Every little bit counts.

There are so many good causes, and so many of them are not just good but urgent — even assuming you have some money to spare, where are you to donate it? Everyone has their own solution to this problem. Mine is to try to hedge my bets: donate roughly equally to long- and short-term, local and global, human and environmental. I’m out of work and thoroughly skint right now, but I try to remember that by world standards I’m still living like a king; my budget includes some “don’t go insane” funds for occasional movies or dinners out or whatever, and I can always skip one of those in order to give just a little to some good cause.
One such is the Open Knowledge Foundation, which is turning five and asking for support:

This month the Open Knowledge Foundation is five years old.

Over those last five years we’ve done much to promote open access to information — from sonnets to stats, genes to geodata — not only in the form of specific projects like Open Shakespeare and Public Domain Works but also in the creation of tools such as KnowledgeForge and the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network, standards such as the Open Knowledge Definition, and events such as OKCon, designed to benefit the wider open knowledge community. (More about what we’ve been up just over the last year can be found in our latest annual report).

While we have achieved a lot, we believe we can do much, much more. We are therefore reaching out to our community and asking you to help us take our vision further.

Our aim: at least a 100 supporters committed to making regular, ongoing donations of £5 (EUR 6, $7.50) or more a month.

These funds will be essential in expanding and sustaining our work by allowing us to invest in infrastructure and employ modest central support. To pledge yourself as one of those supporters all you need to do is take 30 seconds to sign up to our “100 supporters” pledge at:

http://www.pledgebank.org/support-okfn/

And if you want to act on the pledge right now (or make any other kind of donation), please visit: http://www.okfn.org/support/

We are and will remain a not-for-profit organization, built on the work of passionate volunteers but these additional fund are essential in maintaining and extending our effort. Become a supporter and help us take our work forward!

I’m in no position to make a regular commitment, but I skipped a movie and sent ’em ten quid. It’s not much but it’s my hope that small donations can be a powerful force in the internet age. The other thing I can donate is publicity, which is what this post is for.
Why donate to OKF? My belief is that openness is not only our best weapon in the unending battle against bad actors and free riders, it is the key to a radically more efficient scientific process, which in turn is the key to all material progress in human quality of life.
The OKF not only builds tools and standards for open exchange of information, but they are also part of the front line effort to make openness and transparency into a constant, widely adopted habit of mind and of behaviour. To choose a topical example, we won’t have appropriate access to information about the spending habits of our elected officials until we are so in the habit of openness that it is a surprise and an affront to the average citizen to realise that such information is being kept secret. To choose my own bête noire as another example, we won’t be free of “data not shown” in the scientific literature until the majority of scientists respond to that phrase with an immediate and indignant “why the hell not?”.
So, support for the OKF is one of my long-term choices: an investment in a better future for everybody. If you have a couple of dollars to spare, please consider investing with me.

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