Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Worldbuilders FAQ - (And a critique of Batman)

This is the FAQ for the Worldbuilder's fundraiser. If you have a question, please check to see f the answer is here before sending me a message.

If you want details about the fundraiser, click HERE.

  • "When does the Fundraiser end?"
January 15th. Make sure to make your donations before then to take advantage of matching funds and to be included in the prize lottery.

  • "I love that you're doing this. Can I post about this on my blog?"
Nothing would make me happier. The fundraiser depends on everyone spreading the word. Tell your friends on Myspace. Twitter it. Post up a link of facebook. The more the merrier.

That said, I would prefer if you would link to my blog, rather than trying to copy-and-paste my post. That 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 can I be a Worldbuilders sponsor like Subterranean Press?"
If you're really interested, drop me a message at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com

  • "What's our current donation total?"

Click Here to Donate

  • "I plan on donating to Heifer Int'l this year as a gift to my parents. In the past, donating directly, I received a card verifying the donation. If I donate through your page will I still receive the same type of gift card/verification?"
For those of you who are new to Heifer, this is the card he's talking about:

(Click to Embiggen)

Heifer has sent me a bunch of the gift cards. If you've donated on my page and you want one of the cards. Drop me an e-mail at paperback.contest [squigly atsign thinger] gmail.com and I'll mail one (or more) out to you.

  • "Can I donate to Heifer International using paypal?"
Nope. Sorry. But if you have Paypal, I'm guessing you have a credit card. You can use that to donate directly onto my page.

  • "I don't have a credit card. If I mail you a check will you enter me in the lottery and match my donation?"

  • "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 and send that to me. I'll enter you in the lottery, and double your donation.

  • "If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? The first prize your name is drawn for? The Coolest prize your name is drawn for? How will that work?"
Here's how it will work.

Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.

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.

You bet. Personally, I can't think of a better way of keeping The Man away from your money.

  • "I have something I'd like to donate to your lottery option. Where can I send it?"
Well... before you drop that macrame owl into the mail, why don't you drop me an e-mail at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com and tell me what you're thinking of sending.

It's not that I don't appreciate your generosity, and it's not that I have anything against macrame. Or owls. It's just that right now we kind of have a tight focus of things we're giving away as prizes. It's mostly SFF books with a little associated music. For now, I think it might be best if we keep that focus.

  • "How come you didn't invite me to donate a book to your fundraiser? Isn't my book good enough for you?"
If I know you and I didn't send you a request, it's probably because I don't feel like I know you well enough to come begging for donations. I know this is hard to believe, but I am kinda bashful about things like that.

The other possibility is that I lost your e-mail, or that it just slipped my mind. I do have a new baby in the house, and things are kinda Chaotic around here.

But if you've got a book or an ARC you think would fit in into the mix, I'd love to include it. Send it to:

Pat Rothfuss
P.O BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

  • "How come you're only matching 50% of the donations this year? Last year you matched everything dollar for dollar."
While last year was fun, it kinda used up all my money. When I donated that 58,000 dollars, it left me pretty much broke.

Because of some foreign sales (Thanks Germany!) I managed to pay my taxes and put some more money in the bank. But I worry that if the fundraiser takes off again this year, I'll have to sell my house or something to match all the donations.

Plus I have a baby now. I've got to be a little bit of a grown-up and save some money on Oot's behalf.

  • "Can I do some fundraising of my own, then donate it and have you match it?"
By all means. Have a bakesale. Search under the couch cushions at your friends' houses. Show people at work the website then pass the hat. I'm matching donations from any and all who want to chip in.

But make sure you get it in by January 15th. And make sure you donate through THE PAGE I SET UP. That's the only way I can track donations.

  • "I can buy chicks on your page, but not baby ducks!"

Yeah. They don't offer all the different options on the donor pages. The cost of a flock of ducks is the same as for the chicks: $20.

"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, then use a very small amount of it for the intended purpose.

But trust me that I've done my research. 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 75% of everything it collects go directly toward helping people.

Here's a nice visual breakdown from Heifer's site.

You can see here that less than seven 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?"
Everyone has their favorite charity. As I said a year ago when I started the first fundraiser, I know there are a lot of good causes out there, and people have very personal attachments to them. Emotions run high in these areas.

Someone contacted me asking about animal shelters, another about diabetes. A third person posted a comment on the blog, arguing that people living in the US shouldn't give money to charities that support causes outside the US. I erased the post because it was harshing my groove, then I felt guilty about it because the person was very polite in making their point.

But here's what I'm getting at. I think it's important not to go all Bruce Wayne in these situations.

Follow along with me on this. Bruce Wayne's folks were killed by criminals, so he grows up and becomes Batman in order to fight crime. Because he hates crime. Because his parents were killed by crime.

Now I like Batman as much as the next guy. Good stories. Batarangs. Men in tights. He's probably my favorite superhero.

But the fact is, his whole Batman deal is pretty self-indulgent.

Think about it. Dude is a multi-billionaire. If he wanted to make the world a better place, he could create a foundation 100 times bigger than Heifer International. He could build shelters for battered women, schools in low-income neighborhoods. Sustainable agriculture. Renewable energy.

What does he do with his money? He builds super-gadgets so he can fight crime. Drives a rocket car.

