Frequently Asked Questions
Worldbuilders FAQ – (And a Critique of Batman)
If you want details about how the the fundraiser works, click HERE.
If you want to make a donation, click HERE.
Okay, onward to the questions:
- “When does the Fundraiser end?”
January 21st, 2013 at Midnight, Central Standard Time. Make sure to make your donations before then to be included in the prize lottery.
- “I love that you’re doing this. Can I post about this on my blog?”
Nothing would make me happier. The fundraiser depends on everyone spreading the word. Twitter it. Post up a link on Facebook. The more the merrier.
That said, I would prefer if you would link to my blog, rather than trying to copy-and-paste my posts. Our main page gets updated whenever we get new prizes or something changes, so it’s best if people go there to get the newest information.
- “How can I be a Worldbuilders sponsor/donor?”
It’s easy, contact us at Questions (squiggly-at-thinger) worldbuilders.org
- “Can I donate to Heifer International using paypal?”
Not anymore as of this year. Heifer was having some serious trouble with outside payments, so this year they’re accepting credit cards online. If you don’t have one…
- “I don’t have a credit card. If I mail you a check will you enter me in the lottery and match my donation?”
Heifer has set things up so that you can mail a check or money order straight to them. However, in order to be entered into the lottery, you must write WORLDBUILDERS under the Team Name field and in the memo portion of your check.
Simply download the TEAM HEIFER OFFLINE DONATION FORM and mail it to:
Attn: Donor Services
PO Box 8058
Little Rock, AR 72203
- “Can I send you cash?”
Um…. Wait. No. You really shouldn’t. It’s just risky all around.
However, if you don’t have a checking account or a credit card, you could get a money order and send that to Heifer with their Offline Donation Form (see above).
- “If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? The first prize your name is drawn for? The Coolest prize your name is drawn for? How will that work?”
Here’s how it will work.
Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.
Your name would go into the final drawing 12 times. Then, if we draw your name out of the hat and you win a signed book, your name is still in there 11 times for the rest of the drawing.
That means you could, conceivably, win 12 prizes.
- “I usually donate to Heifer and give their Honor Card to my mom/boyfriend/second cousin for their holiday gift. Can I still get one if I donate through you?”
- “When will winners be announced, and if I win, how will I be notified?”
Well…. they won’t be announced.
For one, it’s a privacy issue. It would be rude of me to suddenly post up everyone’s names without asking first.
For another thing, I really don’t have the time to sort all that out and post 500 winners up online. Or to e-mail you all individually. It’s just not possible. Not even with my delightful new assistants lending a hand.
If you win a prize, it will show up at your house. Keep in mind that we’re shipping things media mail to save money, so they’ll take a little longer to get to you.
Fair warning: this is a random drawing, and therefore the odds are excruciatingly fickle, if not outright cruel at times. We had one person who donated $1000.00 one year but due to sheer bad luck didn’t win anything. While someone else donated 80 dollars and walked away with 6 gorgeous signed hardcover books. (I sent the thousand dollar donor something out of my personal stash anyway because I felt bad about their crummy luck.)
My advice is to assume you didn’t win, then be pleasantly surprised if something shows up on your doorstep.
- “I ordered a book/poster/t-shirt from you. When will I get it?”
Man. I’ve got no idea. We’re getting things out the door as quickly as possible. But the mail is really slow this time of year because of the holidays. My advice is to be patient. Sending me an e-mail isn’t going to make the package move any faster.
- “What are my odds of winning something if I donate?”
I can’t calculate even rough odds on this year until we have all the donations in.
But in 2010 I think if someone donated $10, they had a 1 in 70 chance of winning something.
That means if they donated enough for a goat ($120) they had a 1 in 8 chance of winning something. Pretty sweet odds, you have to admit.
In 2011, the odds were even better. If someone donated $10, they had a 1 in 15 chance of winning something. If they donated enough for a goat, they had a 24 out of 31 chance, which is about 78%, of winning something. That’s huge.
This year we have more prizes, so I’m sure the odds will be just as good, if not a little better.
Keep in mind these are rough estimates. And the odds will shimmy around a bit as new books come in and donation totals rise.
- “My uncle/mom/grampa speaks Polish/Spanish/Estonian…. Can I buy a signed copy of one of your foreign editions directly from you?”
Yup. Other authors have been donating their foreign translations to Worldbuilders, too. So we’re getting a nice selection of foreign editions in the store.
- “Why are the foreign editions in your store so expensive?”
The prices for most of the books in above the cover price. This is because:
1. The books are usually signed by the author.
2. Some of the books are rare or out of print, or just hard to find in the US.
3. Because all the money is going to charity, so we’re asking you to kick in a little extra to support the good cause.
- “Is there a facebook page for Worldbuilders?”
- “I have something I’d like to donate to your lottery option. Where can I send it?”
Before you drop that macrame owl into the mail, why don’t you drop us a line at Donations (squiggly-at-thinger) worldbuilders.org and tell us what you’re thinking of sending.
It’s not that we don’t appreciate your generosity, and it’s not that we have anything against macrame. Or owls. It’s just that right now we kind of have a tight focus of things we’re giving away as prizes. It’s mostly books with some comics and a little art and music. For now, I think it might be best if we keep that focus.
- “How come you didn’t invite me to donate a book to your fundraiser? Isn’t my book good enough for you?”
If I know you and I didn’t send you a request, it’s probably because I’ve been insanely busy these last few months.
It’s also entirely possible that I don’t feel I know you well enough to come begging for donations. I know this is hard to believe, but I am kinda bashful about that sort of thing.
The other possibility is that I lost your e-mail, or that I’m a disorganized idiot.
