Growing the ORG community – and having fun doing it

Update: We’ve had quite literally tens of new supporters sign up to support ORG in the last week or so. Please keep telling your mates about Open Rights and why our issues deserve their support. Here’s a recording from Open Tech, where Becky and Danny launched the ORG-GRO campaign.


ORG needs your help. Over the next five months, we want to do something really ambitious.

Not explain to MPs and record companies why DRM was a dead-end technology (done that). Not marshall a team of election observers to uncover e-voting bungling that could have swayed an election, and put electronic voting on the back-burner for years (tick). Not singlehandedly beat back the music industry’s lobbying for copyright term extension in the UK (yawn, done it). Not even make sure Britain was safe for knitted Dr Who monsters everywhere (well, you get the idea).

No, what we want to do is *everything else* on our ever-growing list of digital rights fights. And to do that we need you. And your money.

And the money of all of your friends.

By December of this year, we intend to double the amount of financial support we receive directly from individuals who are concerned about the erosion of civil liberties in the digital age.

Why? Because we want ORG sustainable with money from individuals’ donations. After all, we’re here to protect individual rights for all tech users. And we think the best way to do that is through the direct advice and support of smart, well-informed individuals.

That’s why, in 2005, ORG started with nothing more than 1,000 people pledging to give £5/month to fund a UK digital rights organisation.

Today, we receive the equivalent of roughly 750 of those fivers from ORG supporters (that’s accounting for the fact that some folk give more than £5, while some chose to pay at our concessionary rate of £2.50/month). By 1 December 2008, we want that figure to be 1,500. But we won’t be able to do that unless everybody gets involved and makes this happen. Here’s how:

If you already support the Open Rights Group:

  • Get as many of your friends to join as you can. If every ORG supporter recruited just one of their friends, we’d reach our target. We’re not beneath bribery, here: if you recruit three friends or more, we’ll send you a glamorous ORG T-Shirt.
  • Double your support for ORG. If none of your friends care about digital rights, make an investment in their future now and they’ll be sure to thank you later. If you double (or more!) your support to ORG, let us know and we’ll send you a special gift.
  • Do all of the above and do more. Get creative. Run a mini-ORG fundraising campaign on your blog. Approach strangers on the street. Knock on your neighbour’s door. Sign up on behalf of your pets. If you’ve got an idea of how to enlist more people to the ORG community – go for it. If you need our help, get in touch.

If you’re not already supporting the Open Rights Group

  • Start. Now. Then do all of the things we’ve just listed above.

1,500 regular supporters are enough to make ORG sustainable into the foreseeable future. We’re not being greedy – we’ll make every penny we receive from the Open Rights Group community count. To see what we’ll spend your money on, click here.

This year and last we’ve received grants from organisations like JRRT Ltd and the Open Society Institute – for which we’re very grateful. But ORG’s heart lies with the views of its independent membership, and being funded direct by our community means we can represent your concerns 100%.

Over the coming months, we’ll be announcing more initiatives and happenings that we think will help us reach that magic number.

And if we make it to 1,500 by December 2008, we’ll throw a big party for everyone who helped us get there (note to self: do not spend all of new income on this party).

Databases that log where you go, what you buy and who you talk to and pass it on to state snoopers. Electronic elections that rob you of your right to vote. Constricted copyright laws that mean you can’t even post your holiday snaps online. Every day, your digital rights are under threat. Supporting the Open Rights Group won’t make it all go away, it won’t mean we stop asking you to do stuff. It won’t help you become even smarter and glamorous than you are now[1]. But joining the ORG community will ensure that in the corridors of Westminster, the warrens of Brussels, in the national and international media, and for years into the future that you know so well, and even now are helping to craft, your voice gets heard.

[1] Because that would be impossible.