I have a lot of experience with Random Acts, as both a donor and a volunteer. I researched the organization thoroughly before I made my first donation because I was suspicious that it was an actor's vanity project. I was so aggressive with my questions that I was worried that a year later, when I met the Random Acts team, they would hold it against me. Obviously I was satisfied with what I learned. I consider the money I raised and donated to Random Acts money well spent.
I've been a supporter of Random Acts for many years, having both raised money for their projects and promoting them via social media. During their AMOK (Annual Melee of Kindness) I became a hands on volunteer for the first time. I attended an event in Waianae, Hawaii where we painted the interior of a homeless shelter for Vets. We partnered with local groups and the Wounded Warrior Project to accomplish the task. Over 60 people showed up. It was amazing to be able to finally support the org hands on instead of just through promotion or donation. I hope we have more events out here.
I'm also looking forward to their You Are Not Alone project, where they'll be partnering with the IMAlive crisis support network to help those in the middle of a crisis situation. This project, as well as the one I participated in during AMOK, highlight how amazing this org is when it comes to working with established groups. They take groups with knowledge and know how about certain charitable efforts, rally the Random Acts supporters, and make amazing things happen.
Random Acts is an amazing charity that does a variety of good deeds. My favorite recent activity they did was the 12 Acts of Kindness, which helped a new person, family, or group each day during the Christmas season. They bought a laptop for a working mother who was trying to earn a degree to become a teacher. They helped winter proof a feral cat colony with a local animal shelter. They also treated a couple who'd had a rough year filled with medical and financial difficulties to a treat that they found "invigorating and motivating." These are just three of the 12 Random Acts they did in the month of December and I haven't even mentioned all the amazing stuff they did the rest of the year.
Another one of my favorite acts they did last year was supporting The Wolf Conservation Center and providing them with much needed medical equipment.
They help people in need. They help support animal based charities. They spread random acts of kindness big and small all across the globe. It's truly an incredible charity and I'm proud to donate whenever I can.
I had the pleasure of participating once again in the Annual Melee of Kindness on March 5-6, and it was everything I love about Random Acts. Thousands of people across the globe spent their weekend doing small acts of kindness in their local community, with the organization offering suggestions, tips, and support for the months leading up to the event.
Random Acts endeavors to show that charity doesn't have to be stodgy, and kindness isn't something only those with the financial means to spare can spread. In my community we collected coloring books and crayons, easy paper crafts, word searches, and books for the local children's hospital. Friends in our group hand-made small toys for the children, and everyone in my family (even my own young children) wrote get well cards for all of the children. After, we got the wishlist for the local no-kill animal shelters and brought them a cart full of food, toys, treats and cleaning supplies. We dropped a load of donated books off for our local 'Little Free Library,' and we gave a load of donated toys to the battered women and children shelter.
It was a fun weekend, and a productive one: it brought friends together in a way to give back to the community, and brought the online Random Acts supporters together online swapping stories on everyday ways to give back.
Every month Random Acts has a #GetKind focus, encouraging their followers to help out in specific areas of need (this month it's single mothers), encouraging them to find someone in their local community to help, and swap ideas for how to do so.
While I love the larger projects that Random Acts facilitates (the orphanage in Haiti, the high school in Nicaragua, the crisis hotline), I appreciate that more than any other charity I've every supported, they encourage people to get INVOLVED. You know your money is going to a good place with those large scale projects, and small groups of volunteers are part of making each of those happen. Even more than that, though, you know that you can make an impact on a local and personal level, and that Random Acts is there to help you do so.
I believe in charity and fandom: it's a concept that I have supported for years in other fandoms, and have put at the center of every fan group I've ever been involved in. The idea of fans, like the people reviewing on this page, taking something that they love and using it to do real good in the world is something that I wholeheartedly support.
Fandom has a great deal of power, because fans are dedicated, passionate, and involved, and there is so much more that we can do with that passion than just yell at each other on the Internet. There are one-star reviewers on here sneering at Random Acts as if it should be ashamed that it is supported by a fanbase. It's a kind of internalized contempt for fans--a sense of shame at being an active, invested fan voiced by other fans who hold different views on the source material. It's the obsessive, destructive side of fandom: and I think we have had enough of that in the world.
