Are you going to have a run-off poll with the top choices, given that there were so many (and given the fact that you may not catch all the vote tampering, or that if one charity was vastly in the lead it might have affected peoples' votes)? Just curious.
Hi, Julie@1: The fact of the matter is that we just don't have time for a runoff poll. To get into the business of it a little bit: We need a Strangercrombie charity now so that our lovely ad people can start collecting materials to auction. I hope we can do a runoff structure next year, because that is a great idea. I also hope we'll have more of a system in place to catch vote tampering before it starts, rather than after.
No worries, they all sounded worthy to me. Except the Senior Services one, since it will obviously be unnecessary once Obama's death panels are instituted.
i am sorry that you have to deal with this as i am sure it is not a very fun task. i was upset yesterday when i went to spread the word to my housemates that they needed to cast their vote and saw a huge spike in the senior citizen charity from the time that i was at work. i already smelt foul play and i am glad that you guys are handling this the way you are. hope everything works out.
I agree, what with the UNHC death camps, giving money to a seniors group is pretty much a waste of time.
Paul, I'm repeating an earlier comment 'cause I think it's germane. I think the way you're doing this is crap. You're making non-profits compete against each other to see who has the biggest network. It has nothing to do with who is providing a better service and everything to do with who has more names in their Outlook contacts.

Why don't you do what every responsible donor does when making a grant? Come out and see the places, find out about the services, meet the people involved, and find out exactly what they'd do with 50K. Profile the staff and clients in the paper, and let us know who you want to support and why. People bidding on Strangercrombie like your writers and have a reasonable amount of faith in your judgments. You're journalists for Pete's sake. Do the legwork.
wow. some major assumptions here re: foul play on the Senior Services end. There are actually people in the city that think that services for the elderly deserve some attention and money. We live in a culture where people are discounted when they get older and our lack of community makes it really hard to age well in place. I work for Senior Services and when made aware of this sent an email to All Staff. And they spread to their networks. So maybe it's that people actually want to see Senior Services benefit from Strangercrombie.
I agree 100% with Gurldoggie - this is potentially far too much money to be given away in such a haphazard fashion. But if the stranger feels that they want to respect the voice of the people, I complete respect that. In that case, at a minimum, this poll should have been done with a captcha to prevent vote bots. Preferably, you should limit to one vote per validated email address.
Gurldoggie @6 makes a damn good point.
@ 6 I kind of agree, but hopefully the Stranger has done enough checking into the charities that were options to think that ALL of them were worthy causes to donate a bunch of money to. I don't see anything wrong with picking a pool of equally worthy charities and then letting people vote among them.
I agree with @7 that we don't need to be accusing any charities of foul play; that's like the opposite of what we're trying to do here. I'm assuming that the click-happy voters are fans of the charities with good intentions, and I suggest you assume the same thing.

@6: Frankly, my answer is that I was given the Strangercrombie gig for the first time a week ago and we needed a charity this week. I can make suggestions for next year, though. I appreciate your ideas.
For what it's worth, I agree with gurldoggie as well. What happened with Northwest Harvest, anyhow?
@ 6 FTW

As I said yesterday, give the top 4 charities 25% each. Then there is no reason to compete for #1, and encourage voting fraud. Choose a worth top 10 list, then do a random lottery ball drawing at a SLOG Happy event in the future.

It's not this hard folks....

There is no reason to give 100% to 1 group. Having multiple recipients expands the interest from a wider variety of donors, who might not give to a particular cause that doesn't sit well with them. Having multiple recipients also expands the visibility and good will to a wider audience.

