[ always tell stories ]

Why Does Facebook Hate Charity Fundraising?

(ATLANTA - 25 October 2011) “Too big to succeed.” And no, I’m not talking about AIG or Morgan Stanley.

Those horrible four words could be the new-new-new-new Facebook tagline. As the social-networking giant has grown exponentially, it has changed UIs (user interfaces), bells and whistles, functionality, and security preferences more than Tara Reid has changed boyfriends. While Twitter has streamlined and improved without blowing up their core product - and spawning a cottage industry of top-notch Twitter clients - Facebook has seized on an ill-perceived need to change, change and change again.

This issue came to a boiling point while running
ARTvision Atlanta - which, smart as it was at the time, has a Facebook page for the sole purpose of expanding our earnings reach and branding. As many folks have noted (here and here), love it or hate it, Facebook is a critical element in growing exposure to charitable causes.

Among the myriad challenges that charities face, spending time
fixing a fatal code bug on a Facebook page shouldn’t be one of them. (My Googling shows that this is a widespread and as-yet unaddressed issue.) Alas, this is the case with our page now. Without getting into the geeky-gritty of it: Facebook has inexplicably violated its own TOS (terms of service) by allowing administrators to inadvertently change the name of a group with 100+ members by indicating the location of said group. So now, ARTvision Atlanta - which was closing in on 500 members - now reads as its beneficiary, Positive Impact, and the name cannot be changed back.

A group’s name is, last time I checked, the very foundation on which fundraising stands. Our AV page has three years of activity, history, photos and proven sales history that we have abandoned for a new page until Facebook gets off its ass to fix the issue. Sending bug reports, posting on help pages and other pleas for assistance have been systematically denied - because, well, Facebook is just too damn big. At last count, the site has 800 million users and they, by sheer volume, cannot address everything individually.

But is that a good enough reason to refuse help when charitable funds are at stake? This bug rises to a different level entirely when we’re talking about charitable giving. We depend on the networks and reach of Facebook to get word out, and this fatal flaw in their code - being no fault of any user -
must be addressed now. Lest the company go down in history as the giant who got too big for their britches and couldn’t care properly for their philanthropic micro-communities.

When it comes to charitable giving and fundraising, a different urgency should rise through the ranks. And if this post helps to fix the overall bug itself, fine by me. In the meantime, please
visit our new Facebook page and forgive the occasional grumble from me. - WP

Big HT and shout out to WannaBAuthor for the awesome devilish FB image.

Blogger’s note: I will be blogging at the
ARTvision site from here until the end of the year.

UPDATE: After hitting hard, Facebook came back and addressed the Group name issue. We now are back in business as ARTvision Atlanta on Facebook! Of course, they attributed it to our mistake. But I don’t care... as long as we have the real name back.

A 'Carefully Orchestrated' Look At Artistry

ARTvision-5 is in full swing! Make sure to check it out... We’ve got Julia Murney’s photography, new artists Delia Cochran and Jason Maynard - and the list goes on! The below post is from one of my pieces, available now. Here is the related post:

Bullying in schools is on the rise. More and more soldiers return with PTSD from Iraq and Afghanistan. A number of inexplicable flashes of violence have soiled our social landscape - most of them random and bloody, tearing apart families and communities alike.

Here’s another shade to add to 2010’s dark side: the spate of youth suicides this year within the gay and lesbian community.

So what’s actually going on?

There are myriad reasons for this and the other, aforementioned issues - not the least of which is
understanding, or lack thereof. Put simply: we do too much shouting and not enough listening. Without bearing true witness - to our surroundings, our family, coworkers, our environment, our internal balance, to name a few - our understanding becomes deeply diminished. Extinguished, in some cases, like a flame in a harsh wind.

And it’s to our societal detriment, for sure, this penchant for applause lines to an enamored audience; or a deaf ear to different opinions. Do we hear each other, even in disagreement, or do we just passively and disconnectedly tolerate each other when mystery or unfamiliarity arises? (
Check out Frank Rich’s piece on the Smithsonian’s capitulation to just such a power.) Contrarianism is on the rise, and yet it’s not giving us the spark of change that the effort seeks.

Holding your nose while someone else opines just cuts off your breathing - and you forfeit the chance for greater learning.

The Carefully Orchestrated Revival of Joy and Hope,” one of my pieces for ARTvision-5 this year, was created as a message to persuade those who might choose to bully, to invade privacy, to deny rights, or just simply be an asshole to stand down and rethink their actions. (It’s a reminder to me, too, to stay on the path I’m on, and to constantly improve.) People are not “haters” because they disagree with something you’re doing or saying; in the same way, someone isn’t likely to incite violence just because they own a gun.

