Funds for SETI@Home


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Profile Bill Turner
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Message 1309864 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 18:13:48 UTC

I was curious, and go ahead and shut the thread down if this has already been discussed, but has anyone ever thought about starting a kickstarter project to raise funds for this project. I figure if hipster musicians can raise 25k to produce and distibute crappy music, we can maybe do the same. Just a random thought going through my head during the downtime.

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Message 1309879 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 18:41:53 UTC

PM mark Sattler and have a chat :-)

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Message 1309947 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 22:19:32 UTC - in response to Message 1309864.

how about over priced team seti t-shirts.
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Message 1309949 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 22:24:33 UTC - in response to Message 1309947.

how about over priced team seti t-shirts.

That would not be a bad idea....
The t-shirt thingy has not been done for some time now.

The thought of a Seti paraphernalia store has been bandied about now and again, but I don't know how it could be administered.

The meager Seti staff certainly doesn't have the time to be wrapping up coffee cups, pens, and toasters for shipment.....LOL.
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Message 1309961 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 22:50:49 UTC - in response to Message 1309949.

how about over priced team seti t-shirts.

That would not be a bad idea....
The t-shirt thingy has not been done for some time now.

The thought of a Seti paraphernalia store has been bandied about now and again, but I don't know how it could be administered.

The meager Seti staff certainly doesn't have the time to be wrapping up coffee cups, pens, and toasters for shipment.....LOL.

There's several companies specialising in selling shirt/mugs/etc for websites and others that wants to have their own merchandise. You design it and they take care of the rest, and you get a payment once a month.

But please don't choose CafePress like everyone else in the US. You could use Spreadshirt and set up an US and an Europe shop, that way there's cheaper shipping, faster shipping and no customs (for USA & EU, sorry the rest of the world).

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Message 1309962 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 22:56:04 UTC

SETI has to get it past the UCB Trustees first.

There was a BOINC / S@H store at one point. The company that administered it did not do a good job and it made no money. It was subsequently canceled.
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Message 1309976 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 23:46:54 UTC

T-shirts, mugs and logo-stuff in general always end up being a bad idea. The profit margin (less than $2.00 per shirt) always ends up "costing" the project more than you can imagine. If somebody buys a t-shirt, they feel like they've donated $20 to s@h, and they frequently consider that to be their donation for the year. Donations to the project always seem to drop off substantially when merchandise is offered for sale. The last time there was a t-shirt sale, it was done entirely at cost (plus Uli-belle's generous volunteer time), and only in celebration of a s@h anniversary.

This project is held together with a ball of twine and a roll of Scotch tape, and it has been for a long, long, time. The best support possible, if you are able to do so, is a donation to offset costs wherever needed. And in return, we all get these nifty little green stars!!!

Thank you to all who donate time, power, hardware and funds. Seti@home would not exist without you.

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Message 1309980 - Posted: 24 Nov 2012, 23:58:58 UTC - in response to Message 1309976.
Last modified: 24 Nov 2012, 23:59:54 UTC

T-shirts, mugs and logo-stuff in general always end up being a bad idea. The profit margin (less than $2.00 per shirt) always ends up "costing" the project more than you can imagine. If somebody buys a t-shirt, they feel like they've donated $20 to s@h, and they frequently consider that to be their donation for the year. Donations to the project always seem to drop off substantially when merchandise is offered for sale.

You have a good point there.

The thread starter suggested using Kickstarter for crowd funding and that could be a good idea if the right project and incentives could be found. A good Kickstarter project would NOT be "money for one more year of operation", it would have to be something more sexy. Merchandise could be part of the incentive though.

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Message 1309981 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 0:01:07 UTC - in response to Message 1309976.

Perhaps donate $1000 and get some freebie swag. Something more akin to a donation to a museum or the like.

As for those green stars, idea, caution lead balloon ahead:
How about the green star going to outline after a year? Want it solid, donate again.

How about a couple of other colors? Perhaps red when your donations reach $1000, blue when they reach $5000 and gold at $10,000? Again they can go to an outline if the last donation is over a year old.

Now that would be a thought, see how many could reach a gold star rather than chase RAC.

Hey, for $25,000 get a bronze name plate on a server.

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Message 1309989 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 0:23:28 UTC - in response to Message 1309980.

A good Kickstarter project would NOT be "money for one more year of operation", it would have to be something more sexy.


My friend, you have hit the heart of the problem directly!!!

I have worked for a large not-for-profit hospital for almost 24 years. Donors love to buy equipment!!! If my hospital needs some sort of fancy scanner or whatnot, it is actually easier to have a fundraising drive to purchase that piece of equipment than it is to collect unrestricted donations for general operating costs. I, personally, am a "general operating cost" for my hospital. As a pediatric speech pathologist, I sit on the floor all day long and help teach children with special needs to use language meaningfully and effectively. Even though I am sooooooooooooo good that I can teach a rock to talk, I am not nearly as "sexy" and a big machine that flashes and goes "beeeeeeep"!