I don't support Random Acts because I'm some "underaged starry-eyed twittering fangirl convinced Misha Collins is a god." I support Random Acts because it encourages fans to get out into the community and give back to it. Even fans that can't contribute monetarily are encouraged to do acts of kindness in fun, engaging ways. Charity doesn't have to just be done just through the pocketbook or in grueling work that feels like penance for not having it as bad as some others.
By taking kindness and making it something fun, Random Acts built a community of its own, people who banded together to do good and have fun in it. I made it a family affair, myself, and brought my children in to run AMOK with me, to do E4K, GISHWHES, RA4M, and other events--and I also encouraged them to find ways to give back even without an event, and even if they were unrecognized for the act.
As someone who HAS also donated monetarily, though, I have to say that the attacks on here are unfounded as well. The financial reporting period for Random Acts is December. It stands to reason that you won't see their financial statements updated on their website until after that. And yet, when fans "concerned" about Random Acts requested the financials prior, they were given them. They continued "concern trolling" (that is, trying to cast aspersions by "raising the question" loudly and repeatedly regardless of the veracity of their concerns/complaints) on Twitter, and Random Acts reached out on Twitter asking if there was any additional information they could provide.
If the argument is that what you wanted wasn't on the website when you wanted it, Random Acts went above and beyond in making sure that was no more than a mild inconvenience. Meanwhile, all of their other records were available on charity sites, like this, and on their website.
They go on to sneer at individual projects, demanding explanations for them. When they receive the updates from fans linking them, and when the charity updates to give it all in one place, they sneer at the fact that RA compiled the information and restated: as if in providing answers directly, it's somehow proving that Random Acts was doing something shady prior.
They attack the individual appearance of Random Acts staff members and volunteers. They attack the character of the fans supporting it, and they post over and over again, weekly, the same baseless attacks. Attacks that, if you follow them back, originated on the Twitters of people who genuinely hate Misha Collins, and on the "Anti-Misha" and "Destiew" tags on Tumblr.
I can provide evidence for that, as well.
But I'm fairly certain you don't care about evidence, by now.
I have participated in events out in by and raised money for Random Acts a number of times. I was at a low point awhile back and found a sort of outlet through this organization. It's a wonderful feeling to help spread kindness. I've watched as RA has spread their goals globally. They do everything from small kindness prompts to month long charitable inspirations to building schools for couniries who lack the ability. I am equally touched by each act because their volunteers take these things to heart. Their mission is invaluable. I am awaiting the Crisis Line and have already thrown my hat in the ring to volunteer because the community they are spotlighting is in need. And to have something like this by the people, for the people is an incredible thing. I am and will continue to raise funds for this organization as well as shake as many hands as I can along the way. They deserve not only my money, but my time, and loyalty not because of their affect on my personally, but because of how strongly I agree with their cause. Kindness is not just an action, it is a way of life.
I see Random Acts as a very trustworthy organization and I am very satisfied with their projects. Not only do they use the money for concrete, hands-on projects, like the orphanage in Haiti and the highschool in Nicaragua, they also host worldwide events to spread kindness everywhere. Random Acts is extremely skilled at highlighting special days, and their monthly themes serve to direct focus to specific groups of society e.g. single mothers, people with mental illnesses etc.
I have both donated money directly to the organization, but also indirectly via partners (YANA, Gishwhes etc). Despite being a member of several charities, none of them are as transparent and all-inclusive as Random Acts is.
The next time I have a little room in my budget, I know where my money is heading.
I think Random Acts has a lot going for them with how they encourage kindness, etc. But I wouldn't seek them out if you need help. Here's my experience:
A volunteer found out I was going through a very hard time and she referred me to the RA Director. The Director reached out to me and I told her my situation. She asked what I wanted. I really didn't know. I just knew I needed support and that I did feel very alone. (it's too personal to share publicly) To make a long story short, I told her more of what was going on and let her decide what could be done to help. She never contacted me again. I was so upset.
I do believe this helpline they are starting up could be great for Random Acts, if the volunteers and the Director take on the training, this way they can use what they learn for clients. They do a lot of great things - donating to other charities, encouraging kindness acts towards others even with their contests with GISHWHES. But currently I believe they lack when someone goes to them in need for help. I hope that changes and that if someone in a similar situation to mine reaches out to them, they are better equipped to handle it.