”The Carefully Orchestrated Revival of Joy and Hope,” by Will Pollock

“Carefully Orchestrated” was shot in Augusta, Ga., while on location at St. John United Methodist Church. While Jason’s orchestra was rehearsing for Westobou Festival, I listened to the gorgeous acoustics of the church and photographed a stained-glass window to capture the emergent glow behind the beautiful colors - and its understated illumination spoke volumes. It was at that moment that I realized how important it is to actively observe as a means to develop understanding.

This isn’t about political correctness. No, it’s about
putting the English language to its best use. “Tolerate,” my friends, is a dead, nefarious and empty word when used this way. We should discard it like the ratty, used hanky that it is.

What should be in its place? “Acceptance.”

tolerates chemotherapy - you do not tolerate someone’s lifestyle, someone’s opinions, someone’s soul. Some politicians and pundits proudly say “tolerance” is part of how they deal with differences as if it were badge of honor, and that’s a whole steaming pile of horseshit. And they know it, yet they keep using that word as if it were Gandhi-esque.

Even when well-intended, “tolerance” feels hollow and strange. We should retire it in favor of acceptance. Along the lines of: “I accept you. You are a child of the universe, and deserve to be here just like anyone else. I can disagree in quiet, direct ways without hurting you or others around you. I understand.”

Young men like
Tyler Clementi, the promising musician and student at Rutgers, could have used that sort of understanding, that type of care with actions and words, but he didn’t get it. So, this piece is dedicated to him and other gay youth who should know and have been reminded this year that life does, in fact, get better when you take the time to live and speak with dignity and understanding.

Just making the effort will speak volumes.
- WP

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Partying With Purpose & Impact

We came together at The Granite Room to kick-off the giving season with a bang... and I even got to sing with Alexis Vear.

Next up? ARTvision 2009. Watch for details soon.

Notes from the YouTube video:

“Atlanta's own Positive Impact threw its second-annual "Parties with Impact" gala at The Granite Room in Castleberry Hill. Alexis Vear (accompanied by guitarist Matthew Smith) headlined the event, with clips including "Step Out," a song Alexis wrote about Eddie's Attic; as well as covers of "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 - a duet with Will Pollock (additional backing vocals by Todd Price). Videography by Will Pollock & Todd Price; edited by Will Pollock. ARTvision 2009 sales launch on December 1st. For more, visit www.positiveimpact-atl.org.”


Ryan White Funding At Risk For Georgia HIV & AIDS Agencies - Act Now!

(ATLANTA :: 25 September 2009) - Positive Impact, AID Atlanta and many other Atlanta- and Georgia-based organizations rely on funding from the Ryan White Care Act. And the deadline to extend and/or renew looms in a few days.

With Congress atwitter about the healthcare debate, many eyes are off the ball and we need to focus to make sure this funding is not interrupted.

I just left a voice message with Sen. Isakson’s office, and his page crashed when I tried to send the following e-mail:


The subject says it all, and you should make that an official topic in your pull-down menu. This is a HUGE deal for HIV agencies in the state of Georgia and it's not getting sufficient play - either in the media or from your public statements.”

Please take a moment to contact his office. Here’s his info:

Washington, DC Office
120 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3643/ Fax: (202) 228-0724

Georgia Office
One Overton Park, Suite 970
3625 Cumberland Boulevard
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 661-0999/Fax: (770) 661-0768

Sen. Isakson, give your constituents the chance to e-mail you directly about this and other important issues. SHAME ON YOU.

Last, since this is a national-funding program, no matter where you live it’s important to let your representatives in the House and Senate know that reauthorizing Ryan White funding is critical to HIV services everywhere. Click here to find out how to get contact info for your representatives.

Give ‘em hell!

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Making A 'Positive Impact' With Broad-based HIV Prevention

(ATLANTA :: 1 Dec. 2008) - With the world's attention culminating again today, Dec. 1, each year we get a little closer to understanding how HIV and AIDS affects Atlanta, the country and the rest of the world.

On the 20th annual
World AIDS Day, I'm happy to announce the official launch of ARTvision's Web site... our third year of bringing together artists and buyers in the name of charity. We have a record number of donating artists this year and have already sold our first piece - with hopefully more to follow!

Positive Impact is our beneficiary. Get to know them... We embark on ARTvision's month-long fundraising drive for a reason - PI is in very real need of funds to sustain their HIV prevention programs and to help offset leasing costs and the economic downturn. A wide range of price points - from $50 to $800 - means you have lots of opportunities to help PI make a good chunk of change. (browse now)

So, an ARTvision purchase is a direct and unfettered statement of support for PI's broad-based prevention and treatment services, which are now coming from
a more macro perspective, expanded from a sex-behavior theory to a total lifestyle ideology.

ARTvision is the perfect chance to lock in a last-minute tax deduction, support a great organization and receive some snazzy artwork in the process.

Watch the site this week as we load more artists. Let's make some cash! - WP