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Last post Author Topic: Donating to EFF  (Read 6051 times)

eleman

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Donating to EFF
« on: January 08, 2015, 09:24:26 AM »
Recently, I got some good business, and earned more than my usual fare. OK I thought, a good time to donate here and there. One of the donations I made was 5 (five, the one with Lincoln) dollars to EFF (Electronic Frontier Thingie). And today I got a (transatlantic) letter from them, thanking me for my generosity (since when 5 bucks is called generous?). Anyway... The stamp on the letter cost $1.15. Think of the time and effort spent to send the letter as well...

I'm not sure I'll donate to EFF anymore. It's kind of them to send a dead tree thank you letter, but really... for 5 bucks, I feel like it's really wasteful.

btw, before anyone asks; I didn't ask for a letter for tax purposes.

40hz

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2015, 09:41:11 AM »
Dunno...while good manners may make good business sense, they're not just about business.

I personally can appreciate that level of civility. It's a refreshing change from most of what I see these days.

Note too that although $5 USD may not seem all that generous to you right now, for some people, it may well be a very generous amount to contribute. And it's nice to see the EFF doesn't make any assumptions as to the degree of generosity a given contribution represents.

I pretty much donate to the same causes each year. In years when I'm flush, I would not consider even a fairly large contribution from me to be overly generous. In years when I'm not, even a $5 or $10 contribution is a sacrifice since it means cutting something from somewhere else in the household budget.

I personally think you did well by contributing to the EFF even if you felt some of it was squandered on good manners. I hope you'll continue. Because it's important that the EFF be around.

eleman

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2015, 09:43:53 AM »
yeah, I too appreciate their cause. Maybe next time I'll specifically note that I don't need any letter.

MilesAhead

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2015, 11:39:22 AM »
I wonder if the number of contributions justifies some kind of filtering software?  Like if the amount is less than 3 times the cost of postage, send an email only?

Or perhaps they have some experience that if a small donation is acknowledged in a classy fashion it often provokes a more generous one in the future?

Just speculating.  :)

MilesAhead

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2015, 11:41:52 AM »
Speaking of donations, often when I check out at Publix they ask me if I wish to donate a dollar to help feed the homeless.  Sometimes I point out they could bypass the bureaucracy and just give me the money, since I am homeless.  The reaction is always pretty sour.  Never even a chuckle.  :(

mouser

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2015, 12:00:49 PM »
 ;D ;D ;D ;D

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2015, 12:35:36 PM »
Recently, I got some good business, and earned more than my usual fare. OK I thought, a good time to donate here and there. One of the donations I made was 5 (five, the one with Lincoln) dollars to EFF (Electronic Frontier Thingie). And today I got a (transatlantic) letter from them, thanking me for my generosity (since when 5 bucks is called generous?). Anyway... The stamp on the letter cost $1.15. Think of the time and effort spent to send the letter as well...

I'm not sure I'll donate to EFF anymore. It's kind of them to send a dead tree thank you letter, but really... for 5 bucks, I feel like it's really wasteful.

btw, before anyone asks; I didn't ask for a letter for tax purposes.

I'll spin it the other way, and borrow that you feel $5 is indeed cheap vs the response you got. (Compare it to the other software thread, where a bug that demolishes data didn't even get answered!)

But, you just saw "non cash intangible value" at work.

It gives you confidence that even for a little $5 contribution, you got a really warm reply. So let's say, one day you get an incredible bonus for the best closed contract/job/client of the year in your work, and you give them next time $100, because you remembered how well they treated you.

Then *later*, some dumb troll gets you in his sights, and you need their real services. You know they "dot i's and send Eleman thank you letters", so when you need a $400,000 defense (and they make sure it has extra value like a precedent), then you might be able to relax in the six month defense and maybe not get ill from a stress heart attack!


