Seeking the Truth About Ryan Allis and The Humanity Campaign


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Initial post: Feb 5, 2008 1:51:10 PM PST
In promoting this book, Allis has made the claim that he has a non-profit called the Humanity Campaign, and that it is working to reduce poverty and hunger.

He further claims that he will donate all funds from the sale of his new book to the non-profit. I cannot find evidence that the non-profit actually exists. I'm blowing the whistle until this claim can be substantiated. TO BE CLEAR: If Humanity Campaign is proven to exist and to be doing good work, I will gladly remove my inquiry.

http://truth-about-allis-humanity-campaign.blogspot.com/

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 2:32:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2008 2:36:29 PM PST
Jacob Bohall says:
http://www.newsobserver.com/business/story/900111.html (The 2nd page, 5th or 6th paragraph gives a direct reference..)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 3:39:55 PM PST
I think everyone needs to read Matt's bio. Matt owns the firm that competes with Allis' firm.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 4:59:02 PM PST
This article is important to read closely. I read it too. Here's the text of that paragraph:

"Outside of work, Allis runs a nonprofit group called Humanity Campaign, whose mission is to increase access to health care, technology and education in Africa. He also sits on the board of Nourish International and contributes regularly to 15 nonprofit groups including Global Giving, Advocates for Grassroots Development in Uganda and Orange County Foster Care."

It makes 3 claims:
1) Allis runs a non-profit called Humanity Campaign. I can't find substantial evidence of this. It's a single web page. It is the reason I initially spoke up.
2) Nourish International is a legitimate, but separate, non-profit. Allis is on the board, with a number of other volunteers. It is not clear how active or inactive he is, but its not the same as The Humanity Campaign.
3) Allis contributes regularly to 15 non-profits groups. Giving $1 a year to 15 meets this qualification. So does giving everything you own, split among the 15 causes. I don't know which is which, and I've not called that into question. But, given the lack of clarity around claim 1, I think it also merits more clarification.

Thank you for the post.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 5:04:17 PM PST
Nathaniel -

Thank you for your reply. Two thoughts:
1) I am only the director of sales. I don't own any equity, and while I've helped our firm grow, I didn't have any hand in founding it.
2) There is indeed a very direct potential for conflict of interest. You have to weigh that into your perceptions of the issues at hand. I publicly state it at the blog (see the about me section at http://truth-about-allis-humanity-campaign.blogspot.com/). It was the very first thing I did, before posting anything else, so that everyone reading it would know about my role. For those reading it here, here's the text of that section:
---

About Me

Matt Williamson
By way of full disclosure, I need to publicly state that I am the Director of Sales at Bronto Software, an infrequent competitor of Allis' company iContact. Both companies provide email marketing, but we target different markets, so we don't compete head to head frequently. We are listed on his company's website as a competitor, but our product is 200-300% more expensive. Neither here nor there... just an observation that we fulfill different needs in the marketplace, and really don't compete head to head very often. I am writing this blog specifically because of my concern about the potentially fraudulent claims that Allis is making about the Humanity Campaign, a non-profit that he claims he has started. As of 2/5/08, I cannot find any evidence that this is the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 6:05:57 PM PST
It always disgusts me to see this kind of blatant "sabotage". What reason, other than the fact that he is a competitor of yours, would you have to try to push something like this? You should probably buy the book, and focus on building your business, instead of trying to bring others down with your negativity. Life is about creating, not destroying.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 6:29:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2008 6:31:51 PM PST
HumanityCampaign.org is only a month old, so most would naturally assume that the nonprofit is just getting off the ground. Afterall, Ryan IS known for his start-up mentality. As this is probably the case, documentation has probably not been updated in the sites such as guidestar, networkforgood, etc...

In reading Ryan's previous book, and having just purchased this one, I would feel very confident in saying that I highly doubt he is trying to dupe anyone, and your pithy points and character attacks reek of jealousy and bitterness. This is most likely the result of a bruised ego because his (company) is much larger than yours.

If you truly feel someone with his success would make up a non-profit for the sake of selling books, you should probably leave the business of email marketing and get a job with crooksandliars.com or Fox News.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 7:27:19 PM PST
Gary Harmon says:
Your sycophantic ramblings aside, of course people would make up non-profit entities to sell books as well as other things. It's been done.
By the way, you couldn't get a job at Fox News, your non-objectivity would preclude you.
Go buy some carbon credits and save the planet, or the whales, or Britney Spears or something.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 7:28:38 PM PST
Matt,

I think you should be focusing your time elsewhere. I don't think you have a case, but even if you do, no one is going to jump out and say what a great guy you are for saving us from the evil Allis empire. Honestly dude, we're just buying a book. If Ryan changes his mind and decides to keep all the money, then he deserves it for writing a book. How many people can say they've done that?

So, do us all a favor and find another cause. You've got better things to do with your time I'm sure.

