Off-The-Grid Missions announced on Instagram and other social media platforms that Change.org received over $20,000 in donations from community members, instead of Off-The-Grid Missions. Change.org misled community members who signed the petition by immediately showing a donation pop-up shortly after their signature: while the statement in the pop-up says the donations were to help promote this particular petition, readers misunderstood and thought it meant Off-The-Grid Missions would receive the funds. Click here to watch Off-The-Grid Missions’ video on Instagram.
For our DeafBlind readers, here is a full transcript:
[Video description: Off-The-Grid Missions founder Angela Maria Nardolillo is a light-skinned feminine-presenting person with her hair up in a bun, wearing a grey shirt, and seated in a car. Large white and red text on a light grey background shows on the bottom half of her screen: “$20,000+ was solicited on our petition, BUT THE MONEY DOES NOT GO TO OUR ORGANIZATION.” Angela continues signing, and captions continue to appear at the bottom of the screen with white text and a light grey background.]
Be warned. We posted a video that went viral around the world… over 300,000 views. In the video we asked people to sign our petition. People watched in shock and immediately went to sign the petition. After they signed a button appeared asking to donate to “promote the petition” and with the intensity of this matter people immediately donated. But.. the money donated DOES NOT GO TO Off-The-Grid Missions. “Change.org” is the petition company that solicits for donations on their website, to pay for their work such as sending email advertisements and costs running THEIR company. $20,000 was solicited on our petition from donors who were hoping the funds would go to support our work in Haiti.
I have been dealing with Change.org and they agreed to take off the donation button on the petition, so now when people sign our petition they only have the option to share it, not donate. So what happened to the $20,000 that was raised on our petition? I pleaded for them to refund all the donors and they issued an apology for “confusing” our supporters…but said they will not transfer back the donated funds. They will ONLY give a refund to any donor who asks for a refund, which would require every donor to email them asking them for their money back. So the only way to redirect any of those funds to Off-The-Grid Missions is if donors e-mail to request their own refund. Change.org’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to request a refund but you’re not sure what to say or ask, simply go to our website offthegridmissions.org where you see the petition and click on ‘REFUND’ next to the petition. There you will find a template for your e-mail to copy-paste and send. Make sure they confirm they will give you the refund. Several donors have already received e-mail confirmation of their refund, stating that the refund will take 5-7 business days. Once reimbursed you can send it DIRECTLY to our organization. Donate at offthegridmissions.org. That way your donation goes to the right place.
All of our fundraising is directly linked to our website — no where else. It is a safe platform that directly impacts the work we do. How much money has OTGM received since the petition? $3,150 through our website. 0% from the $20,000 on Change.org. People thought the $20,000 was going to OTGM but no, it does not. As that video went viral, behind-the-scenes we were hit with more incidents in Haiti. So while the world is watching these incidents on the video, we are dealing with new ones. Our organization is small, we are very tiny, but we do a whole lot in comparison to what we actually have. Every once in a while someone will make a large donation ($10-25K) and we have our beloved individual supporters donating $5, $10, $100….We have partners, but we do not have any paid sponsorships. So money raised under the disguise of funding our work — hurts us. Maybe you are curious about our finances and the programs we run. We invite you to see our behind-the-scenes at guidestar.org. There you can see our numbers and have a better understanding of how we use every dollar and how we are limited every time there is another incident like now.
Lastly, all the posts people made, every beautiful piece of art work created, we share it with our team and those kind gestures inspire us. Thank you for helping amplify this cause and for helping us to keep us moving forward. This goes for every person who took our video and translated into their country’s sign language. This is why when we say ‘our cause,’ it is not OTGM’s cause. It is yours, theirs, mine when we are all united and working together.
[The screen shows the OTGM petition with a new goal of 100,000 signatures. Over 23,000 have signed. The screen goes back to Angela signing “thank you” with the captions “thank you,” before fading to a black background with words in white. The words say, “100% of the $20,000 donated on the petition platform will go to Change.org. It does NOT go to the Off-The-Grid Missions. E-mail email@example.com to request your refund.” Next Lori Friedman, a light-skinned Deaf woman with short blonde hair, appears on the screen and there are captions in white font on a black background. Lori states, “It’s important to know what your donations are being used for.” The screen changes to a solid black background with white font that says, “Thank you everyone for supporting our cause.” Next slide shows, “Learn more on offthegridmissions.org.”]
The post below also accompanies the video, as provided by Off-The-Grid Missions:
[@changedotorg solicited over $20,000 on our petition and of that, our organization GETS ZERO. Please watch to the end to see what happened, take a look inside Off-The-Grid Missions financials, learn how to get your money back, and please feel free to translate this into your country’s Sign Language —so those who intended for their donation to support our efforts in Haiti, can get their money redirected to the right place.
After you sign our petition, a button appears that asks you to donate to “promote” the petition. The only promoting that we are aware of is the 300,000+ views on our video that led to the now ~22,000 signatures. The reason Change has declined transferring these funds is because they state that when soliciting for donations their terms are clear to donors. We disagree. They have since agreed to turn-off the donation button so that supporters can continue to sign our petition. However, when they turned-off the button they ALSO removed access to all donor names, emails, and the amounts they donated. So now we are unable to even see anyone’s contribution. This is a LACK OF TRANSPARENCY and why we are requesting donors to get a full refund immediately‼️
@changedotorg is a multi-million dollar for-profit company whose primary source of funding is soliciting for donations on petitions just like ours.
🙏 The ONLY purpose for our petition is to gather signatures. Despite this incredible barrier, our focus remains on keeping the momentum going to garnish 100,000 signatures. If you would like to donate to our cause, please do so directly through our website offthegridmissions.org.]
An Instagram user submitted a comment requesting additional information on the proper way to donate to Off-The-Grid Missions if one was interested in doing so.
Off-The-Grid Missions responded with a resounding yes, there is a way: “On our website you can donate and/or start your own fundraiser and it is all linked to our website. If you would like for us to confirm your payment you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for supporting our cause.”