40hz

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2015, 01:07:45 PM »
Speaking of donations, often when I check out at Publix they ask me if I wish to donate a dollar to help feed the homeless.  Sometimes I point out they could bypass the bureaucracy and just give me the money, since I am homeless.  The reaction is always pretty sour.  Never even a chuckle.  :(


I do something similar with my alma mater's alumni office. When I was attending school, I dutifully applied for financial aid (which the catalog and recruiting brochures glowingly described as being so marvellously available) each year. And each and every year I was "regretfully informed" I was ineligible to receive any. As a result, I self-funded* my college education through a mix of student loans and some full-time "part-time" jobs. Which made going to college a major financial struggle - plus the cause for many anxious and sleepless nights.

Periodically, I get a call from some chirpy newbie alumni office drummer, reminding me what a "great experience" I had going there. And how the education I received, plus all the valuable contacts I made, no doubt contributed towards what they are sure is my stellar success in life. And since it's only right that "we all" give something back...how much can we put you down for?

Every time I get one of those calls I tell them that I had applied for financial aid while I was there, and it's only right that I give back as well as I was given. When the idiot (who by now should have seen the setup coming from a mile away) casually asks: "And how much did you receive?" I reply: "I got nothing from the school. As in nada. As in zero. Please put me down for that amount."

This is one of those few times that I actually get snotty with someone and feel absolutely no remorse afterwards.

-------------------------------------

*On a positive note, at least it was possible to do back then. College tuitions were still low enough (relatively) that a modest 40-hour work week income, plus borrowing the max from the then guaranteed State and Federal student loan programs, (and not living or eating very well for four years) would yield enough to pay for almost any college in those days.

Can't say that's the case any more. I doubt I'd be able to attend if I were 18 and planning on going today.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 01:17:51 PM by 40hz »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2015, 01:24:20 PM »
Speaking of donations, often when I check out at Publix they ask me if I wish to donate a dollar to help feed the homeless.  Sometimes I point out they could bypass the bureaucracy and just give me the money, since I am homeless.  The reaction is always pretty sour.  Never even a chuckle.  :(

Ya know Miles, you've got a stub of a powerful little theme there. It could take a few tweaks to the script, but with "today's" modern "semi-costless" promotion techniques, if for example get a couple of college students to help out for free, then you slice it down to the Publix clerk "running the script" with the line "So, would you like to donate a dollar to help the homeless?", you reply with the short line "I'm homeless", and then capture the next seven seconds of response before they recover because you broke their manager's script in their head.

Then you edit about twenty of those ten second sets together with a couple extra capping words and you get a four minute viral piece. Besides the obvious shout out to the homeless, it also is a commentary on the mindless "4th person" charity questions at these big stores designed to make you feel guilty.

(Cynical) "Oh, sorry sir, we don't want to help a homeless *person*. We want to help "the homeless" ... you know, the *infrastructure*" (/Cynical)

Certain big companies have the correct accounting batch procedures to do the next level. "I'm homeless. Here's my dollar. Help us out." And then you get a big clout media journalist to help you, you "follow that dollar" and see where it goes. Watch only seven cents of it come back to a cup of soup after twelve "infrastructure people" get paid!

« Last Edit: January 08, 2015, 01:34:41 PM by TaoPhoenix »

MilesAhead

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 09:21:33 AM »
@TaoPhoenix I can see that such a clip might be ironic and make a point. But I'm not really out to embarrass them.  They know me as I've been going there every day for some months and allow me small favors.  Plus they are open 363 days a year.  Only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It seems cities these days don't want to maintain public rest rooms.  Those on the street have to depend on the largess of stores and restaurants.  I don't know why it's so difficult to have clean decent public facilities.  When I went to West Palm Beach the day I was evicted there was a public rest room at the AmTrack Station.  There were cameras trained on the entrance.  That and the occasional foray by a security guard or policeman seemed to be sufficient to keep everything ship shape.

Since most of the people working the Publix checkout knew I'm homeless I have to assume the surprise came from the fact that by asking that question it indicated I expected the effort to be something other than PR.  I think it was more like a "what are you nuts?" reaction rather than hostility.

The other thing I don't understand is now and then they get on a kick of asking if you want a bag when you buy stuff.  Like, at the volume they buy that stuff one of those plastic bags must cost them a percent of a cent.  Can they really enhance the bottom line that way?  Maybe it's some PR about avoiding litter or land fill issues.

