Q:What does this SilentPledge thing do?
A:It lets members of a group contribute money to a cause without other members of the group knowing how much they contribute. BUT, it lets everyone in the group know how much of the needed money has been contributed.
1) A member of the group creates a pledge page indicating how much money the group wants to raise, the purpose for the money, and where (and how) to send the money.
2) He emails everybody in the group with the web address of the page and asks them to go to the page and pledge.
3) Members of the group go to that web page and anonymously pledge part (or all) of the money the group is trying to raise. Each time a member pledges the page shows the new Amount raised so far, so everyone can see how much has been pledged.
4) The members individually - and privately - send in the money they pledged.
Result: By looking at the page everybody knows how much money has been raised, so they can make additional pledges if they desire to make up a shortfall, but nobody else in the group knows how much anybody else has given.
Q:How about showing me an example?
A:Sure. Here you go ...
Q:What does it cost?
A:Nothing. It's free
Q:Is my information secure?
A:Short answer: no.
Long answer: The information on your pledge page is the only information we collect (Okay, okay; the server also collects basic log information, just as - I think - all servers do), and while the information you type in is not secure, it is certainly OBscure. We give you a messy web address that is unlikely to be guessed. It looks something like this:
The only information we collect is:
Currency type (dollars, euros, yen, pounds, whatever)
Pledge goal (an amount of money)
Number of days the pledge remains online. Maximum 365 days.
Then, we delete your information from our database after your pledge page expires. Not instantly, but occasionally.
Still, until your page is deleted, anybody who learns or guesses your web address can access the information on your pledge page.
Moral: Don't put anything on the page you don't want the world to see.
Q:What could go wrong?
God only knows, but a few possible failure points are:
Someone who does not like your group could discover the web address, go there, and submit a fake pledge to mess things up for you.
Similarly, such a person could discover things you have written on the page you don't want them to know.
People might forget to send in the pledges they make.
I could stumble upon the pledge page and decide it is beyond the pale and delete it.
The world could come to an end.
Q:How do I create an account?
A:You can't. Usernames and passwords annoy me and I don't want to add to their number if I can avoid it. Also, I don't want to be responsible for safeguarding your personal information.
Q:What do you do with the information I enter?
A:Display it on your pledge page, then delete it sometime after your pledge page expires.
Q:How did you come up with this?
A:I am a Christian, and my Bible study group learned that a missionary family we know and love faced a two-year, up-front rental payment. (That is actually common in some parts of the world.) We wanted to do something as a group to help. But we're a varied group. Some are well off, some not so much. So if we did something as a group how would the better-off members avoid looking like show-offs if they gave a lot and how would those with less to give avoid the embarassment of giving little? And what about those who didn't want to give at all to this particular project? Jesus' command kept coming to mind:
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. (Matthew 6:3)
So, I came up with an early version of this tool, and everybody seemed pleased with it. Nobody knew what anybody else gave but everybody knew how much we raised. Since it was a success I thought others in the big world might find it useful. So here it is.
Q:Do you offer any guarantees?
A:None whatsoever. You use this tool entirely at your own risk, including the risk that we may remove information you have entered at any time and for any reason or for no reason at all.
Q:Are you doing anything else cool on the Internet?
A:Here are a few things. MemorizeNow.com helps you memorize stuff, like passages from the Bible. ArtsyNote.com lets you write cute messages to friends that slowly type out on the screen. PrayForDenmark.com has things to pray about for the church in the country of Denmark. OpenUpper.com lets you open a favorite set of websites at a single click.
Q:Who owns this and how can I contact you?
A:SilentPledge.com is owned by Avenue M, LLC, a California Corporation. If you didn't find the answer to your question here or want to report a bug or suggest an enhancement, you can contact me at brad AT bradhaugaard DOT com. This is a very part-time task, so I'm not sure I'll be able to respond quickly. Thanks for your patience.