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Posted on: Fri, 05/02/2003 - 11:53pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Sorry, rather than edit.....
But also, if I did have the money, PA.com is at the top of my list of where my money would go right now. Definitely.
We can ALL say that we contribute something to this site rather than finances, but, of course, finances are what is needed to keep the site operating ultimately.
I would pay for my membership if I could afford it. PA.com would be at the top of my list. This comes from a woman who used to have several different charitable donations a year (different places). I'm just not in that space right now.
I'd like to thank Chris for understanding that (the reason I said he was approachable, compassionate and understanding is because I e-mailed him three years ago when I found this site, explained my situation, and well, here I am [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 12:00am
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

My personal feelings is it should continue to run as a site where people can find help and where others can stumble in(as non-members) and read, lurk and post for the purpose of [b]getting the right information out there[/b]. I do not think it should be disclosed for all to see whether or not people have paid.
If a paid dues were required we would certainly not get visits from the non-PA community. They do drop in and sometimes play a valuable role in the education of the general population.
It seems to me it is a voluntary thing at the moment. I have never been limited in my posting, I have never been approached personally for $$, and initiated my contact with Chris regarding $$.
I just think perhaps a more aggressive drive/approach to sliciting the dues would help bring more in. As Gail has said, and I said, we never realized it was required(and really isn't, since we were here for along time before paying and I still have yet to actually send my membership, but have pledged it).
What made me really think about it and then I felt pretty bad, is that Chris is doing this for a passionate cause. He has made alot of sacrifices to do it. Simply stated and not more than that, but I have read here or in some press release, how he relocated to make it his full-time career. I suspect it is not very lucrative.
It is totally personal, but I can certainly find a place to dip for some $$ for PA.com(after the tax check comes in, LOL). I also think if one cannot pay the $25 or $125, that $5 or $7 or $10 would not be returned! This is in no way directed personally to anyone. Just some ideas and thoughts I have. becca
[This message has been edited by becca (edited May 03, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 1:36am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Thank you, thank you for posting your thoughts. I was brainstorming... and I guess what I really hoped for was an open, honest, respectful discussion about this topic. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I'm grateful that this is happening...
I completely agree that there are oher ways that members can contribute (other than financially). You both (becca and Cindy) are poster members for that point!
Some more interesting points were raised, and I hope Chris will pop in to answer these and the other questions raised.
Cindy, in a different thread you asked a great question... something like, "Who is our advocate?" Tho FAAN has done a great job in so many ways, they seem to fall short in the advocating department for some. They avoid controversay, come out opposing bnas, etc. It's not intended as a slam to FAAN because we need them too. But if they are not my advocacy group, then who is? So I keep asking myself... "Who is our advocate?"
This site is so vaulable in the day-to-day crisis management we're all are dealing w/. I think that's advocay. Especially for newcomers, and those dealing with schools trying to keep our kids safe.
I just keep thinking about "Who is our advocate?" Who is out there trying to change things for the better for us? So that maybe not so many newcomers need the crisis management...
For example, I love the idea of having a library of 504/IHPs. I really think that could make life easier for so many. It would have made a difference for me to go to my school with a folder of say a dozen plans that were on school letterhead w/ contact information that were actually functioning. My school would have been recptive to that, and used the plans as models.
But how do we make this "library" happen? How can it get bumped up as a priority? out from the (much needed) day-to-day crisis support?
If Chris said, okay, to do this I need to dedicate X number of staff hours at $ X wage. To do this it would cost about $X, do you think some members would contribute to make it happen? I think so... I know that I would.
Maybe I'm babbling.... I guess I'm just thinking about how this site could be more and how to make that happen.
Am I off the mark here? I really hope people will share their thoughts about this...
Gail

Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 1:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Gail, I hear what you're saying and I also, of course, see another question. Who is our advocate? I know a lot of people (not myself because I used my *real* name here, new to the internet and all) refer their children's schools to this website for information. Or family members. Or friends.
I do know that if you have the time and are able to volunteer, Chris does welcome volunteer work from members. I've done it in the past and know of two other members who have. It may simply be something like researching a particular topic that Chris himself doesn't have the time for at that particular moment and he'll simply say, hey, could you help me out with this and post it on the board?
I also agree with becca. I'm sure that no matter how small a sum was submitted (lower than the $25.00 membership fee), it would be accepted to keep PA.com (which is a really *good* thought, becca).
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 1:59am
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

I also agree with the suggestion of accepting Canadian funds. Here in Canada, it is not easy to get a cheque in US funds. The only way I have been able to do it in the past is to go to the bank (which is quite hard to do sicne they are only open during work hours and close at 5pm), and then I have to buya US$ money order. It would simplify things in order to be able to send Can$ and with the number of Canadians posting on here that would be a good idea I believe.
Another point is that many people on here do not even realize you can pay a membership... I have never received any emails about it, and I never even knew there was a membership until I'd been here over a year.
One idea would be that an email be sent to everyone who registers at the site informing them about the membership so that people will know about it so that they will have the option of contributing [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 2:03am
Gail W's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

more questions to add to the list:
9. What does the "dot com" mean?
10. If someone doesn't have the money to become a member, can they volunteer time in lieu of a financial donation?
11. Are our donations tax deductible?
12. Is PA.com open to members donating for a specific goal (e.g. creating a 504 library)? Or is that like "buying influence"?
And I guess the big one for me is:
13. Why IS there a $25 yearly membership at all? (i.e. Is it necessary? since so many don't pay it anyway....)

Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 2:23am
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I know the answer to #11. You reminded me of the nature of my contacting Chris about the issue at all. It was to inquire as to the differencec between a "Membership" and "Charter Membership", and to find out if it were tax deductible.
It is not tax deductible at this time. I believe there is legal issues in defining and being able to accept tax deductible funds. becca

Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 7:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Gail W., definitely no, membership fees are NOT tax deductible because you're not paying them to a charitable organization (a .org , which I believe FAAN still is). I'm also not a member of AAIA or Anaphylaxis Canada here in Canada so I'm not clear what their status is as far as being tax deductible or not.
The reason again would be the PA.com is a company, a company that is allowed to make a profit (whether or not it does is highly debatable) and the profit would go to the person who owns the company.
Also, for this reason, if you're doing volunteer work for anyone where you need to get credited volunteer work (say mandatory volunteer credits now required in Ontario high schools), any volunteer work you did for PA.com would not be considered *true* volunteer work because it is for a company rather than an organization or some place people in power (i.e., government) feels needs volunteers.
In Ontario, our welfare system is called Ontario Works and you are required to either work or volunteer to receive your monthly cheque from Ontario Works. Volunteer work on behalf of PA.com is not considered volunteer work, again, because it's a company and it's an internet company. What is considered volunteer work is volunteering at the school, nursing homes, etc., places where the government feels they need people power and can't be paid for it.
I would have to check, but I'm fairly sure that membership dues for AAIA and Anaphylaxis Canada *might* be considered tax deductible under charitable donations. I believe the same would be true for FAAN.
There was some discussion of PA.com being a company a couple of years ago on the board and I had another member contact me and just ask me to please be quiet, PA.com is ALL we have as far as information, support, etc. That is very very true as I seem to prove to myself each and every day. And certainly PA.com is not the only company out there dealing with peanut allergies or food allergies *possibly* for profit.
Is MedicAlert a .org or is it now a .com as well?
Again, I hear what you're saying, but I also know that at this point in time I can't afford to pay a membership fee. I can't afford to give any more of my time to this website (since I feel as though I spend my life here anyway) volunteering. What I can do is keep that mental note in my head that, as I posted above, I owe Chris three years worth of membership fees when I do have the money and he would be the first one to get it.
erik, you also made a good point. As soon as one registers with PA.com, an automatically generated e-mail could be sent out saying that you have registered and that the membership fee is $25.00 annually.
I do think we see it every so often where Chris will post something on the board so it becomes clear that money is needed and in any e-mail correspondence I have ever had from him there is always the information about becoming a member and where to send money to. I believe he tries and I also believe he tries harder when he feels the need to.
I am not saying people should not pay membership dues here. I'm saying pay them if you can afford them and feel comfortable doing so. But I would have to say that for those of us that can't pay, how much crappier could life get if we couldn't even come to PA.com when we're having difficulties just because we're in financial difficulties as well?
There are a LOT of people posting on this board who aren't going to admit it, but they certainly don't have the money for membership and yet they do need this website for the wealth of what it has to offer. It would be a sad day when those of us who couldn't afford membership dues all of a sudden couldn't visit PA.com
Gail, I see you're doing a lot of thinking in your head about this and I guess, because I'm feeling defensive since I'm one of the people that can't afford to pay (and also because I'm Curious Cindy), why are you wondering so much about the membership fees and if they're being paid?
Deb O., I also really liked what you had to say.
There have been very few other websites that I have visited where you had to pay to use the website. The one that I distinctly remember is a dictionary website. Jesse had said a word that I didn't feel comfortable with - stupid. I couldn't find my *real* dictionary and I went on-line to look up the word with him so he would know what it meant and why it wasn't okay for him to use it. Well, lo and behold, you had to pay to use the website, so we had to search out another dictionary website where you didn't have to pay. Then, there was the Disney website, but I think that was only if you wanted to become part of the club and be able to participate in certain on-line activities. But certainly discussion forums, I have never seen a membership fee (of course, I've been to very few of them as well) for being able to use them to discuss whatever it is you're discussing.
erik, I also think Chris would probably take just the good old $25.00 Canadian if you forced it on him. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 10:20am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Gail W., just a thought. Sure, we've all weighed in as members with our thoughts/answers to your questions. How about e-mailing Chris with them and see what his response is. Some of your questions, in particular, only Chris would be able to answer (or some of the other questions that have since been raised - i.e., where is the newsletter?), where do the funds go, etc. I'm sure that he would be able to give you the comprehensive answers that you need rather than all of us just surmising and commenting. Just a thought.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2003 - 1:07pm
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
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Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

Hi everyone,
Lots of questions and good ones! I will try to answer them in the next few weeks. It is very busy and we are about a week behind in what needs to be done here in the office. On top of this, some of the people that were working had to cut their hours recently, we are working to find new people to work. If you would like to be considered please let me know.
A "company" verses non-profit status is something we hope to raise the money to be able to address in the next twelve months (hopefully sooner). There is lot that needs to be done, working on the wording for the charter so we can work on what needs to be addressed etc. We have a plan and have been doing pretty well with it. We would like to set up an action non-profit, with the possibility of an action and an educational non-profit. I will be talking with lawyers again in the next few weeks. Of course every meeting I have creates more work that needs to be done. We have not found lawyers in our community who are able to do the non-profit set up for us, it is complicated and some have been working to find their friends that do this type of work. Either way, we will need money to get this done, so please help.
We are working on the newsletter and hope to have it out in the next few months, and then quarterly. Some of the articles are in, some are having some final touches done etc. and there is lots of other work that needs to be done before we give it to the printer.
If you have not signed up already to receive the newsletter, be sure to fill out a contact form (or let us know that you want to sign up to receive it). You can click on the Register and Join link near the top of the page for options.
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Stay Safe,
[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

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