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A Fandom Auction to help Haiti recover

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Auction Closing Procedures - PLEASE READ
heidi8 wrote in help_haiti
This post contains information about auction closing procedures, confirmations of winning bids, the donation process, donation confirmation and thoughts on sharing the wonderful works created as part of help_haiti

Please read the entire post before asking questions. If you have any questions about any of the topics in this post, other than questions concerning the charities selected, feel free to ask them in a comment to this post; if you have questions about the charities, please read the post here and ask your question there.

Note: None of the information below will apply to the Lightning Round or the Requests posts; all confirmations of donations in those posts are being done by the Offeror or the person filling the request(s).

What's the quick and dirty version of the closing/notification/donation/confirmation/creation process?

The auction will close at noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2010. About half an hour later, we will post to the comm and on our Twitter that Offerors can start notifying the winning bidder using the template below. In the afternoon of January 20 (EST) comm mods will also start notifying winning bidders - you can tell we're official by the shiny "You've won!" icons we will have!

Once you've been notified that you won, you can donate to any of the charities listed in heidi8's post here; if you wish to donate to one of the charities discussed in the comments, or to any other charity, you can do so if it is alright with the Offeror, but the Offeror will have to confirm your donation, as explained below.

Once you've made your donation, either confirm it directly with the Offeror or with the Comm Mods here, and the process of fulfilling your bid can begin. Offerors who are confirming donations will need to post here. In the case of Mod-confirmed donations, the Offerors will be informed so they can create/send/work on your winning item.

That's great! Nice plan! Now can we think this through?

(That's from Legally Blonde: The Musical.) Sure! Here's the longer and more meandering explanation of all that:

When the clock strikes noon, what will happen?

All comments/replies in this comm will be screened for approximately thirty minutes; this means that any bids placed after noon will not be visible, and will never be unscreened as they will not count.

After thirty minutes (although it may be as much as an hour), we will switch the settings so only comments on the Offering posts are screened and comments on posts like the Lightning Round and Charities will be visible when posted; we will unscreen any screened comments on the Lightning Round and Requests posts as quickly as possible.


This gives us a chance to shut down bidding rapidly. But because of the quirks of LJ, comments will be sent out even though they are screened; therefore, if you are an Offeror and get notification of a "bid" on your item that was made after noon, please disregard it.

How do I know whether I won?

Just after noon on the 20th, you can go back to the items you've bid on and determine whether you won based on these factors:
A. If the post offers just one item and you're the highest bidder, you've won.
B. If the post has more than one of the same item and your bid is in the top number of bids - eg. in the top three for a post with three items - you've won.
C. For posts with multiple items but more identical bids than the number of items, preference is given to earlier bids.

Note: We can tell whether bids have been edited; we will look to the time at which the post was edited to determine the time of bid.

How are you going to let winners know they've won?

There are two methods that we are going to use.

Either the Offeror can let the Winning Bidder know as explained below, or the Comm Mods will let the Winning Bidder know.

It is going to take the Comm Mods about 30 or so hours to get through all the winning bids - we'll comment to let you know you've won, remind you to donate if you haven't already, and tell you how to confirm your donation. But Offerors can help out and cut that time down considerably by notifying their Winning Bidder themselves.

If the Offeror wants to notify the Winning Bidder, the Offeror must reply to the comment by the Winning Bidder that contains the winning bid and incorporate this template (although you can say more, too):

If a Mod has already notified your winning bidder, it's okay to also reply with any sort of informal communication, such as:

"Hi Awesome Winner, please drop me an email/PM/comment on my LJ with your chosen fandom(s), pairing(s) and/or prompts so I can start writing your fic!' etc."

...or whatever fits the situation, as opposed to also replying with a templated notice - although you can use the template if you wish.

If the Offeror notifies at the same time as a Mod - don't freak out! There's nothing wrong with a double-notification, and it's fine if there's accidentally more than one. But please do not try to notify the Winning Bidder by replying to a Comm Mod's reply as the Winning Bidder may not see it.

