Give to charity, get books you want

November 25, 2007

Many of you know that I’m on the board of three Internet-era charities, the EFF, Creative Commons and the Open Rights Group (UK).

I was thinking of what I could do to fundraise for them, and came upon this idea:

* for every $10 you commit to giving to one of my 3 charities, I’ll give you one of my mooch points, which you can redeem to get one book for free on BookMooch.

In this way, and this way only, people could “buy” mooch points, which I know other book swapping sites do, and some people on BookMooch have requested. One of the few prohibitions I’ve had on BookMooch is against the selling of points, because that could turn BookMooch into an eBay replacement, and not a friendly barter system. However, under this scheme, because the money doesn’t go to the person, but to a charity, I don’t think there is a problem.

I came up with $10 per point, because I’ve run the report of books swapped on BookMooch vs their current best price on Amazon, and on average a book traded on BookMooch is worth $11.

So, here is what I propose:

– any BookMooch member who wants to offer some of their points to help charity is welcome to participate in this

– if you are participating, please modify your bio to indicate what charities you want to help. Take a look at my bio as an example, or just copy/paste what I wrote, modifying it accordingly:

<b>Give to charity, get books you want</b>

Until the end of 2007, I will give 1 mooch point for each $10 given to one of the charities that I am on the board of: the <a href=”http://www.eff.org/”>EFF</a&gt;, <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/”>Creative Commons</a> and the <a href=”http://www.openrightsgroup.org/”>Open Rights Group</a>

How this works: send your donation to one of these charities, and then email me a copy of the receipt, either as a scan, pdf or email. I will then use the BookMooch “charity” feature to send you your points.

– Add a link your bio page on the “Give to charity 2007” page on the BookMooch wiki so that people can browse all the people making this offer

– this fundraising drive will end at the end of 2007

Have fun!


Here are links to each group’s giving page:

  • give to the EFF
  • give to Creative Commons
  • give to Open Rights Group UK.
  • 20 Responses to “Give to charity, get books you want”

    1. Heather19 said

      😛 I thought you were “away for a month”. lol

      I love helping charities out, I’ll definitely try to grab some more money to participate in this!

    2. Julie said

      I love giving to orgazations.

    3. Hey, John, this idea rocks! I’ve got a plethora of points at the moment, so any giving I do will be done independent of the site.

      Thanks for doing this. Whenever we can help the world, things get a little bit better. Or so I like to believe.

    4. Liz said

      Hey John,
      This is a good idea but the middle section is not clear. What do you mean by “any BookMooch member who wants to offer some of their points to help charity is welcome to participate in this

      – if you are participating, please modify your bio to indicate what charities you want to help. Take a look at my bio as an example, or just copy/paste what I wrote, modifying it accordingly”

      Maybe I’m just confusing myself, but I didn’t really understand what this meant.

      Thanks!

    5. Leah said

      Always glad to help charities. Looking forward to hearing more. Thanks for being who you are. I so appreciate it all.

    6. Nic said

      I agree with Liz.
      What’s the difference between giving points to you and giving money to the charity? (not that it matters or anything… just confused)
      Thanx stax

    7. Fat Gal said

      Hi John
      Just wanted to alert you to a situation that came up for me today. I was being an Angel for someone and we were having a discussion about how the conditions of the book are only visible if you are able to mooch the book. In other words, if the owner is set to domestic, an international mooched who might want to use the Angel Network, isn’t able to see the conditions of the book until they find an angel and the angel goes to mooch it. The angel would then need to check with the supplicant to see if the condition meets with their approval, all this to-ing and fro-ing takes time and would often mean the angel ends up missing out on the mooching the book for the supplicant. Is it possible that the condition notes could be made visible to everyone before the mooch is made. cheers.

    8. Emily said

      Not on topic, but I had a suggestion/request: I’ve noticed that when someone mooches a book from me and then cancels their request, I get +0 feedback left for me. This makes my feedback look worse than it actually is – if you compare my “number of mooches” to my feedback score they aren’t the same number, but that is mostly because of some canceled requests. Is there a way to fix this?

      The reason I ask is because when I’m choosing to mooch from someone, I will often compare their number of mooches to their feedback score. If they aren’t the same number (or at least really close) I’m likely to think twice about mooching from them. I’m assuming people will be doing the same thing when they look at mine.

      It seems like it could be an easy fix – just make it so that a canceled request wouldn’t show up as a mooch at all. Is that possible?