Yes I know that Bruce Wayne is also a philanthropist. Don't quibble. He does a tiny bit of charity, and a whole big shitload of being Batman.

Why? Well... because it wouldn't be much of a comic if he didn't. But the other answer is, he fights crime because it makes him feel good. Not because it does good. There's a difference.

Cancer got my mom not too long ago, and it took a good hard swing at my dad, too. That means that I should be raising money for cancer research because I hate cancer, right?

Well.... no. Do I hate cancer? Of course. But if I just focused on fighting cancer for the rest of my life, I'd kind of be doing it for selfish reasons. Instead, I'd rather focus on making people's lives better. I'd like to focus on doing good, then let the feeling good be the side effect.

That's why I'm focusing on Heifer. They help people all over the world, not just here in the US. Why? Because people all over the world have it really shitty and they need help. To say that some people deserve my help more just because they're from the same country.... Nah. That's not my game. I'm playing for team human, not team USA.

Does that make sense? Wait.... What was the question again?

Oh. Yeah. Will I match donations somewhere else instead of Heifer? Respectfully, I'll pass. I'm not saying you should stop loving your charity. But I've put some thought into this, and I'm going to stick with Heifer for now.

If you have questions that aren't answered here, post them in the comments below and I'll answer them as soon as I'm able...

To go back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.


posted by Pat at


Anonymous Juju said...

On behalf of Germany let me tell you: You're very very welcome!
Good luck with the fund-raiser!

December 1, 2009 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a German I'm very glad that I could help saving your house ;).
And thanks for putting so much work into the fundraiser. It's awsome!

December 1, 2009 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, Heifer International's site says that they currently have 27 projects underway in the US. Thus, anyone who's worried about sending charitable donations outside the US can feel better about donating and hopefully donate more than they would have otherwise.

Best of luck with the fundraiser!

December 1, 2009 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, you ended up giving $58,000 last year? You should really figure how much you can stand to give and cap your matching funds at that. That way you know exactly how much cash you'll be parting with. I'd be wary of open-ended engagements.

You're an adult! You need to ensure that your family is taken care of first.


December 1, 2009 11:18 PM  
Blogger Nik said...

This post has been removed by the author.

December 2, 2009 6:25 AM  
Blogger wirelessrobin said...

YAY I'm excited that the fundraiser is going on till Jan 15th :) that means I can actually participate!!!

Pat, you are the coolest! Not many people would do the things you do :) or go to the lengths you do to do it. And to do it personally like you do. (haha that's a lot of "do's")

December 2, 2009 1:45 PM  
Blogger Dunkeltroll said...

OK, us Germans are totally taking over here... ;-)

Stupid (mindfuck) question: say I would like to donate and have the chance to win something cool. But in the post about selling signed books, you declare international shipping costs to be about 25$. So - if I donate 10$ and win, won't you LOOSE money?

And how does betterworldbooks manage to send their stuff for 3.95$ ?!?

December 3, 2009 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Chelsey said...

Wow Pat - keep up the incredible work. I really enjoyed this blog - definitely makes sense to me. Thank you for making such a huge difference in people's lives. Good luck! :)

December 3, 2009 1:59 PM  
Blogger Tiffanee said...

It does not give the gift card option when one orders through your team page. I emailed Heifer about it (this year and last). Could you maybe send them a line also? Thank you. Awesome fundraiser! We gave my mother-in-law bees last year, and she said that is all she wants this year:).

December 4, 2009 8:16 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I'll check about the gift cards....

December 5, 2009 3:31 AM  
OpenID educatedpony said...

can somebody help the dumb fashion girl?

so what i don't understand is, when i donate money through PR's worldbuilder page...do i get entered into a raffle to win EVERYTHING? like, anything that's out there? like i could win a signed book, i could win a draccus, i could win the golden ticket?


if i go to the link am i entering to win in SPECIFIC contests such as win the draccus poster, win the magicians?

i'm sure this answer is very obvious, i just sometimes need a hand to see the nose on my face. don't judge.


December 6, 2009 6:54 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

If you donate money on my team heifer page, you enter a general lottery to win one of the books. The posters aren't in the lottery at all, if you want one of those, you have to buy one.

December 7, 2009 1:31 AM  
Blogger Hudson said...

This post has been removed by the author.

December 7, 2009 1:33 PM  
OpenID educatedpony said...

so some stuff is lottery and some stuff either has a price or is up for a bid. okey-dokey.

thank you!

December 7, 2009 7:55 PM  
Blogger Bridget said...

I'd still pay 20 bucks for a wordle (http://www.wordle.net/) poster of NOTW. Maybe more.

Not that I won't pay for some baby geese or goats (I do so anyway), but above and beyond?

December 13, 2009 8:19 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I just donated through the page and there was nowhere to get cards either (I was very slow and careful to make sure I didn't miss it). :(
Bummer since I've been getting these for my parents and sister for a few years now since I couldn't afford anything more meaningful. I can afford more now but I still want to give them the cards so I guess I won't be entering the raffle more than I already have. *sigh*

December 15, 2009 7:29 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I'm working out the card thing....

December 15, 2009 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Flick said...

This question has probably already been answered, but I can't seem to discover the answer for myself. If I were to send you a cheque in the mail do I send it to your PO Box?

December 17, 2009 4:41 PM  

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