Photograph of a small sticker reading 'Fogknife', attached to a Mac laptop cover.
This small but stately Fogknife sticker measures about 1½ inches in height and width.

I offer two ways to support my writing here. I reward any assistance with a self-adhesive token of my gratitude, per the attached figure.

Method 1: Donate at least $10 to a non-profit organization from the list below. Then send me, via email, proof of your donation — a photographed or forwarded receipt would do nicely — as well as your postal address. If the donation occurred within a month of the date of your email, then I will send you a handsome vinyl Fogknife sticker as soon as I can.

You can also donate $10 or more to a non-profit organization not on this list, and show me that receipt instead. So long as your generosity seems in-line with my own notions of what would make a better world — and I trust you can ascertain the general direction of my philosophy from this list, and indeed from what I write about on this blog — you’ll probably get a sticker. (Honestly, I’ll probably approve anything that isn’t outright antithetical to my beliefs.)

Method 2: Send me, via PayPal, $10 or more, and attach your postal address as a note. My email address for PayPal purposes is jmac@jmac.org. I will, on receipt, send you a fetching vinyl Fogknife sticker as soon as I can.

At the start of every month, I will donate 100% of the money collected in this fashion to one or more charities of my choice. Every time I do donate money through this route, I will list the recipients and the totals on Fogknife. (I will not name the original donors, except in extraordinary circumstances, and even then only with their permission.)

Choose this option only if you don’t care which charities receive your donation, and if you trust my own judgment in this regard. If you want to make sure the money goes to a particular recipient, please use the first method instead!

Notably, I will not donate any money collected this way to any non-profit organization on whose board I sit. (At this time, this list contains only one member, the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation.) I would of course be thrilled and grateful if this appeal led you to donate money in that direction anyway, but I wish to make clear that this activity does not represent a sneaky fund-raising effort for any organization I help manage.

How do these donations help Fogknife? I find myself living in a civilization that has chosen to undertake an exploration of its own fragility. It experiments with authoritarian governance and environmental degradation, favoring short-term gains for a few over long-term growth for all.

This trend endagers my ability to write. The resource that I need the most to keep writing and maintaining this website is not money, but time and attention. If my societal freedoms erode too much, I will have to turn more of my attention towards the basic survival of myself and my family, and that will reduce or even eliminate the attention I have to spare for projects like Fogknife.

Supporting causes that can use your money to maintain democratic freedom, defend the climate, and resist authoritarian undermining therefore supports my work here. It may very well support your own work, too.


My inspiration for the first method of support comes from Francis Heaney, a prolific puzzle constructor who published a special collection of crosswords in January 2017 — and set as its cover-price a small donation to a politically progressive or pro-climate non-profit. He offered a list of suggestions, much as I do here. This began my own career as a personal-scale philanthropist, as I wrote about at the time.

The second route offered here is more experimental. I’m not aware of any other writer or “content creator” who offers something like this, and I wanted to try it. It presents a variation of the appeal to donate to progressive charities that I have attached to my own open-source software projects since 2018. I found myself wondering if more people who like my work would actually donate to any of these causes if I made the process as easy as possible for them, acting with all due transparency.

I have no idea if it will work, or if it has downsides I can’t see right now. I recognize too that, as far as rewards go, a packet of original puzzles from professional constructors does not compare to a tiny sticker representing an obscure blog. If all this does turn out to be a bad idea — or an embarrassingly inert one — I’ll call it off, and modify this page appropriately. (If this page does not clearly state some variant of “Oops never mind” at the top amidst a lot of struck-out text, you may assume that it still means what it says.)

In any event, I have no qualms at all about passing through every penny I may attract this way. I have enough money already, and Fogknife is far too humble a publication to squeeze any personal profit from. If I can somehow turn it into a passive financial magnet — however modest — for causes I believe in, I’d rather see that happen.

If you’ve head this far, thank you for your support, or at least your consideration thereof. I will keep writing.

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Joe Johnston

I threw some bucks at this blog, which may or may not surprise you. ehrmanblog.org/philanthropy/ Ehrman uses these funds for charity and posts an audit trail.

Jason McIntosh

I was not aware of this! It looks like he’s set up a nonprofit to receive the funds, too. Which is a great idea, but… I wonder if it’s worth being lazier about it than all that.

Joe Johnston

Understand that Ehrman is an ex-preacher and retains a strong urge to ease the suffering of the afflicted. I wholeheartedly endorse your experiment. Scale it up later if appropriate.

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