I won! How do I donate?

You can donate via any of the links in the post here. As it says there, we will confirm donations to any national or local Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Magen David, OXFAM, UNICEF and/or Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, as well as any donations made to Yéle Haiti, or by purchasing the Help Haiti virtual gift sold by LiveJournal will be Confirmable, or made at Starbucks in North America (Starbucks takes cash for donations, and no purchase is necessary).

If you're in the US or Canada you can walk into a Starbucks and donate up to $249.99; you can use cash and they will give you a receipt like the kind you get with any purchase

If you're in the UK, you can donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee at any high street bank; again, you can use cash.

If you have a PayPal account, you can donate by purchasing Help Haiti virtual gifts sold by LiveJournal to the amount of your donation (rounded up) - in other words, if you are to donate fifteen dollars, you can purchase five Help Haiti virtual gifts. You can send them to the help_haiti comm or to anyone you wish.

Please use Google or the search engine of your choice, or visit Charity Navigator if you're in the US, to research any charity/agency/organization you are considering donating to, so you can be fully informed about their practices and policies.

When do I have to donate by?
By The Time heidi8 Awakens On February 5, 2010, which is probably around 7:00 AM (EST). Of course, the sooner you donate, the better, as the Offeror isn't supposed to start work on it or ship it until the donation confirmation is in.

OMG! I donated before bidding closed! Does it count?
If you didn't use that donation receipt as confirmation for something else, it will count as long as you donated after January 12, 2010.

Squee! I won multiple things! Do I have to donate for each separately?
No, you can do one donation to cover everything if you want to - you don't have to! If you cc any of the Offerors whose items are covered by Winning Bids donated on the same receipt, you have to cc all of the Offerors whose items are covered by Winning Bids donated on the same receipt. But if your winning bid's receipt doesn't include certain Offerors because they were, say, covered by v-gift donations, they do not need to be cc-ed. you must cc all of the Offerors whose items you won, as well as the Mods at helphaiti.lj at gmail.com. If you have an concern with this process, we can work around it - just email the Mods.

I've donated! How do I confirm that I've donated?

When you donate you must get a receipt. If you donate electronically, it should be emailed to you; you can screencap the on-screen confirmation or the one that is emailed to you. If you donate in person, get a written receipt; if you have a written receipt please write your LJ username and/or email address on it, then scan or photograph it. If you donated via text messaging, confirmation should be in your online phone management system; please screencap the confirmation.

You can confirm your donation by forwarding the screencap, scan or photo.

a. If you don't wish your offerer to have access to any of the unblanked information on your confirmation (eg. initials, part of RL name, etc.), please confirm to the Comm Mods.
b. if you wish to pay for multiple bids with one donation, please confirm to the Comm Mods AND the Offerers if you're comfortable confirming to them,
c. if you're donating to a charity approved by your Offerer but not on the Comm Mods' list, please only confirm to the Offerer,
d. if you're confirming a single payment that covers a single winning bid, and are comfortable with your Offerer seeing all non-blanked info on the confirmation, please confirm to the Offerer.

In your confirmation, please include the URL(s) for you winning bid(s) and the amount(s) of the winning bid(s).

We are expecting a big influx of confirmations in the first few days after the Auction closes, so don't be surprised if the help_haiti mods don't reply to your confirmation for a day or two. If we haven't replied after three days, please send it again, and put RESEND in the subject.

If you confirm to the Offeror, he or she can start as soon as they get the confirmation - but we would really appreciate it if she or he would let us know here that the donation has been confirmed.

I'm concerned about personally identifying information! Can I redact anything on my electronic receipt?

Definitely. If it's an electronic receipt, we need to be able to see the name of the entity you donated to and their address, the date/time of donation, the amount donated, a confirmation number and either (a) the first letter of your first and last name, or (b) your entire first name. Instructions on how to redact or black out personally identifying information can be found here.

