Thursday, November 03, 2011

Veteran Kickstarter, I need your help.

You've likely heard of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church; they rose to fame when they protested the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young man beaten because he was gay, and they've been spreading misery every since. They run around with signs (with suspiciously gay color palettes) reading "God Hates Fags," "God Hates America," etc.

God apparently hates all the same people Fred Phelps hates.

Well isn't that convenient.

Last year Phelps and Westboro decided to protest the funeral of a 9 year-old girl killed during the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.

That was kind of the last straw for me.

I've been working on plans for a website that will, in short, allow those targeted by Phelps (41,000 since 2001) to activate a turn-key, instantly-sharable website URL such as:

…that will allow visitors to donate money to the targeted cause by sponsoring Phelps and his entourage. In other words, for every minute that Phelps sticks around, or for every Westboro member that shows up, someone can donate some amount, perhaps $1 or $5, and Phelps will be raising money for the very people he intends to harm.

We will not be handling money. Sponsors will be sent instructions on how to mail/paypal their donations directly to the target.

While I came up with this idea about a decade ago, others have gone and done the same thing quite successfully on a one-off basis. Problem is, right now everyone targeted by Phelps that wants to do the same thing, each targeted group has to re-invent the wheel, figure out how to run this kind of campaign, generate media, create awareness, etc.

I'd like to make it easier.

So I thought Kickstarter might be a good fit. It'll take a few weeks to design the website and a few months to write it, not to mention a bit of advertising so people know it's a resource if Phelps plans on showing up. I also intend to devote a few hours each week to calling Phelps' hit list to let them know this resource is available.

I'm not sure what to make for rewards since the project isn't creating a tangible item. One idea is to simply put people's name on a backer list on the website. Or to send Phelps & Co. a nice postcard with a backer's name, thanking them for their fundraising efforts. =)

But I'd love to hear what ideas you have about how I could make some amazing rewards for the sponsors.

PS: I know this won't stop Phelps. It isn't designed to. Westboro isn't even motivated by the Bible like he claims, they just like to be seen as God's vanguards.

"When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."

        Matthew 6:5-6

And there ain't nobody who likes to wear their religion more publicly than Westboro Baptist. Maybe that's why they're so angry.