I would gladly have reviewed this wonderful charity of my own volition (I've been a longtime supporter and donor) , but I feel the need to first respond to "Writer" who posted on January 10th. I was at the RA 5 Year Anniversary celebration at NJ Con and I know the woman (not girl) who threw her bra onstage. She's 24, which is by no means a "young teenage girl" as you libelously said and it was meant as a joke. Anyone with a sense of humor and without a clear bias against Misha can see that.
As for the picture on twitter, it was an advertisement that West saw and had a genuinely honest question about - I'm thankful Misha chooses to share such funny moments with his fans, because all children ask the darnedest things. There was no "situation" to handle and my children have said and done far worse. They're children.
Both Misha and Random Acts do so much good for others - they are truly wonderful, caring people who practice what they preach. I am so humbled by what they've accomplished in the past five years, and I hope to get involved with the next Nicaragua trip. Misha cares so deeply for those less fortunate and he encourages others to get involved and help spread the message of kindness and caring. And if he does it with humor? More power to him - it makes him more relatable and is completely harmless. Misha Collins is definitely a man of integrity and his nonprofit reflects that beautifully - now please, truly, stop slandering a man and a charity who have done nothing to deserve the few negative (and most likely from the same source) reviews on here. Go out and do good.
This charity is about Random Acts of Kindness.
Started by a man who has been raised poor and at times homeless himself, he has been touched/helped in various ways by people who have shown both large and small acts of charity.
Are they focused on one large goal? No.
Do they help as many as some of the larger celebrity charities? No.
What they DO is reach out in small ways to help those who are in need.
They have worked on a couple of large projects, such as building a Children's Center in Jacmel, Haiti as well as helping build a Free High School in San Juan del Sur.
Most activities center around helping children and families in small ways, such as purchasing beds, collecting donations for local shelters, etc.
Other events this charity promotes include AMOK, which is an annual day to focus on being kind to others.
Also, Endure4Kindness, which is a fundraising endurance event.
So, while their gestures aren't as "grand" as others, they focus on showing people it doesn't take much to be kind to others, and that is it possible to take over the world, one random act of kindness at a time.
Random Acts is a wonderful charity and has done many wonderful things. I am honored to donate to it every month. Couldn't think of a better place to send my money :)
Review from Guidestar
I'm at a loss to understand the (few) low reviews; I've had experience as a donor and a volunteer, and they've always been positive. I'm especially drawn by the philosophy that small acts of kindness and generosity can make all the difference in people's lives. I'm impressed that so much of RA's money goes to these acts; they have a very high percentage rating. It's beyond amazing that a relatively small charity has been able to complete the beautiful facility in Haiti. I have no doubt that the work in Nicaragua will be just as successful. I would not hesitate to recommend Random Acts to anyone.
I prefer small charities with as few paid positions as possible, and those that spend nearly all their donations on their actual work. When I researched Random Acts a few years ago that's exactly what they found. Being 'small' doesn't mean they aren't capable of large projects: the Jacmel Children's Center in Haiti was built and is operating now with ongoing support and funding from RA. (Yes, it's operating, contrary to reports posted here. It's not empty; I'm not sure where that info came from, but there are reports from the staff and the woman who runs the place.) RA also funds small local projects: food and sundries for homeless folks, bikes for kids, books for schools, donations of food and cash to food banks, the list goes on. The organization is also very transparent, despite claims here to the contrary. All you have to do is examine the documents to see where the money's going.
I like donating to and supporting smaller organizations that are more focused on directly serving those in need, locally and in the larger community. I'm very satisfied with RA's work, and will continue to support them and encourage others to do so.
The true meaning that lies behind charity in itself, is random acts of kindness. This charity is amazing and it's amazing to see what this charity has accomplished all over the world. This is my favorite charity for so many reasons!
I'm so happy to find a place where I can leave a good review for the only nonprofit that I've ever felt actually valued me as a person, not just as a monetary donation or volunteer of time. I especially like that Random Acts is not beholden to just one type of act, or one particular cause. While that can get confusing when explaining to someone what Random Acts is or what it does, it keeps the door wide open for collaborations with other organizations--something Random Acts does frequently. The staff I've had the pleasure of communicating with has all been very helpful and kind (as one would expect!), and dedicated to growing this organization to expand its reach. Whether sending money to build schools in Nicaragua or receiving money to help promote a cause in your own backyard, you would do well to consider Random Acts when looking for a nonprofit to support.