      I hope I made myself clear…if you don’t know what I’m talking about please email me and I’ll try to make more sense. 🙂
      Thanks for considering it!
      Emily

    9. Lisa said

      John,
      Got your EMAIL to day & Love your Generous Offer.
      It’s a GIVE/GIVE or WIN WIN!
      I am confused about the Annual Member option & Points for a Year??
      Could you explain that Please 🙂
      HAPPY HOLIDAYS & Thank You for giving us the chance to make them happier!
      Take Care,
      Lisa

    10. “I am confused about the Annual Member option & Points for a Year??”

      If you sign up as an annual member for one of these charities, say at $120 per year, I’ll give you 12 points.

      -john

    11. “What’s the difference between giving points to you and giving money to the charity? ”

      If you give charity points on BookMooch, a small number of charities that need books can get the books they want.

      If you give money to one of my charities (CC, EFF, ORG) they can use it however they like, and I will give you points back in thanks.

      -john

    12. Rose said

      Emily – I wouldn’t agree with removing the +0 feedback when someone mooches and then cancels. I know I have canceled mooches because the person I was mooching from did NOT respond within a reasonable amount of time (i.e. 30 days or more). In those instances, I give negative (-1) feedback. But when the mooch is canceled (or rejected) for other reasons – like I just couldn’t wait for the book and the person couldn’t mail it for a couple of weeks – I leave a +0 feedback. What I would make sure of is that the comments on WHY the mooch was canceled are appropriate. I know I look at the comments on the negative and +0 feedback before deciding who to mooch from. There are just times when life up and hits you with something and as long as the feedback comments indicate that this is what happened, I don’t have a problem mooching from someone whose feedback is less than the number of books mooched from them. However, I have come across “members” who just don’t care and rack up the negative points left and right with no explanation. Those are the ones I avoid.

    13. Remi said

      Rose and Emily-
      I agree with Emily, because I have cancelled mooches on people because I found out that a family memeber had the book. If the book is taking to long, you should put -1, and if you have the sme reason as I did, just put +1. (I can’t remember if you can do that, but anyways) Or somebody should monitor the cancelled requests, and decide if they get points against them.

    14. Randall K said

      The charity thing is a good idea!
      Rather than creating points from thin air to create an incentive to give, you might consider collecting charity from “point-rich but cash-poor” BookMooch donors to distribute to people who want to donate cash to your charities. It would be like a charitable BoB (Bank of BookMooch) that would let people donate points to charities that need cash NOT books in order to encourage others to give cash FOR books. Twice as many people get to give!

    15. Rather than creating points from thin air to create an incentive to give, you might consider collecting charity from “point-rich but cash-poor” BookMooch donors to distribute to people who want to donate cash to your charities

      I *never* create points from thin air, and despite being in charge, I don’t see myself as above the laws the “mooch land”.

      All the mooch points I give in return for cash gifts to charity are coming from the “BookMooch Charitable Fund”, which is funded by gifts from individual mooch members.

      If you chose to “audit” all of BookMooch, you’d find that all points created can be accounted for, and were created according to the rules of the game.

      -john

    16. Emily said

      Rose, I would agree that +0 is appropriate if the mooch was canceled due to a long response time or something like that. But what if the moocher mooches and then simply changes his mind and cancels 15 minutes later? That shouldn’t count against me.

    17. Laura said

      Hey, I think this is an amazing idea. I really like it a lot, and wish it wouldn’t end at the end of 2007 because I’m a student and tend to have a little more money at the beginning of the semester to give (which may sound bad, but is the cost of living on loans sometimes)…. anyway, I hope you’ll consider keeping it after the year ends. Thanks for doing such an awesome job.

    18. Afshin said

      Yes, I agree with Laura as I’m in the same boat. I wish this could be done for an indefinite time as I would have taken part in it come the New Year. But looking at it beyond selfish reasons, I completely admire the work you’ve put into this site. I look forward to seeing more little caveats soon!

      //
      Happy Holidays
      Afshin

    19. Axel said

      Just a simple question. If I donated to one of the charities, how can I exchange the points for it? Is there
      a form to fill out? (I’m a newbie here, so please excuse the maybe-stupid question).

    20. Just wondered if other charities could get in on this somehow. Our non-profit digests about 8 to 10 books a month between myself (executive director) and our board members just to stay current on our topic areas (abuse, rape, domestic violence, legal issues for victims of crime, etc.), to maintain certifications, and to support articles we write. What we tend to find however is that due to the high cost of many professional level publications (many go for $50 or more, even used), most readers tend to sell them on eBay/Amazon rather than making them “moochable”. Wonder if there’s a way to pay extra points for such things to encourage more sharing?

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