But if you’ve got a book or an ARC you think would fit in into the mix, I’d love to include it. Send it to:
Stevens Point, WI 54481
1. If you’re the author, we’d love if you signed the books before sending them to us.
2. If you’re thinking of sending a collectible of some kind, please contact us first.
3. Please package the books carefully. It breaks my heart when books arrive damaged.
- I’d like to do an interview with you so I can write a story about Worldbuilders for my local paper/magazine/whatever.
If you’re a journalist, blogger, webcomic-er, a celeb with a huge twitter following, or just someone who has a cool idea about how to spread the word, drop us a line at Questions (squiggly at-thinger) worldbuilders.org.
Pretty much if you have any questions about the fundraiser, that’s the e-mail to use. You’ll get a response much more quickly than if you use the contact form on my website.
- “Can I do some fundraising of my own, then donate it and have you match it?”
By all means. Have a bakesale. Search the couch cushions. Rally your book club or church group. Show people at work the website then pass the hat. Then get everything together and donate it to the Worldbuilders Team Heifer page. That’s the only way we can track donations.
- “I can buy chicks on your page, but not baby ducks!”
Yeah. They don’t offer all the different options on the donor pages. The cost of a flock of ducks is the same as for the chicks: $20.
- I’m a vegan, and I don’t feel comfortable donating animals. What options do you have for me?
We specifically asked for the option of donating non-animals, so you can donate trees this year for $60. If you’re interested, we’ve gotten a response to these questions from Vicki Clarke, the Director of Philantropy at Heifer.
- “How much of my donation to Heifer goes to actually helping people?”
This is a fair question. A lot of so-called charities are actually just scams that collect money.
Others have good intentions, but the majority of the money they raise goes running their organization. Some very high profile charities spend as much as 60-70% of the money they raise on administrative costs, while only a small sliver goes toward actually helping people. I could name names here, but I’m not going to. If you’re really curious, you can google up the information yourself.
Please believe me when I say I’ve done my research. Heifer is an award-winning charity for a reason. They’ve been doing good works for over 60 years.
Heifer keeps all its financial records available to the public, and 75% of everything it collects go directly toward helping people.
Here’s a nice visual breakdown from Heifer’s site.
You can see here that less than seven percent of their money goes toward administration. That’s exceptional.
- “I love that you’re willing to donate to charity. Would you match my donation to [insert name of charity here] instead?”
Everyone has their favorite charity. There are a lot of good causes out there, and people have very personal attachments to them. Emotions run high in these areas.
When I first started doing worldbuilders I got a flurry of e-mails. Someone asked me about animal shelters, another about diabetes. A third person posted a comment on the blog, arguing that people living in the US shouldn’t give money to charities that support causes outside the US. I erased the post because it was harshing my groove, then I felt guilty about it because the person was relatively polite in making their point, though I still think they were wrong as wrong can be.
But here’s what I’m getting at. I think it’s important not to go all Bruce Wayne in these situations.
Follow along with me on this. Bruce Wayne’s folks were killed by criminals, so he grows up and becomes Batman in order to fight crime. Because he hates crime. Because crime killed his parents with crime.
Now I like Batman as much as the next guy. Good stories. Batarangs. Men in tights. He’s probably my favorite superhero.
But the fact is, his whole Batman deal is pretty self-indulgent.
Think about it. Dude is a multi-billionaire. If he wanted to make the world a better place, he could create a foundation 100 times bigger than Heifer International. He could build shelters for battered women, schools in low-income neighborhoods. Sustainable agriculture. Renewable energy.
What does he do with his money? He builds super-gadgets so he can fight crime. Drives a rocket car.
Yes I know that Bruce Wayne is also a philanthropist. Don’t quibble. He does a tiny bit of charity and a whole big shitload of being Batman.
Why? Well… because it wouldn’t be much of a comic if he didn’t. Fair enough.
But the other answer is this: he fights crime because it makes him feel good. Not because it does good. There’s a difference.
Cancer got my mom not too long ago, and it took a good hard swing at my dad, too. That means that I should be raising money for cancer research, because I hate cancer, right?
Well…. no. Do I hate cancer? Of course. But if I just focused on fighting cancer for the rest of my life, I’d kind of be doing it for selfish reasons. I’d be doing it to make myself feel good. Instead, I’d rather focus on making people’s lives better. I’d like to focus on doing good, then let the feeling good be the side effect.
That’s why I’m focusing on Heifer. I can do the most good there. If I raised 200,000 dollars for cancer research, it would help pay for a piece of lab equipment. It could fund a lab’s research for a couple weeks, or maybe only a couple of days.
The sad fact is, 200,000 dollars isn’t very much when it comes to fighting cancer.
But 200,000 dollars is a huge shitload of money when it comes to buying animals. We raise that much money, and hundreds of people’s lives get drastically better right away. Kids get to drink milk right away. Families get to sell wool and eggs right away.
We don’t need to research how to cure hungry kids. We know how. We have the technology. It’s called food. We just need to do it.
Heifer helps people all over the world, not just here in the US. Why? Because people all over the world have it really shitty and they need help. To say that some people deserve my help more just because they’re from the same country…. Nah. That’s not my game. I’m playing for team human, not team USA.
Does that make sense? Wait…. What was the question again?
Oh. Yeah. Will I match donations somewhere else instead of Heifer? Respectfully, I’ll pass. I’m not saying you should stop loving your charity. But I’ve put some thought into this, and I’m going to stick with Heifer for now.
- “I have a question you didn’t answer here….”
Drop us an e-mail at Questions (squigly-atsign-thinger) worldbuilders.org we’ll answer them as soon as we’re able…
To go back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.