How to get connected — and save the world

Get connected with Boingo

I want to give you an annual Boingo account right now. It’s the latest premium giveaway in our fall fundraiser. Because everyone needs to get connected, that’s why. I’m offering these highly useful accounts to random new supporters this week. Here’s how to get yours.

I also want to tell you why supporting this nonprofit consumer advocacy organization is so important.

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The watchdogs aren’t just sleeping — here’s what’s happened to them

You know what we’re up against, don’t you? A government that goes easy on corporate wrongdoers, according to a recent investigation. The numbers are shocking. They include a 62 percent drop in penalties imposed and illicit profits ordered returned by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a 72 percent decline in corporate penalties from the Justice Department’s criminal prosecutions.

The watchdogs aren’t just sleeping. They have been put to sleep.

I believe we deserve the protection of regulators. But I’ve never put all of my faith in the government. When the watchdogs are euthanized, you only have one place to turn: organizations like this, which can use the power of the crowd, and the influence of journalism, to push corporate wrongdoers into doing the right thing.

I wish it were not necessary, but it has come to this.

How often can I say “now more than ever”?

You’ve heard me say “now more than ever” so often, would you mind if I said it again?

Now more than ever, I need your help.

We haven’t reached that $10,000 mark yet, and we’re almost four weeks into our fall fundraiser.

But we have a problem. Every penny of the $7,820 raised so far is spoken for. Just today, we received one $25 donation (thank you, Annie Valades); and at the same time, a $400 bill from our developer. That’s four hours of work, including removing our social sharing icon plugin and replacing it with something that doesn’t slow down the site.

I personally paid for the redesign this summer because the nonprofit didn’t have any money in the bank.

My friends, this is serious.

While individual underwriters remain the number-one donor to this nonprofit organization, we are also trying to find grant money. But you can’t just call the Gates Foundation and ask for $500,000. You need grant writers who can help you create a professional proposal. Those fundraisers are in high demand. We don’t have the money to pay for one, so we’re stuck.

At the same time, we’ve had a measurable effect on the consumer landscape. In October, we had 739 new cases — up 5 percent from last month and up an astonishing 71 percent from a year ago. Page views were up 24 percent from a year ago, to 825,236. Another bright spot: new users. They jumped 41 percent to 296,086. These are all high-water marks for your favorite consumer advocacy organization.

Now more than ever, we need your help. There, I said it again.

Here’s how to get involved now.

Get connected now

I don’t have enough Boingo accounts to give every new underwriter an annual account, but our friends at Boingo have been very generous this year. If you sign up now as an underwriter, you stand an excellent chance of getting one of these useful accounts.

With more than 1 million public Wifi hotspots, Boingo really keeps you connected around the world. I really like Boingo because it uses a technology called Passpoint to streamline your Wi-Fi connection experience. No more looking for a network and connecting with an app or entering your username and password on a login screen. Just walk over to the hotspot and bam! — you’re online.

When I say “get connected” I also mean it in another way. Being a supporter means you become part of our community, which includes our active and very polite blog commenters, our help forums, and, if you’re really into consumer advocacy, you can join my group of dedicated volunteers.

Come on, it’ll be fun.