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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Click some cake and coffee to a soldier

I know, I know... back when I wrote this post I sort of promised never to use my site to beg or busk.  But back then I was talking about people who 'shnor' money in order to support their web habit. 

What I want to try is something that will raise funds for a worthy cause without any of my readers actually having to shell out a penny/agorah.

You may have noticed that a few weeks ago I started allowing Typepad to place ads on the lower right hand column of my page.  They allowed me to pick the general types of ads (by subject) and I figured that so long as it didn't become bothersome to the look of the site, or offend anyone's sensibilities, it would be a nice way to offset the modest cost of keeping up treppenwitz.

So far this arrangement has more than paid for the hosting service and I haven't gotten any complaints from anyone.

Well, in the wake of the recent resumption continuation of hostilities here in the region, the IDF has reinstated several of the roadblocks along my commute which had previously been removed as 'confidence building gestures' to the Palestinians. 

At the same time that more soldiers are being stationed out here, far from hearth and home, the weather is starting to get cold and wet, and I am once again starting to drop off cakes and drinks for the soldiers stationed in these remote spots.

Here's where the fund-raising comes in.

Since the pay-per-click advertising has already covered my blogging costs before making this appeal, I'd like to ask that you help finance some of these 'care packages' to the soldiers by clicking on some or all of the ads. 

I promise that every penny/agorah from this increased 'clickage' will go towards making the lives of these soldiers/reservists more comfortable... and I will even provide photographic evidence of your generosity from time to time.

What could be bad? As far as I can tell it's a classic win-win!

The advertisers get a few moments of your attention that they probably wouldn't otherwise have had... the soldiers will get more frequent care packages from me (and now you) than the usual once a week... and you won't have to dig into your morning coffee money in order to experience the warm glow of philanthropy!

My plan is to try to keep this funded throughout the winter (or at least through Hanukkah).  What do you say?

[Note:  I'm going to ask my lovely wife to design me up a nice gift card to accompany all the care packages so the soldiers know that the food and drink is being provided by you nice folks. ]

221_16_5_82

Posted by David Bogner on November 2, 2005 | Permalink

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Tizku L'Mitzvos (or mitzvot, if you prefer).

Incidently, this might be a good time to refer back to an earlier posting about the pinah chamah

Posted by: Mike Miller | Nov 2, 2005 12:59:58 PM

Great idea ! I'll start the clicking right away.
All my best wishes to the soldiers from Switzerland.

Posted by: Jany | Nov 2, 2005 1:36:05 PM

Actually, this was all my idea. When the current war broke out in Sept 2001, and I was travelling the roads every day -- I saw that our soldiers we're hungry...all the time. I got tzedaka boxes together and went to pizza stores all along the Seam-Line communities (Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Kfar Sava, etc.) and gave them the tzedaka boxes. The idea was this - once a week the pizza store would empty the box, add in some of its own, and deliver pizza to the nearest IDF checkpoint.

It was called "PeLaCH" (slice) -- "Pizza L'Chayalim"

Gotta run. Flying tonight :-/

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Nov 2, 2005 2:15:18 PM

Nice idea.

Can anyone explain, however, how the IDF is living with the fact that its soldiers are being -externally- provided with treats like needy people? Bringing them treats in winter and refreshments during the hot summers is wonderful, but to me it also feels like a "something in this picture is wrong" thing. Especially upon remarks like Jameel's ["always hungry"].

Maybe you'll have the chance to catch some o-tones, David, that you could bring to our ears. Anonymously, of course. But I do accept email as well. ;)

And can we see Zahava's card design comes the time? Thankie!

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Nov 2, 2005 4:09:59 PM

I love the idea! What do you think about just having a way (PayPal?) for me to just send you $10? The reason I'd be more comfortable with that than with clicking ads (though I by no means discourage others from clicking) is that I have no intention of buying their products. So I'm basically violating the shopkeeper law by walking into their shops knowing that I won't buy and getting them to buy care packages for the soldiers. That's not fair to your advertisers. I'd rather just pay myself.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 2, 2005 4:24:50 PM

I think it's a great idea - clickity click!

Doctor Bean- this is how I think about it.
If I click on the advertising and see a product I really want or need (maybe even something I'd never have seen otherwise) I'd be happy to buy it. Advertising is purely a numbers game. Show products to enough people and you'll find someone who will want to buy it. I don't feel bad about standing in Times Square and not buying anything off the billboards.

I had a friend in the IDF who said the army always skimps on food and clothing because that's what private citizens will donate their own money for. It is a lot for palatable/motivating for most people to want to give money so that the chayalim will have warm coats and plenty to eat, than for say guns and tanks (although they are also essential.)

As for the always hungry part- I think most 18-25 year old boys/men are always hungry :)

Posted by: Shifra | Nov 2, 2005 4:55:32 PM

Mike Miller... Thanks for linking up that post. It might help newcomers get a mental picture of the people I'm asking them to help out.

Jany... Thanks. I'm fairly sure you can only click each sponsor once (unless you go to the trouble of deleting your cookies), but if everyone pays a visit to each of the rotating list of sponsors it should provide lots of goodies for the soldiers.