Or so it seems to me...
I voted for the senior charity too. My logic: I eliminated the charities for children; either they already have people taking care of them or they're going to be fucked anyway. I eliminated the ones for the homeless (GET A JOB) and the housing-assistance (If you can't afford it, don't buy it!) and the low-income health care (Obama's already on it). That left Senior Services. I couldn't find any grinchy reason to eliminate them -- everybody gets old, and when you're old it's easy to fall on hard times through no fault of your own, and a little assistance can make a big difference to the elderly. So, I voted for them. Although only once. Maybe other people came to the same logic.
First I would say that the Stranger auction/giveaway is a great idea/tradition and I really don't want the good Stranger folks to decide it's too much of a PITA and not worth the hassle. they're doing something good, people. Gurldoggie has a point, but I think it's unrealistic for the Stranger to set up an official funding cycle. See my first point... OTOH, I don't think it's too much to ask that staff spend a little time and get to know the nominated agencies (with that comes giving whoever's in charge enough lead time to do so) and just make a decision and forgo the popularity contest.

All of the options looked super worthy to me. There were 3 in particular I felt strongly about, and I voted for the one where I thought the money would have the biggest impact per dollar, based on what little I knew about their funding. I love the idea of having the proceeds go to more than one organization.
I like @13's idea. Take out the "extra votes", and split the money between the orgs that received more than say, 15% or 20% of the vote. Four might be too many, but 2 or 3 would be just right.

And, nobody's impugning Senior Services here. I'm sure it's a great organization and that plenty of people voted for it on its merits. But Paul has said that there were voters who were unfairly skewing the results, so one would assume that that was occurring for either Banchero, Senior Services, or Country Doctor (since they were the top three).
It's not a popularity contest. It's seeking reader input.
Un-united Way.
I would also like to second the sentiment put forth @15. (I'll post an original thought sooner or later.) Regardless of how you guys choose your recipient, the Stranger is doing a damn good thing with Strangercrombie. Thanks.

Again, I'm new at all this, but here's why I think we don't split the funds between two or more charities: For one thing, it confuses the message. I think when our salespeople ask for auction products, it's an easier sell if they say it's for one thing: For the kids, for the seniors, etc. I have enough friends who do non-profit work to know that you have to have a really basic pitch if you want people to be interested. Four different charities would be a mouthful, and kind of a muddle, to pitch.

For two: It's not like we have an annual grant. There's not a set amount we give every year. We're running an auction in a very difficult financial environment. Plus, I have no idea what I'm doing. What if, for whatever reason (probably a tremendous failure on my part), we only raised 10,000 dollars this year and had to split that four ways? It's true that it would be 2500 dollars more than the charities had before, but it wouldn't make the huge difference for the charity that we'd want it to.

But again, we did discuss those ideas because you all brought them up, and I'm glad we discussed them. Maybe we'll revisit that idea for next year, too. Thanks.
Doesn't this discriminate against all the UW students who voted in the libraries with the same IP?
Fair enough Paul. I appreciate the update. I thought when you go out to solicit support for your event that you are selling the "StrangerCrombie Auction" as an event onto itsself.

If you were to be up front with a prospective donor and say "Hi I'm Paul from the Stranger, and we are doing our annual community fundraising event. I'm here to solicit your support." and then you would go on to explain that in an effort to spread the word on all of the worthy causes in the community, each year The Stranger does a public lottery to select from a pre-qualified list of charities that meet a certain benchmark (whose criteria would be determined in the future by a Stranger committee for the next StrangerCrombie)...

By having a minimum set of qualification criteria, everything is up front and out in the open, and the yearly recipients will continue to be varied and random, and of course all would be worthy having passed the initial "qualifications" test.

It could still be done, but I understand you are time pressed.

Things to chew on for the future from someone who has organized these things in the past.

@21: Will, I explained this in the post.

@22: That qualification critieria is a good suggestion. Thank you.
I agree with 22, and also - the StrangerCrombie is becoming a brand (gag with the corporate speak, but it fits) in itself. StrangerCrombie has been going on long enough that people will donate for the auction without having the hard-core sell on WHICH organization it is, because the auction itself is recognized for doing something good for the community. Having the qualification criteria will only strengthen that position... that way you could even start soliciting donations before the organization is selected.

All thoughts for future years, I realize...

#23 you mentioned it in the post, but you didn't actually explain how you were going to deal with it.
@23 - yeah, I know, but script kiddies need cash too.
Are the results on the poll page the official count?

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