable, and I don't really need an extra $15 a month, which is the upper limit of what I'd probably get.

At the same time, I'm curious as to how much people are willing to send my way in this post-purchase economy, but that by itself is not a compelling reason to ask for donations. Thus, the brilliant solution: I set up a Paypal or Paypal-like accont, and expose donation buttons all over the place, except that all the money donated actually gets sent to some deserving charity.

How to do this? I can think of four solutions.

  1. The vim/"In lieu of flowers" method: I just say that if you feel the urge to give, you should do such-and-such. Advantages: I don't have to do anything much. Disadvantages: High activity threshhold for donation precludes rash impulse donations. I don't find out how much is actually being donated.
  2. The "money laundering" method. I funnel donations to my own Paypal account and every n months I cut a check for the balance. Disadvantages: I have to cut a check every n months. "The balance" likely to be emberassingly small. If I use Paypal for other purposes it gets all mushed up.
  3. The "cross-site scripting" method. I put up the little Paypal buttons except they don't go to my own Paypal account, they go to some charity's Paypal account. Advantages: Mwah-hah-hah sneaky. Easy to donate. Disadvantages: most charities don't have Paypal accounts. I don't find out how much is being donated.
  4. The "Unix pipes" method. I get an account on some Paypal-like site and specify that all incoming funds be funneled to various other accounts. Advantages: does exactly what I want. Disadvantages: does not exist.

Any others?


Posted by Kevan at Thu May 20 2004 05:19

Option #2 isn't too bad, mush-wise - you can set up multiple email addresses within your PayPal account, and filter your transaction history by the "charity" one to see how much you'd got. And an n-month transfer would be painless, if any of your favourite charities had PayPal accounts themselves.

Posted by Gary Benson at Thu May 20 2004 10:13



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