More frustrating than any PR campaign for me is the lack of any affordable storage for homeless people.  For my needs a locker about double the size of a high school locker would be sufficient.  No matter how clean you or your clothes are, walking around lugging all your possessions marks you as homeless.  Many of the guys who drink and mainly just have a change of clothes and some blankets hide them in a bush someplace.  They figure if it's ripped off they can go to a church or shelter and get replacements.  That doesn't work for me.  People fear catching homelessness from you like it's some contagious ailment rather than the lack of an address.  It's weird.  But fear is not rational.

It would be nice to walk down the street without hearing "Casa" everywhere I go though.

Stephen66515

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2015, 03:03:20 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?  Seeing as the cost of paper is tiny, that would reduce the cost of them sending you this thank-you to about $0.005 (half a cent).....

eleman

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2015, 04:21:53 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

Stephen66515

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2015, 04:26:00 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

Yes, but how do you know those costs are not being covered by a Third Party?


eleman

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2015, 05:22:55 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

Yes, but how do you know those costs are not being covered by a Third Party?

Common things occur commonly, uncommon things do not. When you hear hoofbeats, don't think of zebras.

Stephen66515

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2015, 05:24:55 AM »
wut.jpg

eleman

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2015, 05:29:17 AM »
When I see a stamp, I assume that someone paid good money for it, which could have been put to good use.

I don't see how EFF would get free postage, in a form that could not be used for another purpose, assuming US government isn't into donating stamps.

Stephen66515

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2015, 06:06:21 AM »
Could be a Franking Machine where the costs are being covered by a benefactor?

40hz

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2015, 08:17:57 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

Yes, but how do you know those costs are not being covered by a Third Party?

Common things occur commonly, uncommon things do not. When you hear hoofbeats, don't think of zebras.


Now that has got to be one of my absolute favorite posts. :Thmbsup:

I have absolutely no idea what it means. But I love it! ;D

P.S. Sould I hear hoofbeats...I'm most likely hallucinating. (I live in the suburbs y'see.)  ;) :P

Stephen66515

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2015, 08:54:12 AM »
I like chocolate milk.gif

Stoic Joker

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2015, 09:36:26 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

Yes, but how do you know those costs are not being covered by a Third Party?

Common things occur commonly, uncommon things do not. When you hear hoofbeats, don't think of zebras.


Now that has got to be one of my absolute favorite posts. :Thmbsup:

I have absolutely no idea what it means. But I love it! ;D

It was indeed a truly brilliant response - that sounds oddly familiar. So either I've heard it before...or it just made perfect sense to me initially. Which - since no one else seems to have understood it - could be a very bad sign for both myself and eleman.. :-\

MilesAhead

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2015, 09:37:16 AM »
I have absolutely no idea what it means. But I love it!

My only guess would be that zebras can't afford shoes.  And/or they run quietly to avoid alerting predators.  :)

MilesAhead

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2015, 09:39:52 AM »
The sound of one hoof clapping:
http://marketingpfft...s-dont-think-zebras/

wraith808

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2015, 09:43:27 AM »
How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

Yes, but how do you know those costs are not being covered by a Third Party?

Common things occur commonly, uncommon things do not. When you hear hoofbeats, don't think of zebras.

But it's quite common for non-profits to have reduced postage rates.  Not sure if they show on the stamps... or do the standard postage rates show?

http://pe.usps.com/b.../rates/nonprofit.htm

Stoic Joker

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2015, 11:07:19 AM »
Not sure if they show on the stamps... or do the standard postage rates show?

If it was the price that was printed on the envelope (presumably by a postage meter) then I'd be inclined to assume it was the price paid (based on below quote).

How do you know they didn't get those stamps donated to them so they could do this for people?

The stamp is not an actual stamp, but an imprint stating the price as well.

40hz

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Re: Donating to EFF
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2015, 12:57:04 PM »
Not sure if they show on the stamps...

Don't know about the stamps. But on the franking meters, "Non-Profit" is clearly shown when printing postage. It's not that easy to obtain non-profit organization postage permits. And the USPS does monitor their use rather closely.