Recurring Electronic Donations: Create a Subscription Service to Your Rights


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I thought long and hard about what my technology column was going to say in a post-Trump world. Plenty of people who write about technology have done a bang-up job writing about security now that our government is set to become, like the rest of 2016, a garbage fire. If you don’t know that you should download Signal by now, then here’s Signal.

Today I want to talk about how, using only the power and technology of PayPal and online billing, you build a subscription service of sorts. It’s the same kind of subscription you might have for Treehouse or Skillshare or those fun box services like Art Snacks. Except this subscription service helps funnel money into the widest gaps that will yawn open when our new White Nationalist President takes his oath this coming January. Setting up a small recurring donation at one or more of the following organizations may help mitigate some of the rampant Hades-ness of the next four years. Jezebel has also thought in this same vein, and you will see some overlap in these lists. I’m focusing on the technology of recurring donations because that allows you to make a small donation that amasses over time—kind of like putting coins in a piggy bank.


The ACLU gets its own category because they’ve promised that they will see Ivanka’s Dad in court if he enacts any of his flagrantly illegal and unconstitutional policies. This legal organization fights human rights abuses with the power of law and lawyers. They allow monthly recurring donation. Donate here.

Environment and Climate Change

The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is already looking at ways to safeguard our environment from Ivanka’s Dad (by the way, got the idea never to say his name from Ann Friedman on Call Your Girlfriend). They’re the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country. There are a whole bunch of different ways you can give, including joining. But they also have a recurring monthly gift, which is what this post is focusing on.

National Resources Defense Council

The NRDC, aside from being Marshall on How I Met Your Mother’s dream job, works to protect us from climate catastrophe by fighting fossil fuel projects and a whole host of other stuff. They litigate, build partnerships and support science. And you can donate monthly.

Civil Liberties


“Our mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. And we’ve been doing it since 1909.” Need I say more? When you first hit up their donate page, it isn’t immediately apparent that they have a monthly recurring option. But they do—fill out the form and then check the box for monthly recurring at the end of the form.


This is the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, because our Mexican American community deserves something better than a President who thinks…you know what, I’m just not gonna repeat it. Much like the NAACP, MALDEF doesn’t look like it has a recurring option, but it does. Check the box at the bottom.

Southern Poverty Law Center

The best pitch for the SPLC comes directly from their website:

With your help, we’re standing up for the most vulnerable people in society – those who have no other champion. We’re exposing hate and injustice, fighting discrimination, and providing award-winning anti-bias materials – free of charge – to schools across America.

We never take legal fees from our clients, and we accept no government funding. Rather, we rely on the compassion and generosity of people like you.

They’re going to have their work cut out for them. They accept monthly recurring donations.


I am furious at the mainstream media for how this election turned out. On the whole, they paid attention to a nonstory in order to gain clicks. The way to stop clickbaity articles and encourage responsible journalism, however, IS TO PAY FOR JOURNALISM. That helps divorce the profitability of reporting from how popular something is. Here are some ways to do that

Autostraddle A+ Membership.

You can keep us running in this horrific time by joining A+, which starts at just $4 a month. Hell, $2.50 if you bill that yearly! But I encourage you to join at a higher level if you can. Join here.

Your Local or State Paper

I wrote a post in 2014 about paying for journalism. Mostly it still holds up. Pay for journalism. Stay engaged. Read that post and subscribe to your local paper. Mine happens to be the New York Times, which is, like, not a helpful thing to call out. But do it. Get the news, and if you don’t want to waste paper, pay for news posted digitally.

This might go without saying, but supporting local goes for everything on this list, not just media. These organizations are, for the most part, national ones. Even as you’re donating to the ACLU and The Sierra Club, make sure to research local organizations that could use your help. The burden is going to be shifted down into States and counties.

LGBT Rights

The Trevor Project

This is a suicide hotline for LGBT youth. There have already been an uptick in suicides and attempted suicides. Our children are scared. This is one organization that can help with that. You can make a monthly recurring donation.

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

For those who are looking to change their names in the next 70 days before this toadstool of an administration takes over, TLDEF does, among other things, name change work. And they do a ton of other things. This one REALLY looks like it doesn’t take monthly donations, but I super promise that if you enter an amount and click donate, you can make a monthly donation when it takes you to the next form.

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

“The Sylvia Rivera Law Project works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence.” Need I say more? Also in high school, a workshop run by Sylvia Rivera Law Project was one of my awakening moments, so I have a personal love for them too. Their form is unique in that you can make a monthly recurring donation, but you can also do weekly or yearly.