P.S. I used to be a fan of Bronto because it was ColdFusion based. We not integrate with iContact because they have an open API and are very good about giving trial access. Also, the price. Just in case you wanted to know.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 7:29:16 PM PST
Freddy -

Thanks for your post. I think you've hit on the crux of the issue. I am concerned that people are interpreting the promotion of this supposed non-profit as an organization that actually exists and that has actually done work on behalf of those in need.

I am concerned that the promotional emails that I received from him specifically say "buy my book" but then launch into several paragraphs of discussion about humanitarian causes. Read the text for yourself at:

http://truth-about-allis-humanity-campaign.blogspot.com/2008/02/im-posting-text-of-allis-email-here-for.html

Specifically, his emails say "all the proceeds from the book are being donated to my non-profit organization, The Humanity Campaign, which works to reduce poverty and hunger by increasing access to education, healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurial opportunity."

To your point, if the non-profit, assuming it exists, has only been around for a month (by your estimation) or three days (by the date listed on humanitycampaign.org), how can it have actually done work to reduce poverty and hunger? Allis isn't claiming that his non-profit will do this things in the future. It states that his non-profit is doing it. And people are accepting it without question.

All I am seeking to do is shed light on the topic. If it can be proven otherwise, I will gladly retract my inquiries.

BTW, I appreciate your feelings of indignation at my post. I wrestled with whether or not to raise the issue because I knew it would agitate people. At the end of the day, if it is a ploy to sell books, then it needs to be exposed as such. If it's not, then I will publicly retract my inquiry.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 7:40:58 PM PST
Igor -

Thanks for the post. I respect your opinion, but disagree with it. I do not feel it is ok to make broad statements about helping humanity but to not follow through on it. It takes a lot of personal sacrifice to make a meaningful impact in others' lives, and if it is being bandied about lightly (especially if its to drive profits) then it makes a mockery of those who are expending effort on behalf of others.

I claim no moral authority here. I just think that the market and the media should be aware of the situation and that we should all engage in healthy debate about the facts.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 7:56:34 PM PST
Freddy -

Thank you for your post. Your disgust is noted. I feel disgust as well, which is why I spoke up and risked the obvious emotion that you and others are directing toward me.

To answer your question, the reason I bring this up is because if the claims are false, then they should be exposed as such. It is not intended as sabotage. It is intended as inquiry. When someone makes a claim (such as running a non-profit which reduces poverty and hunger), it should be backed with fact. Not speculation. Not intention. With fact. I cannot find those facts. I am asking for evidence, and no one is providing it. I am openly and clearly posting my research so that anyone that wants to retrace my steps, can.

My role as a competitor should be (and has been) clearly documented in my inquiries. I am not obscuring that in any way. That said, I am writing this out of personal concern, not on behalf of the company that I work for.

Life is indeed about creating, and I would pose the question (again), what exactly has the Humanity Campaign created besides a single web page? If it really is creating true, uplifting results for people in need, then I will retract my inquiry. Just show me where to find that.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2008 10:15:05 PM PST
Wow Matt 6 out of 12 posts in a little over six hours. Maybe your are experiencing a slow day (at work).

In any event, I HAVE PURCHASED THE BOOK to support what I perceived to be a very worthy cause. If the money is not spent as intended, I still end up with what I believe to be a very good book.

Either way, there is no downside.

Wayne

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2008 5:35:18 AM PST
I felt uncomfortable after reading Ryan's email regarding the book:

"I am working to reach a lifetime goal and get the book to #1 on Amazon that day. I need to ask for your help on a personal level. The bottom line is that I'd like for you to email your friends and contacts on Tuesday and ask them to buy a copy of the book.
But first, let me share the real reason I am doing this... "

He goes on to say:
"It's not to make money--all the proceeds from the book are being donated to my non-profit organization, The Humanity Campaign, which works to reduce poverty and hunger by increasing access to education, healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurial opportunity."

What made me feel uncomfortable is this inquiry seemed to have two motivations. He wanted me to buy his book for personal reasons but then he claims that the proceeds will go to his non-profit that has a single blogger page. Even if he does have a newly formed non-profit his email suggesting that I buy the book to help him reach number 1 on Amazon but it's a good idea because I'm helping humanity did not sit well with me. It seems what he is doing is using all the PR and viral marketing to promote himself. He doesn't care about the proceeds of a book that sells for $11.53 on Amazon, he cares about the exposure he is getting as a result. If his true intention was to advance the Humanity Campaign he would also have led his email with the cause not the goal of being #1 on Amazon. I've received promotional emails from Ryan in the past and this is the first time I've heard of his Humanity Campaign and the fact that he his distressed by the state our world is in today.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm the CEO of a company has nothing to do with Ryan's I just got the email and felt uncomfortable because his tactics.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2008 1:42:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 6, 2008 1:42:47 PM PST
Well I read the book. Part of what he talks about in it are how important it is to set up big time goals you plan to achieve. He uses examples of some of his goals. With this book he is addressing two of his lifetime goals, one is to work to eliminate hunger and poverty and another is to write a best seller. I don't think that he is just trying to promote himself. While you might not agree with the tactics he is implying to reach number 1 there is nothing at all that is unethical about it. I can assure you that if you have ever spoken to him you can really see the fire burning in his heart to help everyone that is less fortunate than himself. I can assure you that he is going to donate the books proceeds, much like he donates his current income.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2008 8:41:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2008 11:38:55 AM PST
Hey guys--This is the author Ryan Allis. Matt raised some good questions in his post on Tuesday that I am happy to answer here. I've chatted with Matt yesterday and today to share this information with him and will be meeting with him here in Durham in the next couple days to see if there's a way we can actually work together on The Humanity Campaign.

