Sometimes you have to toot your own horn
to honor those who gave you the instrument
– April Brown

My life seems to be filled with one important person after another shaping what I care about and how I respond to that caring. If you are the kind of person who can’t ignore an injustice and feel compelled to initiate change, you are probably a change-maker too. Nearly all change requires funding and fundraising has been a passion of mine for more than 25 years.

I know fundraising from “both sides of the aisle” so to speak. I am the founder of a charity and I am a charity auctioneer.  Auctioneering has exposed me to hundreds of change-makers who challenge me daily – if not hourly to – DO SOMETHING and there is so much to do. I believe change brings health to our society and because of charities we can make nearly every part of the people and the planet better. I know change is possible because I’ve seen it with my own eyes again and again. Non-profit organizations are society’s plasma and a charity auction is the needed transfusion for anemic programs, services and support.

LASTING CHANGE

Some change comes with small nudges. Other with steady chipping away, while some change gets a boost from a viral social media Big Bang.  Even short-term change can lead to a better and more doable action the next time around. Lasting change usually requires the collective passion of many to suffocate fear and  uncertainty. But lasting change never comes before the moment when a change-maker says “enough is enough” .

THE VICTIM FIGHTS BACK

Some people are change-makers quite by accident. I consider myself the accidental and somewhat reluctant change-maker. In October of 2011, I foolishly got ensnared by a copyright troll and literally fell through a strange dimension of entrapment, fraud, extortion and Internet bullying simply because I shared a poem on my blog. When I learned that I was just one of hundreds if not thousands of people who had been wrongfully accused of copyright infringement by the author that I felt compelled to investigate the issue and report the abuse. The scam has been in place for nearly two decades and gone almost entirely unnoticed outside of the targets and victims.  When I personally experienced an aggressive and slanderous Internet campaign for speaking publicly about the scam, the intimidation tactics escalated into a courtroom and got noticed by the First Amendment attorney Eugene Volohk and New York Copyright Attorney Oscar Michelen.  The case got noticed by the Georgia Supreme Court and was heard in October of 2015. That favorable ruling was the beginning of the unraveling of The Dash Extortion Scheme. We declared victory on June 12, 2016 after four years and saving more than 346 people from becoming a victim. I’m sure there are hundreds more I have not heard from who read my columns and took my advice.

When the injustice was visited upon me I responded like many of you who are reading this would.  Saying yes to standing against Troll Abuse still coughs up something good on almost daily. There has been no downside to this experience and I rate it as a life-changing having delivered unimaginable rewards.