Geeks Doing Good

annual fundraiser  faq

Want to know all the nitty-gritty of the annual fundraiser? Then this is the place for you! We've got plenty of answers below, but ifyou're still wondering about something we haven't answered, you can email us at

When does the Fundraiser end?

The fundraiser starts on November 14th, 2016 and will run until December 9th 2016 at 11:59pm UTC-11.

Can I donate using PayPal?

Yes! We've switched to a new platform this year, so our current Fundraiser Page allows PayPal once again.

I don’t have a credit card. If I mail you a check will you enter me in the lottery?

Absolutely! Simply download the Offline Donation Form and mail it to:

Attn: WBFund16
PO Box 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481
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 at your bank or post office (and some supermarkets) and send that to us with an Offline Donation Form (see If I mail you a check will you enter me into the lottery? above).

How does the lottery work?

Pat originally started the lottery as an incentive, to encourage people to donate to the fundraiser. Doing good in the world is an awesome feeling…but, let’s face it, so is winning cool prizes. We’ve combined both of those awesome feelings into a tornado of awesome that is the Worldbuilders lottery!

For every $10 you donate, your name will get entered into the drawing once. If you donate $30, your name goes in three times. Donate $120 (enough for a goat), your name is in twelve times. It's kind of like buying tickets, but you're helping feed families and supply clean water instead, because you're cool like that.

After the fundraiser is over, we’ll have a random drawing to distribute all the swag we've gotten from our author friends, sponsors, publishers, game companies, collectors, and supporters. Once the winners' names have been drawn, we'll send out thousands of books, games, comics, art, DVDs, and other cool miscellany.

We try to be inclusive here, so if you're strapped for cash and you'd still like to throw your hat in for a chance in the drawing, there's no donation necessary to enter. Just download our Drawing Form, fill it out, and mail it in. We'll put you on the list. Please note this non-donation entry is limited to 1 (one) per person per year.

If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? How will that work?

Yes. Here’s how it will work.

Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.

Worldbuilders Nepal

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.

What are my odds of winning something if I donate?

Here, have a widget!

Keep in mind these are very rough estimates, so use this widget more for entertainment purposes than information. The odds always shimmy around a bit as new stuff is added to the lottery and donation totals rise. So as hard as we try, we can never give you a really good answer until it’s too late.

I live outside the US. Can I still win something from the lottery?

Absolutely! We send prizes all over the world, and are happy to do so. You don't have to worry about shipping costs if you win - we've got that covered! You might still need to pay VAT when your prize arrives, since we have no control over that.

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 us to suddenly post up everyone’s names without asking first.

For another thing, we really can’t e-mail you all individually, sort all that out, and post thousands of winners up online. It’s just not possible. Not even with the whole Worldbuilders staff we’ve amassed.

If you win a prize, it will show up at your house. Keep in mind that we’re using a bulk shipping service to save money, so they’ll take a little longer to get to you. We will do everything we can to get the prizes in the mail by the end of February.

Fair warning: this is a random drawing, and therefore the odds are excruciatingly fickle, if not outright cruel at times.

Our advice is to assume you didn’t win, and then be pleasantly surprised if something shows up on your doorstep.

I'm trying to track your donations, but how exactly do I read the Donation Board thermometer?

We love our thermometer, but there's a lot to absorb from it. Here's the low-down.

The blue bar tracks everything donated via our Fundraiser Page. It updates in real time.

The gold bar tracks what we've earned from our online auctions. It updates as we receive payment for our auctions, so just a few times a week.

The green bar tracks something that's a secret right now...

The red bar tracks donatations via Cards Against Humanity

The smaller thermometer only tracks matching funds. We keep it separate so you know how much you guys have actually donated for real. But we’re so thrilled to have matching funds that we have to share with you how much has been matched!

We started doing a complex thermometer after receiving a few requests for a more holistic calculation of our supporters' donations. A lot of people kick in for auctions and would like to see their contributions count toward the goal...and the stretch goals, which we will reach a bit quicker now...

I love that you’re doing this. Can I post about this on my blog?

Nothing would make us happier. The fundraiser depends on everyone spreading the word. Talk us up on Twitter or re-tweet our upates. Post up a link on Facebook. Share a Worldbuilders post with all your friends. The more the merrier.

That said, we would prefer if you would link to the Worldbuilders website or Pat's blog, rather than trying to copy-and-paste our 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 come you didn’t invite me to donate a book to your fundraiser? Isn’t my book good enough for you?

We spend a lot of time throughout the year making contact with people we hope will donate to the lottery, auctions, or the store. That said, we can’t get to everyone, and we’re likely to miss some really cool people.