WHEW! Lots of information, we know. But everyone has been wonderufully self-organized so far, and we just need to get past these little complexities to end this first round of the help_haiti auction successfully.

THANK YOU ALL so much for all your help, your offers, your bids and your support!


PHOTOBUCKET TUTORIAL: how to redact and remove your personal information

1. When you receive your screen and/or email confirming your donation, take a screen shot of the pertinent information. With a Mac: shift + apple + 4 will get you a cursor to crop the pertinent information. With a PC: simply use your "print screen" key.

2. The image captured can now be loaded into a Photobucket account. These are free. If you don't have one, you'll need to sign up for an account. I recommend password protecting you account (it will not affect your image links).

3. Once you are in your account, you can load up the image of the receipt using the "upload image and videos" button →

4. Once you've uploaded your image you should get a screen that looks like this→

5. Choose "save & return to album" and you will be returned to the album where you saved the image.

6. Above the image, choose "edit" and that will take you to a new screen and it may take a minute to load. It should look like this →

7. Choose "decorate from the tab menu and then choose "erase" which is the fifth choice from the left. If your image is very small, you can blow it up with the bar to the right to zoom in on what you need to erase.

8. You can resize the erase circle as needed but the default size works well.

9. Just drag the circle across what you want to erase while holding down your mouse button --- name, address, last four digits of a credit card, etc. For the example purposes, I erased John's last name and address at the bottom and the transaction ID number. Choose "save a copy" after you've erased everything.

10. The image will show up on a new screen. Hover your cursor over the image and a gray menu bar will appear directly over the image. Choose the download option. This will save your edited image to wherever you usually save your downloaded materials (mine go to the desktop).

11. You can then attach the image in an email and send it off to be validated and thus win your bid. It should look something like this →

Whee, thanks for this! *didn't have a clue how that worked*

Thank you. God, I'm not even sure there is a way to thank you enough for being so generous with your time and effort.

You have done so much, and it's incredibly admirable, and I, for one, am immensely grateful.

I second this! Thank you so much!!

If I win, I'll probably have to do it by going in person to the Red Cross office in my town. We're in overdraft right now (as always *sigh*), so I'll be using tips from work.

Thanks for putting this altogether!!

You have some very nice looking LJ cuts, but I don't think they've worked - the whole entry is showing up on the main comm page with no cuts :)

Actually ;) you discovered our secret. They're not actually meant to be cuts - they're more being used as anchor tags to we can link people to specific sections of the FAQ.

Say I'm an offerer whose winning bidder has won multiple auctions and combined all their winning bids into one donation, therefore e-mailing their confirmation to both the comm mods and all the other offerers of the auctions they have won. Should I, as one of the offerers, be posting on the Donation Confirmation Station thread after I've received that e-mail, or just wait for the mods to process it so that the mods aren't doubling up on confirmations?

Thanks for all your work on this, it's incredible :)

If they've emailed the mods for confirmation, then you don't have to post there. But there is no downside in posting there, either.

And thank you for participating! And sharing in the joy of Aretha's hat!

This was a really wonderful idea for a comm. I'm so glad to have participated. You guys are all amazing people!

Yele Haiti has some financial issues, and it is unclear how much of the donations will actually get to the people who need them.

I would suggest replacing Yele Haiti with something like Partners in Health, where it is confirmed that 95% of donations go to their charitable work. (By contrast, the Red Cross only has 90% of their donations go into their programs.)

{Note: I do not work or have any affiliation with the Red Cross, Yele Haiti, or Partners in Health, save donating money to the last post-earthquake.)

I know that Yele has issues, but because Yele is a major beneficiary of funds that will be coming in this weekend from MTV's telethon hosted by Wyclef and George Clooney, it's hard to eliminate them from the list - plus, Wyclef is working with Starbucks and we need to include Starbucks because they are everywhere in North America, and taking donations in cash, which is the only way some people want to donate. Partners in Health is already on the list, and has been since the day we posted it.

