EFF Power Up fundraiser: every dollar you give is matched 2-to-1

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is running a fundraising challenge called "Power Up Your Donation," where every dollar donated is matched two-to-one by a group of major donors. My family has put up part of the $140,000 matching fund, because we're living in a world where technology could go either way: it might end up continuing to empower us and improve our lives, or become the agent of an unimaginably invasive corporate surveillance state. Without EFF and groups like it, we don't stand a chance. I worked for EFF for many years, and I've never seen an organization watch the pennies more closely and make a dollar go further.

Power Up Your Donation | Electronic Frontier Foundation


  1. You should give to the EFF, but you should also be aware that you’re probably not actually causing the EFF to get 3x your donation.  This article explains why:

    we’ve decided not to do this because we would feel dishonest. We’d be advertising that you can “double your gift,” but the truth would be that we just restructured a gift from a six-figure donor that was going to happen anyway. We’ve discussed whether we might be able to provide “true” donation matching – finding a donor who would give to our top charities only on condition that others did – but not surprisingly, everyone we could think of who would be open to making a large gift to our top charities would be open to this whether or not we could match them up with smaller donors.

    Again: give to the EFF – they do critical work and need money.  But be generally wary of hyped up donation drives. The worthiest causes don’t necessarily have the best marketing strategies, but they probably need the money more.

    1. You can only call it an article if it includes the author’s name… otherwise it’s just opinion. You also could’ve included this line from the very same “article” you linked: I don’t deny that non-illusory matching may exist in some other circumstances.. The paper which your link uses as evidence doesn’t even relate directly to the claims made in the givewell post so it all seems like unsubstantiated crap to me.

      Why encourage people to donate while simultaneously derailing the feeling of good will people would feel for donating? If it is truly a matched donation then you’re wrong and doing a disservice to EFF and if it’s not truly a matched donation then you should just let people believe that fiction. Especially if your supporting evidence is so flimsy.

      This is the actual conclusion of the Yale paper:

      First, we find that using leadership gifts as a matching offer considerably increases both the revenue per solicitation and the probability that an individual donates. This finding supports the anecdotal evidence among fundraising consultants on the efficacy of a matching mechanism. Second, at odds with the conventional wisdom, we find that larger match ratios (i.e., $3:$1 and $2:$1) relative to smaller match ratios ($1:$1) have no additional impact. This result directly refutes the integrity of using larger match ratios, and stands in sharp contrast to current fundraising practices.

      1. There’s no doubt that “leadship gifts” (lol) increase donations.  But the reason is because they lead people to believe that by donating now, their donation will cause twice as much (or 3x or 4) money to go to the charity.  That is probably a mistaken belief.  “Leadership donors” may claim that they wouldn’t have donated otherwise, but there’s reason to be skeptical.

        Why encourage people to donate while simultaneously derailing the feeling of good will people would feel for donating?
        If you believe in “ends justify the means” fundraising – i.e. do whatever it takes to separate a donor from their money, because it’s for a good cause – then I can see how my argument would be confusing.

        While I support the EFF and the work they do, I also dislike manipulative marketing, and think it’s harmful to society.  I’m not calling on the EFF to stop such fundraisers, I just want people to reflect carefully on what actually happens when we make a donation, and how the “non-profit industrial complex” really works.  After all, we’re financing this thing, we should keep tabs on it.  Just because it’s a good cause doesn’t mean we should dispense with critical evaluation.  The lack of oversight causes many non-profits to gradually slide into squandering donations or abusing the trust of donors.

        None of that is to say don’t donate – we should be donating more!  But cash is not enough, it’s up to us to keep them in line.

  2. I donated, and I bus tables for a living.

    awright, mofos:  if you’re a regular BB reader, then it’s a given that you’re aligned on the side of a free and open internet.  if you’re reading this comment and you make more than a busboy, I’m calling you out for being a worthless cheapskate if you don’t follow the links and pony up some dough.  I know there’s a lot of professional types on BB; let’s rally here, people.

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