September 29, 2020

Our First Donation: $49.89 To Black Lives Matter

Jordan Holliday @saasquiat

This week we paid our first-ever hate gift donation: $49.89 to Black Lives Matter, via the Black Lives Matter Support Fund at Tides Foundation.

donation receipt

Why The Tides Foundation?

Black Lives Matter is a very pervasive hashtag but—as I now know—not any single organization, which makes donating to the cause damn hard. There are endless charities claiming to support BLM, and cases of people setting up charities using the BLM branding, then siphoning donations off to other random causes.

I have heard the push back that it doesn’t matter where the hate gift money ends up—all that matters is that my users are losing money, and experiencing the motivation that loss inspires. I disagree with that but, even supposing it were true, I want to hold myself to a higher standard. I want my users to pay their hate gifts secure in the knowledge that their money is going to the highest-leverage organization I could find.

Hence, the Tides Foundation, which is currently rated 4/4 on Charity Navigator and has a history of scoring >90/100 for financial responsibility and transparency. Admittedly their board’s salaries are higher than what I consider justifiable for a charity. Even accounting for that, their administrative costs are 12% of revenue which is fair.

If anyone has a better suggestion for a beneficiary of BLM hate gifts, I’m all ears: [email protected].

Was It Really A Hate Gift?

In fairness to the user(s) who paid this money in the first place, I’ve got no idea whether they meant this as a hate gift. They could be fervent BLM radicals. We accept all types at Penance.

My original concept was that people would feel greater motivation to achieve their goals if they thought their money would go to an organization they “hate.” That’s how my brain works. And I know a few others using the app are using it in the same way.

However my guess is that the average person seeing the option to specify a beneficiary of their fines will choose an organization they agree with. In that case calling this a hate gift is misleading.

Regardless I’m running with the “hate gift” moniker for this feature. It is 100x better branding than calling them charitable donations—or anything in that vein—which you’d forget the moment you heard about it.

What’s Next?

This week I’m rolling out a couple new hate gift beneficiaries, both of them causes that should be particularly inspiring during this election season.

And for the gun nuts in the audience, I’ve checked the numbers, and this week we will pay our first donation to the NRA Foundation.

  1. 1

    They could be fervent BLM radicals

    You consider someone who supports the BLM movement as radical?

    1. 1

      Far from it, I'd say support is pretty mainstream, at least among people I know.

      But, my point is that people using the feature could run the spectrum from supportive to opposed.

  2. 1

    Timely and clever idea! Also pretty funny. Maybe this can help our country laugh a bit more leading up to the election.

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