I did not do a great job of sharing on the web site the efforts we have funded so far, but we are much more than a blog! The Humanity Campaign has been around since October 2005 (known prior to December 2007 as the Anti-Poverty Campaign). We've funded work in Guatemala, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, and Honduras so far.

Here is additional specific information on what we've been doing and what we're up to going forward that I've also posted to our web site at http://www.humanitycampaign.org. Thank you all very much for your support--and feel free to contact me directly at ryan[at]icontact.com if you'd like any additional information on what we're up to or how you can get involved!

"The Humanity Campaign (THC) was founded in October 2005 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by Ryan P. Allis. Originally known as the Anti-Poverty Campaign, the organization's name was changed in December 2007 due to the inspiration of Mother Theresa who was never anti-anything and instead always pro-something. She never once would attend an anti-war rally, but attended many peace rallies.

THC has supported projects in Guatemala, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, and Honduras to date. The organization has provided financial support to Nourish International, Advocates for Grassroots Development in Uganda, Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc., Duke Engineers Without Borders, and the Millennium Village Project to date.

We've provided funding for interactive English-language courses for school children in Concepción, Honduras, supported the efforts of Jeffrey Sachs in Sauri, Kenya, funded the creation of a video documentary of a Nourish International trip to Najaf, Guatemala, supported AGRADU in providing anti-retroviral medication in Mukono, Uganda, and supported engineers at Duke University working on the creation of a peanut shelling and corn kernel removing appropriate technology device for use in Malawi.

The Humanity Campaign is truly just beginning and is a multi-decade commitment. We are not yet a tax-deductible organization. We hope to achieve 501(c)3 designation later in 2008.

The mission of The Humanity Campaign is to reduce poverty and hunger in North Carolina, the United States, and in developing countries by increasing access to education, healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurial opportunity."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2008 6:45:35 AM PST
I think there's a much more disturbing scandal here to be honest. You just have to dig a little deeper in Ryan's last email:

"The organization has provided financial support to Nourish International, Advocates for Grassroots Development in Uganda, Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc., Duke Engineers Without Borders, and the Millennium Village Project to date."

Meanwhile, I know for a fact that Ryan went to UNC.

Ryan - a Tar Heel giving support to Dookies? Say it ain't so!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2008 12:05:09 PM PST
Love it Erik :-). I now have to support both Duke and UNC since I work in Durham. But not when they play each other!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2008 7:47:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 9, 2008 7:47:45 AM PST
Ryan and I are indeed trying to get together to discuss this, although we are not trying to find a way to work together on HC, nor have we actually chatted... we've had numerous exchanges via voicemail and email.

I made the commitment to him that I would not make additional posts until we have and I will honor that commitment.

For those of you who have taken the time to contact me and express your similar concerns about this issue, thank you for sharing them with me. I will be updating this post and the blog as the facts come to light.

For those of you who have expressed indignation towards me for raising the issue or for those who are making light of the situation, I respect your right to do so.

http://truth-about-allis-humanity-campaign.blogspot.com/

Thanks, Matt

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2008 10:07:06 AM PDT
Since the initiation of the blog at http://truth-about-allis-humanity-campaign.blogspot.com/, Allis has officially incorporated The Humanity Campaign as an official NC non-profit.

I applaud this move as it will bring both public and legal accountability to the claims made about THC, its aspirations, and its actual accomplishments.

I made a commitment to post outcomes as things transpired, so I'm doing so here, as well as at the blog post.

I suspect that this will be the last of the posting, but I made a commitment to Allis to finalize if he could provide more facts and so I am keeping that commitment.

Again, my thanks to all of you who expressed similar concerns, and to those who disagreed with me as well. That is what public discourse is about.
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Initial post:  Feb 5, 2008
Latest post:  Mar 25, 2008

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Zero to One Million: How I Built A Company to $1 Million in Sales . . . and How You Can, Too
Zero to One Million: How I Built A Company to $1 Million in Sales . . . and How You Can, Too by Ryan P. M. Allis (Paperback - January 18, 2008)
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