Women in Politics

EMILY’s List

“We ignite change by getting pro-choice Democratic women elected to office.” I’m here for this. And you can be too, with either a monthly recurring donation or by becoming a Friend of Emily, which is essentially the same thing.

She Should Run

This is an incubator to get women involved in running for public office. They have tools if you’re planning to run yourself (you should. Local government is always important, but it’s even more important in times of extreme crisis) but they also have this handy form that allows you anonymously ask women who you love and admire to consider running. Here’s the monthly recurring donation page, which is different from the regular donation page.

And Finally, Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood also gets its own heading because you may have seen that article run round, that Obama has protected Planned Parenthood forever. I’m pretty sure that’s untrue; I’m pretty sure it can be overturned. There’s very little a president can do that’s truly permanent, which is good most of the time. You can absolutely make a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood; the minimum is $5.

What Else?

It’s pretty fucked up that people are gonna try take away what should be basic rights. We cannot count on federal funding for any of these things anymore. It is 100% fucked that we, a group of often broke marginalized people, are on the hook for paying for these very basic services, for lawyers and lobbyists to defend what should be common sense. But that’s what reality is right now. In this capitalist system, we have to vote with our money as well as our actual vote. So. What else? I’m only one person — what other worthy organizations are going to help us stay resilient for the next four years (and beyond, should the Supreme Court be devastated). Let’s build a list together in the comments.

A brief note: I’ll be on a panel next weekend on November 19th at Out in Tech. If you’re in New York City, consider attending!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. I don’t know that much about tech, but I’m definitely out and your articles make me feel smarter. I’ll see if I can make it to the conference and say hi.

    Thanks to autocorrect for trying to change definitely to effeminately. A little heavy-handed but not wrong.

  2. The rainbow piggy bank is so cuuuuuuute.

    Another great idea by AS reader dev (hope they don’t mind me sharing) is to make sure your daily purchases go towards groups that supported your candidates. For example, toiletries at CVS from black-owned businesses is an easy way to go. Banking with a credit union. I think there’s at least one app for this, but I don’t know it. Anyone?

    Also, having a vegan meal now and then (or more!), and taking advantage of / supporting recycling, is a concrete thing that you can actually do. It may not feel like much as one individual, but studies have shown that if one person in a social group adopts these practices, it has a ripple effect.

    sorry, neither of these are tech / subscription oriented, maybe someone can bridge that gap for me/us with some comment of relevant apps or online resources? surely there will be apps towards these ends in the pipeline, for all our Anit-Ivanka’s-dad activities.

  3. Thank you. It’s a relief to know about concrete actions one can take to fight back. I’m glad that people started fighting back within hours of the results being announced. If we keep it up, we might be able to add Douche Jerk Trump to the list of “horrific, but short lived” dictatorships.
    I downloaded Signal, and texted a link to this article to my Mom and Grandma. Even before the election, I placed “A+” membership and “Planned Parenthood Donations” on my birthday/holiday wish list.

  4. Is there any way to start making recurring donations without patronizing PayPal, which is a Trump supporting business?

    • In my experiance, most places allow you to directly use a credit or debit card. Rarely do you actually have to use PayPal.

    • I’m not sure this is true? PayPal’s owner is a Trump supporter but he left the company over ten years ago.

  5. I’m going to bookmark this and whenever I have a bit extra to spare choose one to donate to. Wednesday morning I gave all I could to AS in addition to my A+ membership because I wouldn’t know what to do if I lost this community.

  6. Similar to Emily’s List the campaign world also has a million pacs and groups but the other biggest ones I know are Victory Fund (helps openly LGBT candidates), League of Conservation Voters (particularly well known for raising money for enviro friendly candidates), and Latino Victory Fund (helps latinx candidates). All of them take reoccurring.

    And another group that specifically does local female candidate training is EMERGE.

    Basically there are a ton of groups out there doing great work and we need to help them and also help them connect to people who could use them.

  7. I feel like a chump to keep paying for WaPo when it let me down so much. Ali’s absolutely right though, the media’s not going to get better unless we support thoughtful, non-clickbait journalism.

    Another thought: I don’t know how many people have cable anymore, but it might be worth it to cancel it and push the money to more responsible news sources. 24 hour news definitely helped create Trump. Depending on your package, you could save at least 40 bucks a month and put that money towards a streaming service, your local paper, and NPR instead.

    • I’m considering to get a digital WaPo subscription because they are effing heroes for digging up those Trump tapes from ten years back.
      How did they let you down?
      I feel like I’m missing something.