Jameel... Nice idea. Is it still going on?

mademoiselle a. ... I don't think the men and women of the IDF are neglected in any way. They have world class equipment, warm uniforms and protective outerwear, and if not great food - at least plenty of it. The problem is that these are what most people would call kids. For many of them it is their first experience living away from home and it is deeply appreciated when people bring them treats while they are stuck in these remote outposts and roadblocks. It's not just that they are hungry for food (although given the metabolism of the typical 18-year-old that can't be ignored), but they are also hungry for human contact and validation in the face of a sometimes crushingly boring and sometimes exceedingly dangerous job. On holidays the IDF sends treats out to the troops in the field, but the rest of the year it's up to the rest of the country to pamper them.

Doctor Bean... I thought long and hard about the ethical implications of this idea. The whole pay-per-click model is based on the idea that most people who see the add won't click... and that most people who click won't buy. Even so, it is still a very cost-effective way of putting a message, service or product in front of an enormous audience. There is also the possibility that a reader will click on an ad for travel, software, books, computers or music and find something you didn't even realize you needed. In a day or two I am going to add a button that will allow people to make direct contributions (if they so desire) via a paypal account. In the mean time you can click or not click as your conscience dictates.

Shifra... I'm not sure the soldiers really lack for warm clothes either... but if you've been in a barracks or on a ship here you will see that most of the guys have comforters and fluffy pillows from home. Not only are these personal touches warmer than the army issue stuff, but it is a personal connection to their 'other life' as well. I agree with your take on the ads being a numbers game, though. I obviously won't mind if someone is not comfortable with the idea... it's a free world after all. :-)

Posted by: David | Nov 2, 2005 4:56:16 PM

This is a wonderful idea. Tizku L'Mitzvot! Keep us posted on how successful our clicks are!

Posted by: Essie | Nov 2, 2005 5:16:37 PM

If you're serious about this ... put your adds where they can be seen. I'd suggest a three column format. Your text in the wide middle and the adds on either side no more than a page down. Where you have them they might as well not be there.

Posted by: Scott | Nov 2, 2005 5:50:05 PM

The link for the Pizza site is:

http://pizzaidf.org/

Here are other sites that donate to soldiers:

http://burgeridf.org/
http://www.israelsoldiers.org/
http://www.libi-fund.org.il/index.html
http://www.apackagefromhome.org/index.htm
http://www.themakolet.com/index.html

Posted by: Dave | Nov 2, 2005 6:17:58 PM

Now if you really wanted clicks you could make the ads a little more graphically appealing. It could be like those pens we used to get as kids, you remember the kind that changed when you turned them upside down.

Of course this would present a different kind of problem altogether, but the world is full of challenges.

How about them Sox, White Sox.

Excuse me while I go click madly away on those ads.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 2, 2005 6:18:29 PM

clicking
clicking
clicking

Posted by: lisa | Nov 2, 2005 7:21:09 PM

I have offically changed my name ( for today only)
I'm now the CLICKMEISTER..watch out!

Posted by: Jewish Blogmiester | Nov 2, 2005 8:02:40 PM

I hear you, and (as I know you know) I certainly wasn't rebuking you.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 2, 2005 8:23:19 PM

David, that's a point I can live with. Growing up sure is tough. I wonder why the sites I saw until now focus on giving things, i.e. materialism, when in fact they mean providing a sign of "I care!" [I realize there are various levels of action]. "Support" is the usual coinage, I think. But maybe that's all because we're moving on military terrain where words are chosen and emotions spilled wisely.
The more I appreciate of course that you just put it into a warmer and heartfelt wording!

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Nov 2, 2005 9:36:47 PM

Essie... Of course I will. Thanks.

Scott... I am overdue for a redesign (people must be getting pretty bored of the same old look), but that isn't happening any time soon. Sorry.

Dave. Uh, thanks for all those links, but I was sort of hoping to keep people focused on THIS small attempt to help out. :-)

Jack... They don't give me the ability to do anything with the ads. I simply designate the place on my site where they will appear and... they do.

Lisa... Thanks. I think you can only click each advertiser once (unless you dump your cache and cookies). Not that I suggest doing anything like that, of course. ;-)

Jewish Blogmiester... See my reply to Lisa. :-)

Doctor Bean... I know. I was just mentioning that I also had a moment's hesitation about the ethics involved, but I'm comfortable that the few moments of your attention the advertiser gets that he would not have otherwise had is worth the payment he is making.

mademoiselle a. ... Perhaps it is because when you ask people to shell out money you need to give them an idea of what that money will be purchasing. It's hard to ask people for cash and simply say it will go to help make the kids in the IDF feel loved... even though that is really the truth.

Posted by: David | Nov 3, 2005 11:11:59 AM

I support the idea completely...but, ever since my husband joined the army, he just gets fatter and fatter. Its so worrying to me, I can only influence what he eats during the weekends and he tells me that they are constatly bombarded with goodies--from donations and the parents of other other soldiers. On top of it, the food the army provides is high in carbohydrates. How about donating fruit or anything to keep these guys from gaining even more weight? As a side note, I recently showed a photograph to an Israeli friend of mine (who lives in the US) of my husband's duvdavan unit (all guys in early 20s) at the beach...and all she could say was "Oh my gd, they are so FAT. Soldiers never looked like that when I was in the army" (15 years ago). I looked at the picture and realized she was right. 3/4 of them had love handles and bellies hanging over their bathing suits.

Maybe I'm just being too health concious and a party pooper but I don't see giving coca cola and cakes to soldiers who will eat them out of boredom at a roadblock as being anyway beneficial.

Posted by: Naomi | Nov 3, 2005 11:54:09 AM

It's the least I can do… :)

Posted by: kakarizz | Nov 3, 2005 12:23:30 PM

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