Nominate whenever the day ends in Y

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come back later

For over four years, Charitocracy has accepted new 501(c)(3) nonprofit nominations during the first week of each month. Only the first week. If you came up with a brilliant idea for a new nominee on the 8th or the 28th, you were out of luck. After week 1, the Nominate page at Charitocracy would simply tell you to come back next month. "Set yourself a reminder to come back."

This experience has been borderline donor-hostile, based on the number of complaints I've received from friends. I can only imagine how strangers may have reacted. For those who have been silently seething since 2016, I apologize! It's never been the biggest fish for me to fry, since we've been flush with great nominees since our first week online. But that's not the case for Charitocracy OBX, where we don't yet have enough nominees to form a full Top 10. So I've finally addressed this limitation to encourage more nominations.

Nominate whenever

Now when you visit the Nominate page after the first week of the month, you'll no longer be told to come back next month. As long as you're logged in as a donor, and you haven't already cast your vote elsewhere, you're good to go. (You can easily cancel any previous vote by hitting the ❌ button next to it on the Dashboard or Vote pages.) Now you can search for your favorite nonprofit, write a paragraph or two about why other donors should vote for your nominee, and then click Nominate!

Queued until next month

It's still important to give everyone a chance to learn about new nominees. Informed voting decisions are important! And we want all the new nominees for the month to have a fighting chance before we narrow down to the Top 10.

That's why we queue up nominations to post at the beginning of the next month. There's nothing for you to remember: your nomination will post automatically early next month, and your vote will automatically be cast for it 100%. Easy peasy. Try it out now! Or nominate whenever the mood hits you some day. We won't tell you to come back later.

still waiting for my nomination

Trademarks registered, now hear the origin stories

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Charitocracy's registered trademarks

Our trademarks actually registered last summer. The days were warm, the sun was shining, and I had better things to do than write blog posts about... paperwork. Today, it's cold and the sun is shining on and off. Writing about Charitocracy's trademark registrations might turn out to be this winter day's highlight. 🎉

Check out the fancy new Circle Rs below!

Origins of the name

Charitocracy(R)

When coming up with the concept for this nonprofit in early 2011, I purchased a couple domain names just in case: azillion.org and onlyadollar.org. One of these would have worked fine, but I couldn't get super excited about them. They were missing that certain something. And my brainstorming wasn't coming up with anything better, at least not anything with an available domain name!

Over dinner with my friend and Apple coworker, Jeremy Sandmel, at some point between 2011 and 2015, I described the meta-charity I wanted to create some day. A mix of charity and democracy, where donors would mod charities up and down to decide which get crowdfunded.

"What's it called?"

"I don't have a name for it yet... Just a few lame possibilities."

"How about Charitocracy?"

In the moment I thanked him for the suggestion and laughed it off as a mouthful. But on the drive back from dinner, it clicked with me. Rhyming with meritocracy was almost certainly Jeremy's intention, but I was slow to get it. Better late than never! And most importantly, the .com and .org domains were available. ✅

Years later when reminding Jeremy of his important naming contribution to Charitocracy, he didn't even remember it came from him. Or perhaps he regretted sticking me with a five syllable name that's difficult to say and spell? Regardless, I'll never forget! It might take a while, but hopefully it grows on you... I think I'm finally getting used to it.

Origins of the logo

Charitocracy logo (R)

Unlike the name, I fell in love with our logo the moment I saw it.

I commissioned a logo on Crowdspring, asking for some sort of mix of charity, voting, and the power of the people. I also noted how I'm partial to bold lines a la Keith Haring. Over two dozen artists generated over one hundred entries, fine-tuned with my continual feedback. One of them by Connie Zegers of the Netherlands was clearly it. Thank you, Connie!! ❤️

It cost me less than $300. You can read some of the details of my Crowdspring journey if you're curious.

Registering the trademarks

I'm a DIY kind of guy, especially when it means saving Charitocracy from unnecessary expenses. So when I discovered the series of videos on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website walking viewers through the process of registering trademarks, I binged them all. They are outrageously goofy, and it gave me some confidence that the bar might not be too high when it comes to completing this paperwork.

That's not to say that hiring an attorney is a bad idea for most people. If you want to be sure it's done right, and you have the budget for it, don't let me talk you out of it. But if you have a reasonably high attention to detail, no fear of handling digital art files, and the patience to hunt down all possible conflicting names and logos in the database of already registered trademarks, you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The entire process took a couple days of learning and doing, and then over 6 months of waiting. Piece of cake!

You can see our trademark (service mark, actually, if you want to be a nerd about it) registration certificates, applications, etc. at these links for our word mark and design mark, respectively.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and belated celebration of our successful registrations. My baby Charitocracy® is all growed up. 😍

not a baby

Come check out Charitocracy OBX!

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Join Charitocracy OBX!

Our new local Outer Banks site, Charitocracy OBX, is online! I've just finished coding up the last bit of nice-to-have UI tweaks to make it easy for donors to go back and forth between the two sites. So consider the "soft launch" over. And thanks to the early beta testers for their brilliant feedback!

I'll keep new OBX nominations open until midnight Tuesday, so please throw your hat in the ring if you have a favorite local cause!

The Basics

  • I'll call the charitocracy.org site you know and love "Charitocracy USA" for clarity here. The new one is at obx.charitocracy.org and I'll call it Charitocracy OBX.
  • If you have an account on Charitocracy USA, then you have an account on Charitocracy OBX version, too. Same account, two great sites!
  • Switch between them at any time by clicking the ❤️OBX or ❤️USA sticker next to the Charitocracy logo at the top of every page.
  • If you click the "Remember Me" checkbox during log in, you'll stay logged in on that computer/device virtually forever, or until you log out. And if you have trouble logging in, don't hesitate to get me involved! We want you and need you on there every month!! I'm happy to help get you unstuck.

New Donation UI

New Donation Options UI

  • Say good-bye to the old limited menu of weird donation amounts. Now you can decide exactly how much you want to feed the monthly pot(s).
  • If you're new to Charitocracy and only interested in supporting Outer Banks causes, you can sign up to just feed the OBX pot. Simply set the nationwide pot contributions to $0/mo and OBX to $99/mo. 😉
  • If you're already a Charitocracy USA donor, it's real easy to add a new donation stream to Charitocracy OBX. Decide how you want to divvy up your Washingtons between the two sites. And you'll only be billed the prorated "catch up" amount now.
  • You can also tweak your allocation between the two pots any time you want. If it's just shifting dollars from one pot to the other but the total remains the same, you won't be billed anything.
  • All new donations are billed annually, but hopefully I can bring monthly billed donations back online. If that's of interest to you, please get in touch so I know to prioritize it.
    • Growing the Charitocracy OBX pot

      • The pot started at $0 on October 1st. If you're viewing this blog post on the OBX site, scroll around until you see the pot o' gold showing the current pot size.
      • Your contribution today will make a significant % boost. $1 will bump the pot multiple percent! That won't be true for long. 🤞
      • Even more important are the 5 friends you invite to help fill the pot. Charitocracy is known to be highly contagious in OBX.
      • Let's make the first OBX winner not regret the trip to the bank to cash their check. 😜 Can we get it up over $100 this month?

      Okay, that's all for now. Let's pig pile on this pot. Turn it into a snowball picking up size and speed all October!

      Thank you. Truly.