Hi all We have decided to start a permanent Facebook group for online contets, like the Vivint Gives Back Project or the CHASE Community Giving. As we all know, we need more and better research, better advocacy, better education of doctors and the public, and many other things. All of this requires money and since most of us are not especially rich and governments are not being too generous with us, our charities are always lacking funds. These online contests are a great opportunity for us to get funding for our charities that will help us achieve progress faster. It does not require us to pay out of our own pocket and participating there is not something that's difficult or phyisically hard to do. So it's funding that can be made available for our cause quickly and without losing anything and on top of that it's even fun to participate in these contests and win. Given the huge size of our community and the fact that we are less distracted by daily life than other groups, since most of us are not working full-time, we are in a better position with regards to these contests than almost anyone else. We can win many or all of them, which means winning over a million Dollars per year. Yes, one million. And in addition to this, it will bring us publicity and can unite us as a community. Just in these very days, in the Vivint Gives Back Project, our community is on track to win 100'000$ for the WPI and maybe an additional prize of 25'000$ for either the National ME/FM Action Network, the WPI or the IACFS/ME in the wildcard drawing. A couple of days ago the WPI's Annette Whittemore thanked the community for the 65'000$ it won them in this years's CHASE Community Giving. This is something that works for us and there is more to get in these events. So our thought was that if we have a permanent group, it will allow us to gauge how many voters we have and that we will have a way to reach them. Also it will be possible to send out reminders and it might make it easier for people to participate in the contests if they can do so in the context of a group. With this group, we will be able to inform people about the chance for our community to get funding this way also in between contests and gather interested people in the group, so we will be ready when a contest comes up. The group is open to anyone, everybody is welcome, the more people join the better. One of our principles is that everybody is free to vote for whatever charity that person likes best, the group accomodates any preference and does not tell you who to vote for. All of our charities can win, we have the necessary numbers, what we need is that people become aware of this chance and help with their participation. Members can make up their own minds about when it's best to support multiple participants (if there are) or unite behind one charity. This personal freedom should be respected. Discussions will still take place here on Phoenix Rising and wherever you like to hang out, the idea of the group is not to take people away from another place. It's better we keep the talking here on the forums, so it stays in the spotlight. With that being said, we hope that all of you, whoever reads this message, will join and that we will have a lot of success raising funds for our charities. See you there. Helen (helen41), Eric (eric_s), Janelle, Alex (Alex3619), Glenna (glenp) Here is what you need to do to join the group: - You need a Facebook account. You can get it for free here: http://www.facebook.com/. All it asks you for, in order to sign up, is name, surname, an email adress, gender and birthday. Don't enter any additional information, if you would like to protect your privacy. Also you don't need to make any contacts, you can use your account exclusively for the participation in these contests. Signing up takes 2 minutes and could not be easier. - Then follow this link http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/groups/115200951912652/ and join the group. The group is set up in such a way that you have to be admitted to the group by an admin, but this will mostly happen within minutes. Don't be put off by this, the group is open to anyone and we will be happy to admit you to the group. The only reason we chose this privacy setting is that this way only members are able to read the group's postings. We thought it's smarter if other groups that we are competing against in contests don't know our group even exists or don't know what we are doing. That's it. Once you've joined the group, you will find documents on the right hand side of the page that explain the group and list upcoming and current contests/fundraising events and provide instructions about how to vote/participate.