Let's do online donations today

From: Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy(at)debian(dot)org>
To: board(at)spi-inc(dot)org, spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Let's do online donations today
Date: 2003-09-09 18:25:21
Message-ID: 20030909182521.GH1095@mail.kaplowitz.org
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Lists: spi-general

We've been talking about doing online donations for quite a while, and
discussed it several times on these mailing lists and in meetings, but
we haven't actually done anything. I suggest that the board make a
decision today to go with Network For Good, which I explain more about

First of all, their website:


They are an organization that specializes in accepting donations and
providing a few other useful resources on behalf of 501(c)3 nonprofits
such as SPI. They have several advantages over a merchant account, such
as being much easier to set up and not requiring us to run an 800 number
to deal with mischarges, etc. They will either send us a check or
deposit the money using electronic funds transfer into our account,
monthly in both cases. For the entire service, they only charge 3% of
the donations, and no monthly fee. (They also request the donor to pay
$3.00 toward their costs, but that's optional.)

It's important to note that they are a 501(c)3 charity themselves, and
are not a profit-making company like paypal and (presumably) e-gold are.
In addition to providing us the donor name (unless the donor chooses to
be anonymous), they allow the donor to indicate what they would like the
donation to be used for (e.g., Debian vs OFTC vs SPI). Reputable
charities like many ACLU Foundations, EFF, AmeriCorps, and Habitat For
Humanity already use them, so it seems like it is legitimate. All in
all, it seems quite tailored to our needs.

To sign up with them, one needs to follow the instructions at
http://www.networkforgood.org/npo/fundraising/donations/direction.html .
The first step is to register with Guidestar, which is an online
database of nonprofits (also run by a 501(c)3) in which we should
probably be listed anyway. (See http://www.guidestar.org for more info.)
Then we agree to their agreement, which I have reviewed in detail and
which seems to be nonobjectionable to my non-lawyer eye. Then, if we
want, we apply for electronic funds transfer so that we don't need to
mess with checks. Then we add a link to a website and are done.

Can some of you please take a look at this site and/or think about this
review and make a decision at today's meeting? I know this is being
posted last minute, but Network for Good has been mentioned by others
before, and we have discussed this issue many times already. Delaying
further won't help anything.

I will arrive around 30 or 40 minutes into the meeting, due to other

- Jimmy Kaplowitz


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