Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Planned Parenthood of Central Texas has come up with a novel way of dealing with the ever-present picketers outside their doors: they've created a pledge program where people can 'sponsor' picketers. Each day the number of picketers are counted, and sponsors (who have pledged $0.25 - $1 per protester) are notified of the running tally at the end of the month.

Despite the low pledge cap, which is designed to encourage donations, the money adds up, especially since the picketers never go away. Every month, participating donors get a short update on activities and a monthly billing for their pledge. It's like sponsoring a runner in a charity marathon.

Once a week, PPCT puts a sign outside its clinic that says, "Even Our Protesters Support Planned Parenthood." To date, the Pledge-a-Picket program has raised $18,000 for PPCT. While not a significant chunk of its overall revenues, Pledge-a-Picket contributes greatly to PPCT's patient assistance fund, which helps clients who don't have resources get the care they need.

What an awesome hack. Protesters show up intending to harm the place, and their presence benefits the organization instead. The real beauty of this plan is that it doesn't require rational thought capabilities in the protesters... it doesn't engage them at all. But if by chance one or two of them are capable of rational thought (work with me here, people), it might occur to them that their presence is having even more of the opposite of its intended effect than it usually does.