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Raising Money for Charity? What a Slime-Ball!

Twestival sign by Billlublin

Twestival sign by Billlublin

Being charitable is one of the three things I think are most important in how we conduct our lives. If you are healthy, you should help someone who is not, if you have eaten, you should help someone who has not in short we should all help people in need. In the final analysis charity is selfish because it makes us feel so good when we help.

Social Media gives us an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to vast audiences and find people who care about the same things we do. As a result the use of social media for charitable causes is of great interest to lots of people.  Some of them you know – Rocky Turner, whose Mothers Fighting for Others is one of my favorite charities, Drew Olanoff whose personal fight with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma spawned the courageous and quirky BlameDrewsCancer, Danny Brown who started the 12 for 12K movement, and of course, Twestival, the social media based charity. Today I got an email on facebook from Danny which said in part;

I just wanted to send this out to you, n case anyone asked about it and you didn’t know what the question was referring to.

Tonight, I was alerted to a very disparaging blog post about the 12for12k project. Not only is it misinformed, to me it also takes away from the immense support you guys offer every month.

Therefore, I have written an official response to the post, which can be found here:

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The original one can be found at the following link:

I decided to publish my response since Barbara Talisman has comment moderation on her post, so there’s no guarantee any response from me will be published.

I’ll let you read both Barbara’s post and Danny’s response, since that’s the easiest way for you to understand both of their positions, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth from the very debate. I’ve had some interaction with Danny, and to the best of my knowledge, though he may receive some recognition for his efforts, he doesn’t receive any money from the funds raised for the various charities.  Though I don’t know Barbara at all, and writing this post about Danny has probably done a lot for her visibility in the world of social media, she seems to make a living by charging charities to raise money for them. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does make her attack on Danny and the use of social media to raise money somewhat self-serving and disingenuous. Perhaps its not. Maybe she just really feels strongly that Danny deserves to be lambasted for raising money for charity without charging them, and that he has the selfish goal f building his online visibility through his charitable efforts.

Me? I don’t get it. No matter whose numbers are right, there are charities that have received money at no expense to them because of Danny’s efforts and the efforts of the others in the 12 for 12K program. I’ve always said that “there is no such thing as a bad profit” – I think that applies here too “There is no such thing as a bad charitable donation”. So no matter whose numbers are right, the effort was a success – peraps larger, perhaps smaller, but a success nonetheless.

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The 12th century philosopher  Maimonides said that there were  different levels of charity – from the lowest to the highest they are:

8. When donations are given grudgingly.
7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.
6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.
5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.
4. When the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor does not know the identity of the recipient.
3. When the donor is aware of the recipient’s identity, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
2. When the donor and recipient are unknown to each other.
1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to seek charity.

Even by these scholarly standards, the form of charity being practiced by our social media friends ranks pretty high -And if their efforts builds recognition for Danny (or Rocky, or Drew) so what? Don’t we want to know who the good people are around us?  Isn’t that knowledge good for us and for them? Doesn’t that extend to us the ability to help and feel better about doing something to make a difference? Isn’t some recognition of  their efforts and their leadership only appropriate (even though its not what any of them seem to seek)?

What do you think?

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Written By

Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.



  1. Ken Brand

    September 24, 2009 at 9:45 am

    I’m afraid I’m guilty of myopic “me” thinking. At least most of the time.

    Your post along with my daughters returning (for 2 weeks) from her Peace Corp post is Africa reminds me of the bigger picture and how important charity, in all it’s forms (money, time, knowledge, support, encouragement, etc.) really is.

    Thanks. I’ll be on the lookout.

    Cheers Bill.

  2. Joe Sheehan

    September 24, 2009 at 10:59 am

    My wife has trained me to question the solicitor of contributions as to how much of the money actually gets to the charity. You would be astounded that usually a large percentage of the donation ( as high as 85-90%) is retained by the solicitor to cover the expenses of the fund raising campaign.

    I support various charities, always directly and always anonymously. I just feel better about doing it that way.

    I don’t have a problem with someone using their reputation, influence and fame to raise awareness for their favorite charity as long as it is done tastefully and does not eclipse the public awareness or the need their charity is trying to convey.

  3. Bill Lublin

    September 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    If you hadn’t raised your daighter so well, the Peace Corps would not have had the benefit of her service – Well done! 😉

    Joe – That whole cost of donations thing was part of the issue around the Danny Brown controversy – though I haven’t met him f2f his charitable work sends all the money to the charity (which may then have overhead before it gets to the needed recipient) and as fas as giving without seeking recognition – I’m with you –

    Thanks for reading

  4. Brian Block

    September 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm


    Maimonides was a smart, sorry, brilliant man. If you read his history, his contributions to philosophy, philanthropy, medicine, science, and religion were astounding.

    By the way, last time I was in Israel, I received a blessing at Maimonides tomb.

    Also, you mention that “Being charitable is one of the three things I think are most important in how we conduct our lives.” While you don’t mention the other two, I think that I can make an educated guess 🙂

  5. Bill Lublin

    September 24, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    @Brian – If healing the world was one of them – you probably have the other one right too! 😉

  6. Brandie Young

    September 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Bill – Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. You have a wonderful heart.

  7. Bill Lublin

    September 24, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Brandie – Thanks so much for your kind words – your heart is pretty special too 😉

  8. Danny Brown

    September 25, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Hi there Bill,

    I just wanted to drop by and say thank you for your reasoned view of the “event”. It was an interesting couple of days, for sure, and I’m sincerely grateful for your support of the 12for12k project.

    Just for the record (and to clear up any gray areas):

    1. You’re correct about the donations. Neither myself nor the 12for12k team receive any funding or “share” of the donations. This is just a group of people giving up their time and expertise free of charge to try and help where we can, however we can.

    2. All charities need to have an administrative cost of less than 10%. This is to ensure that as much of the donations as possible goes straight to those who need it the most, and not some bureaucrat in an office.

    3. I will get an updated donations amount soon (we have to get info from charities where people have sent straight to them in the name of 12for12k), but my guesstimates are that it’s just under the $50,000 mark as I write this.

    Our overall goal from the start is to make long-term change. We know money is a solution, but it’s only a part of the overall solution. That’s why we offer free workshops and social strategies to the non-profits we work with, and we’ve helped ease a few into the social space. Next year we’ll be doing even more of this grassroots level approach – I think supporters new and old will really be excited to take part.

    Thanks again for your support and candor, Bill, really appreciate it.


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