Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Refreshed Chance at $50,000 ~ by Deanna

I must honestly admit that I was not at all excited about a third month of struggling with Pepsi. I use the word struggle because the system became clogged with comments as contenders became increasingly creative in their desire to fund a dream.

If you’ve followed this journey with us at all, you know we ended April at 79 and were then surprised to roll over to May. Personally, I was not eager to push our supporters to spend more of their time on this as it seemed an insurmountable challenge. If we had landed in the top 20, certainly, but near 80? Then sometime near the end of the first week of May, our position began to consistently improve and our optimism was sparked.

Our regular second Saturday Open House brought a visitor who claimed responsibility for the shift. She’d devised a plan and began a few days before, creating many accounts to vote, vote, vote. She asked for volunteers and I offered a list to call from, but that I could not devote time to her plan. Obviously, it was working and without any sort of restraint on Pepsi’s part, this sort of idea seemed inevitable and was beginning to spread quickly. She signed up as A CHANCE FOR BLISS which concerned our board. What controls did we have? Strategic alliances were formed ~ “We’ll vote for you if you’ll vote for us.” I’m good with that concept, but this, too, quickly appeared to explode to the point that Pepsi added “Keep It Civil” at the comment box. I moved from being excited to view the comments from supporters to fearful to look at our page as we eclipsed 3000 comments, most saying things like “XYZ sending 200 votes your way!” Who’s to say… there was no way to know anything. Pepsi gives us absolutely no insight at all.

On the 17th, I posted my gratitude on Facebook. I received a scathing e-mail from our new friend, accusing me of becoming complacent, claiming that she was responsible for 95% of the votes that were happening for us between her alliances and personal commitment. Apparently, because I had been unable to “scrounge up any volunteers” to help her, she began spending $200 daily on hired voters with four computers in action at all times, she was sleeping only 3-4 hours a night, and neglecting her family. She suggested that Woody and I reduce our sleep to help her. I will stop there and trust that you realize this was all self-imposed and I would certainly not encourage this behavior from anyone.

The voting process began to slow from the excess activity and I began Googling, expecting to find some talk about what was happening. I was surprised to find very little, just one article about a contestant crying foul over potential cheating, aside from complaints about submission difficulties. The thought of rolling into a third month with this sort of uncontrolled manipulation made me sick ~ it is still early in the year and I envisioned servers crashing, but mostly I thought about the honest, sincere and dedicated friends who would become frustrated by their inability to simply vote.

Today’s e-mail from Pepsi was (pun intended) refreshing:

“Your idea "Support the rescue of senior animals at A Chance for Bliss sanctuary." was not voted to receive a $50,000 grant. However, you finished among the Top 100 in your grant tier.

Since you came so close, we're giving your idea another chance by automatically entering it into the next Submission Period. To be fair to everyone, the vote counter has been set to zero. Voting for the next cycle is now open. Start spreading the news to your friends & family and tell them to vote. There's no time to lose, voting ends June 30th, 2010.

IMPORTANT RULE UPDATE: Please note that as of June 1, 2010 rules for the Pepsi Refresh Project have been updated to expressly prohibit proxy voting. To ensure a fair, accurate count of votes, the site is monitored by an outside company. Any idea that uses proxy voting, which includes but is not limited to creating multiple or dummy accounts and voting on behalf of other users, may be disqualified.”

So here we are and I have mixed feelings. On this first day of the third month, we’re in the mid-twenties. I completely understand if you never want to see the name Pepsi and A Chance for Bliss in the same sentence again and so you won’t. I’ll be voting but I am incredibly grateful that no one else need try to kill themselves doing so. Reading the last line above after our recent experience, I realize that we have no control and could easily be disqualified by the actions of another completely unknown to us.

I leave it to the Universe. Trust me when I say that $50,000 would mean a great deal to our work, but it isn’t worth pushing and scheming and upset. Our kids have good karma. We will either prevail on the honest intention of our support team or not. I refuse to pass judgment over ideas that succeeded while ours did not. I will personally cast votes for causes I feel inclined to, regardless of who pledged support to us. I know very little about the volunteer who formed many of our alliances, but I am saddened to think what might motivate such extreme behavior. I hope that any competing Cause feeling slighted by us might understand and I pray that they do not receive such “help.”

My Dad loved Pepsi, by the way.

I apologize that I will leave this blog without touching on other topics, as there has been a great deal happening here, as always. Others might not agree, but I always feel compelled to speak my truth with our friends. Many have spent a great deal of effort on this and the least I can do is respond from the heart.

Bug is barking… gotta run!

"Oh, look! A Bunnny!"
(i.e, so much for signing off, something just popped up)

I am happy to see that I'm not the only one who can't seem to comment in a timely manner; Rick Lamb just posted about Light Hands Horsemanship just minutes ago. And he's right ~ GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY!!!

The Horse Show Blog


Meg said...

I will continue to vote every day, honestly and fairly! I hope that this lady doesn't get an honest organization disqualified.

A Chance for Bliss said...

I know her intentions were good, but I could hardly believe the extremes she went to. So glad Pepsi stepped in, but I still don't think it was enough. We'll see...

Jules said...

Ex-Californian, Current Marylander who randomly read about you in a newspaper. I just registered and voted and will do so all month. And ... thank you for the work you do.

Debbie from Four Feet Fotos said...

I'm still voting!!!
: - )