Creating a Paypal Donate Button Without Login

December 19, 2015

There is a fair amount of stuff about paypal that is weird, but if you google long enough, even the casual user (that is me) can figure out how to do stuff.

I am the interim Treasurer for the Enable Community Foundation, and we have a non-profit business paypal account.  Before we were a 501(c)3 approved organization, we used the amazing Fab Foundation as our fiscal sponsor.  They did not have time or staff to create a donate button for us to use, so I had to do that myself.  The donations went to Fab Foundation, identified by a particular email address associated with their Paypal account, and with a note about ECF so they could distinguish between donations to Fab Foundation vs donations to us.

Now we are a 501(c)3, so we can login to our account and make whatever fancy buttons we want.  Not that we have a lot of time or staff to do that either…. but in the interest of enabling other websites to donate to ECF via their own button, I want to document how that can be done here.

This page (today, might disappear tomorrow) shows the url for creating a button is different depending on whether or not you are logged in:


The “when not logged in” link takes you here:

paypal2The green arrows indicate the bits you must fill out to create the button.


Choose a button type of Donations.

For the Organization name/service field, put in Enable Community Foundation.

The Donation ID is optional, but it will be reported with the donation to the ECF, so make it meaningful.

Click Use your own button image and then paste in a url for an image on your website.  For example, I used this somewhat goofy image url.silly-logo


The most important part of this button is the Email address to receive payments.  Set that email address to:

Here is the button that I made for this example, just to illustrate that you really do have to provide your own image for the button.  If you want to use the official ECF logo on your website, then you should contact us at

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Open Work

November 18, 2015

Open communities working on open solutions to various problem will save the world, and not just by solving those problems, whatever they are.

The e-nable community designs and builds open source prosthetic hands, fingers, and arms and gives them away for free. Teachers all over the world use e-nable related projects in their classes and clubs for service learning. Students and other volunteer makers learn that building and giving a hand to someone who can use it, literally, is so much fun it is like magic. A close second to that magic, though, is working in an open community where people are eager to help by suggesting solutions to problems and answering your questions. Open collaboration, too, is like magic.

Yet this collaborative problem solving is not what will save the world. It is the single-focus, shared-goal relationships based on shared work and problem solving within a community that crosses all borders, diversity variables and even languages that will, over time, save the world. When everyone is part of an open community, with friends and colleagues in all countries, it will be much more difficult to objectify a purported enemy.

However – open communities can be chaotic. Unlike a company, where you can at least attempt to avoid hiring crazy people, and maybe someday fire people who are counterproductive, in an open community, everyone is…. welcome. There are people who are into fame and self-aggrandizement. There are people who are manic-depressive. There are people who are offended by imagined or real offenses. There are flame wars. There are honest mistakes, incompetence, and maybe on rare occasions malice but who really knows for sure?

(And who says that ‘crazy’ people cannot do good work and make valuable contributions? What are they supposed to do, go sit in a tree and be crazy while the purportedly sane people do all the good work?)

Sometimes communities self-organize and create governance. Some have a BDFL or two: Benevolent Dictator For Life. Some open source projects spawn businesses and standards and all sorts of useful products.

The tricky part, and thus the really interesting part, is in the logistics of working in the open. How exactly does this work? The only way to find out is to practice and learn from hard experience what works and what fails.

I do not think that open communities must be limited to problems that can be solved with maker technologies, nor must they operate on a global scale, as e-nable does. I can imagine an open community of law enforcement professionals sharing best practices for police training, since obviously municipal governments are always underfunded and there is an epidemic of two-way objectification between police and the communities they serve.

Or how about an open community working to solve homelessness in a very local geography that figures out how to welcome people rather than cleaning up the space by sending them “away” i.e. anywhere but here, thank you very much.

When you do service work in the open, individuals and foundations can see what good you are trying to do and, if it seems to have merit, they will give you money to try to help you do it. There is no guarantee that you will succeed, but you will have fun, build relationships with people you otherwise would never know, learn something and, even through failures, contribute to the art of working in the open.

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Jumping vs. Falling in Love

September 20, 2015
Allen, Sarah Addison (2015-01-20). First Frost (p. 275). St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.

Allen, Sarah Addison (2015-01-20). First Frost (p. 275). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.

First Frost did not disappoint me. Not only did I get the kindle version, I also bought the audible version, and I’ve listened to it many times.

I love love love the teenage Bay. Actually, I love all the characters. I am astonished that Sarah Addison Allen created a sequel that is as good as Garden Spells, maybe even better in some ways. This is one of my favorite quotes:  Maybe you don’t fall in love. Maybe you jump.

“Falling” in love is so passive! People hope and pray for it, and then wistfully remember it as something that is highly unlikely to happen again within the constraints of a monogamous relationship. It has a subtle subtext of newness.

“Jumping” is so much more active! It is something one can practice, over and over again, for many decades, sharing and creating a lot of love and laughter in the process.

The paragraphs just before and after that quote are what I truly believe, too, but Allen articulates it so perfectly. Like magic.

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Tableau Community Question

September 9, 2015

I posted two questions in the Tableau Community along with this example. I’m embedding it here to see if I still remember how to do this, since we are not yet able to embed any actual reports at work.

I rediscovered that in order to see all of the worksheets (or in this case, dashboards) as tabs, you have to click on Edit Details on Tableau Public when you save there, and check the little box that says to do that. Otherwise, you just get one dashboard, no tabs showing the others.

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