The same basic outlook applies to this project. There have been some wonderful funding drives over the years to buy equipment. I have participated in some of them myself. Staff members are grateful for all the fantastic pieces of hardware that have been purchased, but unrestricted funds to cover staff costs are a really big need and the reason you all get those pesky little emails asking for your money. I am sorry to report that Eric, Matt and Jeff are just not as "sexy" as a server.

Since 2001 the staff of seti@home has gone from seven people to three. These are difficult economic times and non-profits everywhere have felt the sting. Please donate to the charities close to your heart, whatever they may be.


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Message 1310002 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 0:58:36 UTC - in response to Message 1309989.

I am sorry to report that Eric, Matt and Jeff are just not as "sexy" as a server.

The guys of Seti calendar?

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Message 1310005 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 1:03:53 UTC - in response to Message 1309989.

For my health I will not speculate on whether, or to what degree, Angela, Eric, Matt and Jeff are sexy. I would however very much like to see that talking rock. ;)

Is there anything that goes "beeeep" that is usually paid from the general fund that could be crowd funded freeing up general funds for staff costs?

I think that donor packages to get people to donate larger sums like suggested by Gary Charpentier is a good idea too. Worth looking into.

I believe Slavac from GPUUG is trying to apply for grants too. And he needs help.

We have to think outside the box, not sit still and wait for the funds to dry up completely.

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Message 1310008 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 1:16:31 UTC - in response to Message 1309976.

"This project is held together with a ball of twine and a roll of Scotch tape, and it has been for a long, long, time. The best support possible, if you are able to do so, is a donation to offset costs wherever needed. And in return, we all get these nifty little green stars!!!
"

They have Scotch tape?!? When did that come in? Wow those Coddled Scientists..
Such luxury!

Seriously though the hardware donations that so many have tried to help with are a drop in the bucket. But hopefully they help make better use on sadly limited manpower resources at the lab.
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Message 1310059 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 6:26:32 UTC

My initial idea (and please let me know if I'm on the wrong path) is I'd like to see a kickstarter or other crowd funding project get set up. I'm sure everyone, or at least most people know of kickstarter. Great pros... ITS FREE!! If we get funded, we'd just have to hand over a percentage over to kickstarter as a thanks for helping us get funded. It's got viral potential (twitter/facebook). And we'd have 3 months to get funded. We'd just have to make a smart decision on how much we'd want to set the bar at in case we dont hit the mark or else we get nothing. Then we'd have to come up with some kid of reward for the folks that donate...bumper stickers, shirts, trips to Aericabo, etc...

I'm quite committed to helping get a few more bucks in the pockets of the project and want as many folks that are willing to be on board!

Cheers!

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Message 1310084 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 8:38:14 UTC
Last modified: 25 Nov 2012, 8:43:47 UTC

Have a word with GPUUG, they are pretty good at getting funds rolling, and have funded a few servers, piles of disks and so on.
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=69010

As for merchandise, great idea, but as others have said the margins are pathetic unless you can guarantee humungous sales of each item you are talking 10% (or less) of takings going to the charity/concern.




(Edited to correct my fingers not working until caffeine level correct...)
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Message 1310152 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 13:43:53 UTC - in response to Message 1310059.

I like the Kickstarter idea. But what would the actual project objectives be?

A good project is vital for success at Kickstarter. Rewards are the easy part.

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Message 1310178 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 16:03:14 UTC - in response to Message 1310152.

Like others have mentioned previously, trying to get people to buy into saving a scientific project won't work. People tend to want to donate to things that they can be a part of, not necessarily bring back to life. I know projects with video presentations are always funded more to those that dont, which makes sence considering that the majority of people dont like to read anymore. Tell potential donors that we're needing finds to upgrade servers, add disk space, etc..

These are just some of my thoughs, but the way I see it, the sooner we can get something put together the better off we'll all be.

Profile Bill Turner
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Message 1310179 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 16:09:18 UTC - in response to Message 1310084.



As for merchandise, great idea, but as others have said the margins are pathetic unless you can guarantee humungous sales of each item you are talking 10% (or less) of takings going to the charity/concern.




(Edited to correct my fingers not working until caffeine level correct...)


And as far as the merchendice goes, we'd just pay for rewards out of whatever we'd get funded. Historically there are many more people to donate less than $25 dollars than $100 and over, and bumper stickers are extremely cheap to make, especially in bulk. And we can push out the date for sending out rewards until we've dispresed out the funding and paid for everything needed. And again, the people that pledge do it on a win only contingency. Meaning their funds only get transfered if we get fully funded.

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Message 1310183 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 16:44:46 UTC - in response to Message 1309976.

This project is held together with a ball of twine and a roll of Scotch tape

Who authorized hi tech? They already have a roll of duct tape to go with the WD-40, now they have Scotch tape?! Back to bailing wire and chewing gum. Next they will want pliers and a screw driver ... mutter. :)

Now if we could say position the market ... SETI, it is for the children ... we would get unlimited donations.


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Message 1310187 - Posted: 25 Nov 2012, 16:47:29 UTC - in response to Message 1310183.



Now if we could say position the market ... SETI, it is for the children ... we would get unlimited donations.


Actually, the search for life beyond what we now know IS for the children, when you really think about it.
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