I truly hope that after the scrutiny on Yele Haiti, they will do better with their record-keeping, transparency and use of funds going forward, but it's a decision each donor needs to make for himself or herself.

All comments/replies in this comm will be screened for approximately thirty minutes; this means that any bids placed after noon will not be visible, and will never be unscreened as they will not count.

Only new comments, right? :D

Correct. HOW much time yesterday did I spent testing and testing this? :D

But you must cc all of the Offerors whose items you won, as well as the Mods at helphaiti.lj at gmail.com.

So you can't verify just with the mods? Edit: thank you. :o)

Edited at 2010-01-20 05:46 am (UTC)

Let me tweak that. It should mean that if you cc any of the Offerors whose items are covered by Winning Bids that were donated on the same receipt, you have to cc all of the Offerors. But if your winning bid's receipt doesn't include certain Offerors because they were, say, covered by v-gift donations, they do not need to be cc-ed.

The charity I'm planning to donating to if I win anything (local UNICEF) prefers direct bank transfers (that is also safer for me, since I use webbank). Is the bank's confirmation of payment to organisation (basically, the form with the "payed" on it OK, or do I need Unicef's confirmation? In the past when I donated, Unicef did send them, but much later, by mail. I can use other method if this is not sufficient, but this is the quickest way.

Also, I'm not entirely clear, it is OK if I show the confirmation to the offerer only (at least one already knows my relevant personal information), or do I have to show them to this community mods, too?

I can't answer your first question, but as for the second one: if you've won only a single bid, then it's OK to just confirm to the offerer. If you've won more than one, though, please send it to the listed mod address, as well. (This is for safety reasons, to avoid, for instance, people sending the same donation confirmation to several offerers.) Thanks for understanding! :o)

Nothing useful to say, but I love Legally Blonde: The Musical! Seeing it mentioned here makes me smile. ♥

Those lyrics tend to run through my head when I write instructions or FAQs for anything these days...

Love the Clueless icon!

For the record? This whole team is all kinds of awesome!

Now for my question: One of my bidders is having trouble posting responses to my auction so she can outbid someone else. She's being directed to pages telling her that she can no longer bid. I've told her that I will honor her bid either way since she's been so dedicated and generous. Now, according to my auction page, it will say that someone else is the highest bidder. If I choose to honor BOTH of these highest bids, how would I go about telling the bidder with the auction issues that she has also won? Would I respond to both comments with the above winning notification? Would she have to do anything in particular if she decides to donate more money than she committed to?

I hope that makes sense. Now that I write it out, it seems like a silly question. Thanks for your help, and thanks for doing this!

She's being directed to pages telling her that she can no longer bid.

Is she bidding on a different site? Or is it a comment-posting problem? Is there something we can do to help her?

I think that for our own indexing purposes, if you choose to offer 2 things, we would be much obliged if you could post a reply to your own bid with this info (and possibly something in the title like 'now offering two [what it is you're offering]' or even 'Note to mods' ;p)

You could even include the amount that person has bid and perhaps a name (does she have an LJ?) so that it can be taken into account.

Thanks for the Photobucket tutorial. Is it okay to use Photoshop as well?

Btw, great job with this community.

You can use whatever you're comfortable with. :D It's been noted by some people that blurring can apparently be undone, though, so keep that in mind, whatever you choose to do. :o)

thank you all for your hard work. im truly happy to have participated in this.

just a clarification, you said i can do one donation to cover multiple items. so does that mean if i bid $20 for one offer and $15 on one offer, i can donate $20 and that will do or should i give $35?

its probably clearly stated in your post but i may have misunderstood so... =)

It just means you can donate the total sum of your bid ($35 in your example) in one go rather than do two separate donations of $15 and $20. :o) If it's still not clear, let me know.

if I win what I bid on, I won't be able to donate until the 28th (when I get paid again), is this going to be a problem? because if the money is needed before then, I can retract my bid and let the person who put in a bid before me win the auction.

just let me know what you think I should do.


Just to clarify, do you mean the 28th of January or February?