Tornado diary: Raising money


It’s a noble effort by Rep. Keith Ellison to try to get people to contribute to the American Red Cross and help the rescue and recovery effort in north Minneapolis. It might not be a bad idea to disconnect the effort from the political fundraising, though.

Ellison’s tornado recovery Web page featured a large “contribute” button. People who aren’t paying close attention, might be tempted to click it, fill out the form, throw in the credit card number, and move on. If you do that, however, you’ve just made a contribution to the Keith Ellison campaign.

The Web site uses a content management system that makes every page’s navigation the same (just as MPR does). The system doesn’t know the confusion the navigation can cause.

Ellison “tweeted” the address of his page in urging people to donate. He should’ve just sent people directly to the American Red Cross page, which you can find here.

In a news release a few minutes ago, the city of Minneapolis urged people to donate money, not goods.

The Minneapolis Foundation has established the Minnesota Helps – North Minneapolis Recovery Fund to assist with both short-term and long-term housing and recovery-related needs on the North Side. To make a donation by credit card, visit or send checks for the recovery effort to The Minneapolis Foundation, 80 S. 8th St., Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN, 55402

The city says it’s not safe enough for volunteers to enter the area, even though a few local organizations have already formed a volunteer effort to help out.

Update 3:56 p.m. Rep. Ellison’s office calls to say they’ve removed the “contribute” button to avoid any confusion.


  • Jim Shapiro

    Dear Bob – Does Ellison have a history of this type of behavior? If so, he should be recalled.

    If not, he should be given the benefit of the doubt that the highly misleading positioning of the button was unintentional deception, and he should make a public apology.

  • Ed Murphy

    “The Web site uses a content management system that makes every page’s navigation the same” , Really???

    Thats a pretty weak excuse, hard for anyone with with even basic web design skills to buy that.

  • Bob Collins

    Really? Why? I have more than “basic” web design skills and I buy it. Content creators don’t think about the nav embedded in the CMS when they push out content. And it often takes another eye to “see” the entire page b/c content creators are so used to viewing a page they don’t even pay attention to the nav, let alone how it relates to the content they just pushed out.

  • Jon

    I’m with you, Bob. Having worked with websites that rely on a standard template, I think this would be a pretty easy mistake to make.