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"Do Not Ask": Lessig's Plan to End Fundraising Emails

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, February 24 2010

Larry Lessig, ever creative, is trying out what does seem to be a new one as far as the field of email techniques goes. Lessig is giving people on his Fix Congress First email list a chance to opt out -- forever and ever -- from fundraising emails sent from his organization (one dedicated, perhaps a tad ironically, to small-dollar election funding). You can still stay opted in for Fix Congress First's requests for help that don't have anything to do with money, or for informational emails.

Lessig's "Do Not Ask" email is after the jump:

Friend --

I hate feeling that someone is pretending to talk to me when they're really asking me for money. I hate feeling that the only reason I'm receiving an email from some organization is because they hope I'm going to click the "DONATE NOW" button.

Maybe you're different. Maybe you like being asked for money. But if you're like me, read on.

In this email, we're doing something that no other advocacy group has ever done (or at least none we've heard of): We are giving you the opportunity to opt out of any email that asks for money -- forever.

Of course I am grateful beyond words for the support literally thousands of you have shown for Change Congress over the past 20 months. We are building a real movement to restore integrity to our democratic institutions.

And of course, this effort isn't cheap. Even running our programs as leanly and efficiently as possible, we need a strong financial base to continue spreading our message, organizing our supporters, and moving our country ever closer to the fundamental change you and I know is necessary.

But reform isn't built by money alone. There are people who simply want to engage the issues. There are people who want to volunteer. And there are people who just want to keep up with what's happening, and how the argument develops, without the feeling that they're supposed to pay for the privilege of an email that costs .0002 cents to send.

So you choose. We can't make this too complicated, but we want to give you the ability to opt into messages that never ask you for money. If you do, we will never send you an email that asks for money either directly or indirectly. Instead, we will continue to send you messages about our work and about this campaign. We may ask you to volunteer or we may request your feedback. But money won't ever be part of the motive for those messages. This will be the movement beyond money.

If you don't opt into this "do not ask" list, we will continue to email as we have before. Sometimes we'll make an explicit ask for money. Always we will enable that option at the end of any message we send. We won't be pushy. We only ever want to make it easy. But if you don't opt into the "do not ask" list, we will assume you are OK with the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle ask.

We are incredibly grateful if you continue to let us ask. It is the only way we can fund this movement. But regardless of whether we can ask for money, we want you to be part of our movement.

So choose now.

If you'd like to opt out of receiving asks for money, you can do so here:

If you don't click on that link, nothing will change. You'll continue to receive all messages from Change Congress, and it'll be up to you when and how to take action.

Thank you for your support in the past. I am hopeful we will continue to earn your support in the future.

-- Lawrence Lessig