Review from Guidestar
KarynW: Please do let us all know exactly what charities do provide itemized spending lists for all their outgoings? Please also enlighten us on how you know what funds were raised by RA in 2014 when it has not yet posted its 990 or an Annual Report for that year (both are pending). Please also check the RA website (http://www.randomacts.org/about/reports/), where you will find 990s and Annual Reports for every years since RA was set up.
"realize most of these reviews are superfans of the celebrity face of the charity"
Also realize that most of the negative reviews here are from one single person with a grudge against the celebrity face of the charity who is angry that she didn't receive the personal attention she felt she deserved from senpai for volunteering with Random Acts. RA is aware of who she is.
This charity raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2014. How did they spend it? They refuse to answer. They purchased pizza for non-needy people at a convention and they bought somebody bunk beds for kids. Other than that what have they done? They HELPED build an orphanage in Haiti in 2012. What have they done since? What happened to the money they raised in 2013 and 2014? They refuse to provide an itemized spending report. Beware before donating and realize most of these reviews are super fans of the celebrity face of the charity.
Through the help of some friends of mine, I was able to receive a grant from Random Acts to purchase a new bunk bed for my sisters. I'm pretty much the sole provider for my household, so I'm taking care of my mom and three siblings. The beds they did have were old, and the mattresses sagging, so much so that my 11 year old sister's back started to hurt. Those got thrown out, and they instead started sleeping on our couches. Money being as tight as it is meant that I couldn't get them new beds.
The idea came up from some friends of mine to submit a proposal to have RA fund the purchase of a new bed. It was less than two weeks before I heard back (in the affirmative), the money came through shortly after that, and as of today (7/29), a brand new bunk bed with two brand new mattresses is newly assembled in their bedroom.
I can't express how much this means to me. The sisters have been bouncing around the house all day, even helping assemble the bed (and you need to understand how averse these kids are to even the simplest of chores!). I was so impressed with the speed that RA worked, and now don't have to worry about them not having a decent place to sleep when school starts.
Random Acts does a lot of good for a lot of people. They just recently helped a friend of mine obtain funds that they used to help others. Wonderful charity.
It is known in the Supernatural fandom that a former employee of Random Acts left the organization, in part because she she feels she didn't receive the praise she deserved especially from Misha Collins. She is extremely bitter about it and refuses to let it go. Her posts here are simply out of a desire to keep nursing her grudge against Misha Collins.
I have no doubts Random Acts had some struggles especially when it was first starting out. Such things are hardly an uncommon occurrence especially young non-profit organizations. But this former employee who keeps bashing RA hasn't been involved with them for some time and has no special knowledge about how well they are currently doing. From what I can tell, the current employees are very hardworking and competent, and I've been impressed with RA's latest projects and results.
Recently, a friend of mind has been struggling to provide for her younger siblings was able to receive a much needed gift from Random Acts. The application for this donation went without a hitch, and I'm pleased to continue my modest monthly donation of $15 a month to them. I hope people reading these reviews are able to see through the ones that are clearly come from someone with a biased personal grudge and are not a true reflection of the organization's ability to help others.
I can't people are still trying to purposefully drag down the reputation of this charity because of a personal dislike of the founder.
Random Acts is an organization that helps fund people in need. Their contributions are usually small, bu they do great things such as help fund building a children's center in Haiti, and a school in Nicaragua.
Other endeavors include food and supply drives for shelters and food banks.
Random acts encourages people to go out and perform random acts of kindness and charity without even using their resources. That does not sound like a money-hungry organization to me.
This review is twofold - both as a volunteer of the organization myself and as a rebuttal of "SamtheMan017" review which could not be more transparent or more wrong.
The aim of Random Acts is simple, touching, and wonderful. I've never worked with a charity before who so genuinely cares for both their supporters and the people they in turn support. It's a wonderful group of people founded on a belief that random acts of kindness can change the world. They are a transparent, well-respected organization and you are welcome to look at their financial information on the website - it's an easy process, if you're concerned by that sort of thing. I've been both a volunteer and a donor now for two years and I truly wish I would have stumbled upon this brilliant organization sooner. The volunteers are kind and the founder is a wonderful person.