We’re still a pretty young organization, and trying to do more things without taking up Pat’s precious time. This means that sometimes, we don’t know if we should ask you. It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s that we wouldn’t want to bother you or become a hassle.

That said, if you’ve got a book or an ARC you’d like to send along, we’d love to have it. Just a few things, first:

  • If you’re the author, we’d love if you signed the books before sending them to us.
  • If you’re thinking of sending a collectible of some kind, please contact us first.
  • Please package the books carefully. It breaks our hearts when books arrive damaged.
  • Please include a packing slip with your contact information so we can send you a receipt.
  • It really would help us out if you included a letter with a little bio of yourself and a few blurbs or review quotes about your book(s)/creation(s). We can find reviews, but we'd rather use your favorites.
Can I do some fundraising of my own, then donate it?

By all means. Have a bake sale. 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 here.

If you want to join the fun on a grander scale, hit our Team Page and under Start Fundraising, click the button that says, "Become a Fundraiser." Follow the steps there to create an account and set up a Team Page of your own. We will still get names from any Teams that support Worldbuilders, so everyone is still entered in the lottery.

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?

Absolutely. Heifer International has a place on their website to ask for Honor Cards , either physcial or virtual.

I thought you matched donations, but I can't find anywhere on the website that says you do that. Am I wrong? Do you match donations?

You're not wrong.'s the thing.

In a nutshell: Y'all broke the bank. As we’ve grown, we’ve raised more and more money, and it’s gotten harder and harder for Pat to match donations. We’ve officially passed the line where he could anymore. As failures go, this is the best one possible.

However, we’re now big enough that other folks have stepped up in hefty numbers, so along with Pat, we actually have a whole pool of matching funds from other wonderful people who do this sort of thing anonymously. We can’t call them out, but we can say an enthusiastic “Thank you!” You can track how much of their matching donations we’ve received with the smaller thermometer on our home page.

And we’ve found other ways to steer extra cash toward Heifer.

You may have noticed that we were involved in some new projects this past year. ran a brilliant campaign earning money for three charities—Worldbuilders was one of them, and GOG did a great job helping us raise that money. Powell's Books is on board with their awesome partner program. With Humble Bundle, you can now choose which charity a portion of your money goes to, and we're one of the options. We have a couple more secret master plans in the works, and as we finalize licenses and contracts, good luck avoiding the announcements.

As an individual, Pat can't match donations. But as an individual with a pretty decent organization behind him, he can tap into resources he never dreamed of five years ago.

Does it sound as cool as Pat matching everything himself? No. Does Heifer still get twice the money we raise during the fundraiser? Oh yes. Because once the fundraiser is over and the prizes have been sent out, we'll tackle the next project to help Heifer. It was a three-month fundraiser when Pat ran it himself—and the fundraiser will still be here. But Worldbuilders-the-organization will be raising money for Heifer all year.

All that said, if you or someone you know wants to help out by matching have our attention. You can contact us here, and we'd love to talk!

Are you a 501(c)(3) organization?

We are indeed! We've got the certificate to proive it, and that means your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law.

My company matches donations. Is Worldbuilders eligible for matching donations?

Rules might vary from company to company, but the usual requirement for charitable matching is being a 501(c)(3) organization, which we are. If your company needs more information to approve the match, just contact us and we'll hand over all our secrets. Or, at the very least, some general information about Worldbuilders.

My company matched my donation! Does that mean my lottery entries are doubled?

Unfortunately, no. A lot of companies don't process matches quickly enough to get to us before the end of the fundraiser, so the matching funds might not even reach us in time to go towards the fundraiser total (but don't worry - Heifer still gets the money.) Rather than have some people miss out on extra lottery entries because of their company's schedule, we've just made a flat rule that company matches don't count for the employee.

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 we've got a mix of options. Our suggested donations from Heifer's Gift catalogue are:

  • Flock of Ducks or Chicks $20
  • Honeybees $30
  • Trees $60
  • Goat $120
  • Llama $150
  • Gift of Clean Water $300
  • Heifer $500

If you’re interested, we’ve gotten a response to these questions from Vicki Clarke, the Director of Philanthropy at Heifer.

Here’s what she said.
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 toward 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.

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 76.7% of everything it collects go directly toward helping people.

Here’s a nice visual breakdown from Heifer's Annual Report.

Heifer 2015 Annual Report

You can see here that a little over five 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?

This is a good question. Pat gave a long story about Batman as his answer back in 2008 on the blog. Feel free to read that, it’ll probably get a laugh.

The short answer is no. Not because your charity isn’t awesome, but because we can’t help every charity in the world. We’ve chosen Heifer for some good reasons after some serious research and are going to stick with them for now.