  8. please support (local grassroots) people of color led organizing. Black Lives Matter, BYP100, Standing Rock, the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, the day laborer/worker center in your city, Familia, SOL/BSEEDZ, Black Alliance for Just Immigration,SONG, organizations on this list:

    those great big NPIC-supported orgs will survive, but these folks? If you have resources, shift them this way too.

    • Super plus one to this. Local is where the fight is gonna be – and these national orgs have way bigger budgets and way more fundraising staff than local organizations that are more directly connected to the folks who will be most impacted.

      As a brown person who both organizes with the Movement for Black Lives and who works at a big, white-led, social justice non-profit — smaller orgs, local orgs, most importantly, orgs led by and for women of color, trans and GNC folks of color, undocumented folks, Indigenous folks, etc, are the orgs that need your money most right now (and don’t forget to donate to those gofundmes shared around for individual people of color! #reparations).

      Yes, us LGBTQIA+ folks are under attack, but so are brown and Black people in this country (particularly Black and brown LGBTQIA+ folks!!!). White folks, if you are feeling guilty, this is an awesome way to channel that guilt for good. The ACLU simply does not need your money as badly.

  9. Federally Qualified Health Centers provide primary care (including reproductive and sexually health, but excluding abortions) regardless of insurance status or a patient’s ability to pay. They are a critical resource for undocumented and low income folks. They are dependent on federal funding on a number of fronts. They need private donors now more than ever. Look for your local community health center, introduce yourself, and consider giving.

  10. Just wanted to point out a distinction about Planned Parenthood, as people are deciding where their money goes.
    You can donated to Planned Parenthood or your local Planned Parenthood affiliate (for example, mine is Planned Parenthood Southeast down here in GA). This is the 501c3. This supports their mission to provide healthcare and education. You can also donate to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, or your local affliate’s version (mine is Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates). This is the 501c4 organization, so it is NOT tax-deductible. This money goes to their political efforts– helping elect their endorse candidates, running their citizen lobbying programs, etc.
    Personally, I donated money to both orgs, they definitely will both be needed in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.

  11. I recommend tossing some money toward your local abortion fund if you have any to spare:

    These organizations are staffed with people with big hearts, and it’s terrible when they have to turn someone away because they don’t have enough money coming in to help everyone in a desperate situation.

  12. My wife and I were talking about this, and how we’ve set up recurring donations but our chosen lines of work (publishing, early childhood education) don’t allow us to support these organizations at the level that we’d like to while still, you know, supporting ourselves.

    What if we all just wrote letters to Warren Buffet? Man has said he wants to give away most of his wealth… what if enough people wrote him to be like, “Hey, how ’bout that ACLU?”

    I mean, this is a zygote of an idea, and maybe silly in the end, but. Who knows, with all the craziness, what crazy ideas might work.

    • WarRen Buffett is already holding down the fort as far as birth control goes. He’s a damn hero. He might be open to other suggestions though.

      • Wow, really? I was unaware of that. I found out recently that George Soros (famous financier, I think?) donated something like 2.5 million to help defeat Arpaio, Arizona’s corrupt and racist sheriff since the 90s. It worked! We have a new sheriff.

    • WarRen Buffett is already holding down the fort for birth control. He’s a damn hero. He might be open to other ideas though! Love that guy.

  13. Thank you for this list, Ali! I just set up recurring donations to four organizations and I’m already feeling a bit better. <3

  14. I really like this idea. I wish that I could throw money at all the organizations listed above, but Planned Parenthood was the first place that ever made me feel like I had sovereignty over my own body, so that’s where I’m going to start.

  15. Don’t forget the Standing Rock Sioux!!! They are under seige more than ever with the pipeline manangers saying they will continue construction in two weeks and they are protecting all our water. They’re also used to the state we now live in so… y’know, solidarity :)

    Ali, please message me. I may have something you find interesting (if you don’t have access to it already :P)

  16. Thank you for this article! It really puts donations in a new light to think of it as a subscription for organizations and services that I want to keep existing, and maybe use in the future.

  17. Also a good idea on an environmental front: try to switch to a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels. Not only is it better for the planet, the interest rates are also a fair bit better

  18. Midwest Access Coalition! They help individuals seeking abortions in states where it’s illegal. They help get them to Chicago, then they house them and help them get to clinics.

    I also want to quote Anne from above, because it can’t be said enough: “Black Lives Matter, BYP100, Standing Rock, the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance, the day laborer/worker center in your city, Familia, SOL/BSEEDZ, Black Alliance for Just Immigration,SONG, organizations on this list:

  19. Thanks, Ali. I just made a donation to Southern Poverty Law Center, in honor of Donald Trump. I hope he enjoys the postcard. Here’s his address, in case anyone else wants to join in:

    721 Fifth Avenue
    NY NY

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