That said, it's truly a shame that some choose to malign a great group rather than going out and doing good for the world. I can almost guarantee that the one-star reviews on here are from a group of people who do NOT do any work with or for the charity, but simply have an unreasonable bias (even vendetta) against the founder for unsubstantiated reasons. No organization is perfect, but Random Acts is a great group. Truly.
Now, SamtheMan017.. as for a few things that I felt compelled to answer from your review (and I use that term loosely)
1. "why was i being coerced to give Mr. Collins more money that conceivably goes right into his pocket?" - You really weren't. Coersion would be a strong word under any circumstance, but use that word in relation to a fun event that gives back to a charity is NOT coersion. I really don't think you grasp what entails a non-profit organization, but the charity is in good standing, up-to-date on tax information, and the money goes directly into charitable projects. Mr. Collins makes no profit from the organization, as you can clearly see if you would take the time to review their paperwork. It's quite simple and making claims like this without cause or proof is extremely uncalled for.
2. "and also there is some questionable content both in the hunt and in the marketing scheme leading up to it that makes it unsuitable for younger fans in particular" - Incorrect. For one, there is no marketing scheme - unless you consider all marketing for charity events to be a scheme, I suppose. And as a multi-year participant in the scavenger hunt, there is nothing unsuitable for anyone of any age. There just isn't, and if you think anything of the challenges are objectionable, I honestly don't know what to say to you.
3. "pimping Mr. Collins profitable ventures" - Repeat after me: non-profit. NON. PROFIT. Marketing and advertising is part of the game. It's all above-board. It is not easy to get non-profit status, and it is regulated. So please, kindly stop slandering this wonderful organization.
Last week I saw a member of a group that I belong to post that she was a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington. She mentioned that she couldn't afford to set up her room which was a Title One school. I had been wanting to do a Random Act partnered with Random Acts and this seemed perfect. I got the teacher's wish list info, worked up a budget (originally I had budgeted $250 which I thought was the limit but they let me know I could request up to $500). I submitted the budget which was approved and within a few days the funds were transferred to my Paypal account. Two days later she had most of the books and supplies she needed which she otherwise woukd have had to pay for on her own. This was a great experence that I will gladly do again. They were great to work with, the communication was clear and prompt, all in all an awesome experience.
Perhaps the previous reviewer should, instead of reviewing personalities and tossing out backhanded compliments consider working with Random Acts to help make the world a better place but then her heart might grow three sizes at least and she could amend her review based on experience and not on junior high snakiness.
I would highly recommend Random Acts and encourage everyone into doing an ROAK funded by them. The entire experience was awesome.
I encountered several employees of Random Acts at San Diego Comic Con recently and spent a few minutes chatting with someone from their Marketing team. I left that conversation with a bad taste in my mouth. She spent the bulk of the time talking about her personal knowledge of/relationship with Mr. Collins and the rest encouraging me to join a scavenger hunt (requiring a registration fee). When I asked about how Random Acts was involved in the scavenger hunt, her answers were vague and poorly formed, reverting to "it's so much fun! You'll love it! please join!"
I was very much put off by her hard sale tactics. For one thing, I'm still not clear WHY a charitable organization --that I have given hundreds of dollars to over the years--wants me to join another company's paid adventure scheme? I grasped that RA might receive a donation at the end of the hunt, but other than that...why was I being coerced to give Mr. Collins money that conceivably goes right into his pocket? I like the man, but I have always been more interested in the altruistic nature of his personality and not in the crazy/strange things he chooses to do. There's a market for that I'm sure, but again...why is his charity pushing it so hard?
Given the unseemly nature of that encounter with the marketing person, I have done a little research since I got home and found a few items about the scavenger hunt (GISHWHES) in such poor taste that I am compelled to downgrade my previous assessment and support of Random Acts. I won't go into details here, because this is about RA, not GISHWHES, but there is some questionable content both in the hunt and in the marketing scheme leading up to it, that makes it unsuitable for younger fans in particular.
In conclusion, if Random Acts is choosing to spend their allotted time at a convention of the magnitude and reach of SDCC essentially "pimping" Mr. Collins profitable ventures, then I can no longer in good conscience support this charity. I miss the old days when there were half a dozen staff members at RA and meaningful encounters each and every time. The spirit of the organization fled at some point, and there is less good will and kindness being spread and much much more hyperactive, fannish BS.
Review from Guidestar