Facebook Causes issues/suggestions/questions

(Note: An update for Wednesday, July 28, 2010, comes at the end of this article.)

(Note: A second update for Wednesday, July 28, 2010, comes at the end of this article.)

The following is the body of an email I just sent to Causes. What do you think, Causes users and non-profits?

I'm trying to get on a roll, but there are some additional/new issues that are very important to me concerning which I require feedback before proceeding. Dealing with me on these issues should help you all there with anticipating the same issues with other users and be sort of post-BETA testing.

Issue/idea #1

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/help?category=Joining+and+participating+in+causes says:

"When you invite people to a cause, you will be prompted to start an invite pledge. If you click on "Take This Pledge," you are pledging to invite 100 friends to the cause within the next two days. Since you may only send out 60 invites per day, Causes will notify you when you are free to send more. Your invite pledge will be displayed on the cause page, but only you will be able to see it."

Okay, so that info is out-of-date and needs to be edited since the pledge is for 300 and it's 75 per day.

However, I did day-one and am sitting at day-two wondering if the 75 "random" friends that your system is offering me are only those who were NOT included on day-one. Some of the names look familiar from day-one, but maybe I'm just imagining that since I've been looking at FB and Causes "friend" lists so much over the last few days what with the Birthday Wish list and FB-Page list for the same cause, etc.

Please tell me whether the "75 random" is always taken only from those who have not already been asked. This is extremely important to me. I do not want to SPAM people!

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. I will not be sending out any additional invitations (day-two, etc.) until I receive an answer.

If I had this to do over, I would have not gone the "random" route but rather selected "see all" and chosen the first 75 and then on day-two, picked the next 75, and so forth.

I really hope the "random" doesn't duplicate. If it does, I'll really need a way of knowing which people have already been invited. Even if it is necessary that you have someone there manually dig through your database(s) or logs or whatever to tell me which FB/Causes users I've already invited with my 1st 75 to manually send me that list, I'd appreciate that, that be done. I'm willing to build a spreadsheet or whatever and do the work myself to avoid spamming people. I hope that won't be necessary, but I'll do it if there's not another way right now.

Issue/idea #2

Also, the Pledge is for 300-total, but I have 350 FB friends (and growing) who are apparently using Causes. Where will the remaining 50 be listed so I may pick them up with a final batch-invitation?

Issue/idea #3

I would love to be able to see the names of those I've already invited and when (a history with the dates of each invitation) — to avoid SPAMMING and to be confident about that. I would like this feature for both Pledges and Birthday Wishes (combined) and any other Causes methods for inviting people.

I'd like the list of those I've already invited and when so that new friends can be invited as I gain them without my having to do this sort of thinking manually. I trust you can see that this would be a huge help to all Causes users.

Issue/idea #4

The list/history needs to show which invitations are still pending action by the friend(s) versus already "ignored" by the friend(s).

Additional invitations shouldn't be sent to friends who have pending invitations.

Issue/idea #5

I'd also like a feature that would allow me to put FB user/friend names in a "never invite" group – sort of a black list – but that would be a terrible name for it – perhaps a "Do Not Invite or Disturb" list.

Issue/idea #6

Also include info for users to tell them whether or not hitting the "send" button will give them an opportunity to review and/or add a message to the invitation. This applies to Birthday Wishes and Pledges and all other invitation methods.

Issue/idea #7

Any message body should be automatically saved for subsequent batches and be editable at any point going forward.

Issue/idea #8

Since database space may be a premium to you, I would not mind a desktop application where the database would be on my hard drive. I'm sure many people would find a desktop application very acceptable and helpful. Having the database in open-source format rather than an encrypted/proprietary format would also be helpful.

Issue/idea #9

I'm also a WordPress blogger and wouldn't mind a WordPress Causes plugin that would put a Causes MySQL database table on my HTTP server in lieu of either a desktop application or Causes storing all the friend-list-invitation info.

Of course, you could handle all of this via setting it in cookies too, just so long as I would remember not to clean out Causes cookie(s). I think the desktop method might be the easiest and surest way to go at least to start with. Some people who use shared computers will run into problems regardless of the method.

If this email is overwhelming, then I'm sorry I've put so much on your plate here; but this is just the kind of thinker I am. I trust I'm not the only one.


Tom Usher

This all has to do with: The Christian Commons



Update for Wednesday, July 28, 2010:

75 of my Facebook friends who are listed with the Facebook application Causes will likely end up receiving duplicate invitations. Let me explain and apologize.

Causes encouraged me to take a pledge to invite 300 friends over a 4-day period, but on day-two, I wasn't confident that Causes was not giving me some of the same friends from day-one. It could be a browser issue, but it looked to me that some of the same names where being offered day-two if not all of the same names. I contacted Causes with a list of issues and ideas with that issue being #1 [above].

Causes did reply, but not with an answer to even that first question. I could press Causes for a direct answer, but I sense that's not the way to go on this right now. Call it a gut reaction or hunch or the Holy Spirit moving me – it's how I feel about it.

Anyway, I have cancelled the "Pledge" and will invite people manually and keep track of whom I've invited via spreadsheet or something. That way, I can be sure not to become a nag or spammer. I want to invite people, not stick my foot in their doors — no obnoxious, hard-sell routines. I might ask people once a year or something, but hammering people every day or even week is not my style. I don't like it when sales people do it to me, and I do believe in the Golden Rule.

I also used the Facebook application to send out invitations to "like" the Christian Commons Project Facebook Page, but I'm not feeling particularly confident that people received it. Therefore, here's the link to that Page:


Please "like" it if you are so inclined. I hope you will be. Please encourage others to do so and also with the Causes page:


Thank you so much for your help and understanding, and again, my apologies for any duplicates.

Peace, love, and giving and sharing all,
For: The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project
Tom Usher

P.S. Concerning my Causes "Birthday Wish":

After seeing how Causes handles people's donations, it is apparent that Causes is not acting in accordance with the following, or at least not offering people an option {which I will also be suggesting to them (I just did it via email)}:

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:1-4 KJV)

Causes actually announces, even trumpets, people's donations. Their methods are based upon "psychology" in terms of what fundraisers believe they have seen "works." Well, I've been a fundraiser for several other charities, and I know from experience that the "scientific" method, the canned scripts, did not yield the best results.

I've given thought to this and have concluded that Causes' "trumpeting" should not move Christians not to give. A Christian may give knowing that he or she would rather that a trumpet not be blared but that we are stuck in a wider society that doesn't handle the principle concerning which Jesus's admonition encourages. Jesus wants us not to do for others for the sake of the self-gratification we derive from it. He wants that feeling to be an aftereffect and not the incentive first. It does reinforce, but it is not the prime-mover. I won't belabor this, since there are many people who aren't interested in this level of detail. Anyone who wants to explore it though in earnest is welcome to communicate further with me on the point.

Update #2 for Wednesday, July 28, 2010:
Here's an email I just sent to Causes (self-explanatory):

Hello David,

Okay, concerning Issue #1, I cancelled the Pledge. When I then selected "Invite Friends," I was given a list of those already invited "in the Past 2 Weeks." I checked the list against the list being offered for more invitations and can see that the people recently invited (the 75 from day-one of the Pledge) are not being offered. So, I have my answer, I think.

I will select the next 75 and keep doing that each day until they've all been invited. I do wish the Pledge route had made this all clear though — instilled more confidence.



The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

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Political Campaign Intervention

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Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
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Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 – present, website developer and writer. 2015 – present, insurance broker.

    Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration.

    Volunteerism: 2007 – present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.

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