In an era of catchy signs and hashtag activism, it can be difficult to feel like you’re affecting real change. Independent designer and programmer Nathan Pryor has come up with a solution to that very dilemma: the ACLU dash button.
“There’s a power in being able to respond immediately instead of having to wait, then get busy and forget to do it later,” Pryor told Inverse.
It’s basically a retooled version of Amazon.com’s dash button, a physical device that lets customers quickly order a resupply of various products with the literal push of a button. Pryor got his hands on an IoT button — a customizable version of the dash button that doesn’t come preprogrammed — and modified it for a unique function.
Pryor explained the reasoning behind the gadget in a Medium post:
It was my friend Katherine who made the comment “I wish there was an ACLU Dash button I could push to donate anytime I read about the latest offense from Trump.” Her language was sliiiiightly more colorful than that, but it got me thinking: Why reserve that instant gratification for physical goods? Why not push a button and do some real good?
What emerged, complete with the relevant logo design, was the ACLU dash button. With each push, it sends a $5 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the primary organizations mounting legal challenges against the Trump administration’s agenda.
Pryor’s dash button works by running a script that automatically fills out the ACLU donations page with his information. When it’s triggered, the script loads up the donation page, fills the fields with important information such as his name, address, and credit card info, and then submits it. If it’s successful, it’ll send him a text to notify him. Now, instead of a clever tweet, Pryor can send money and resources that will make a tangible difference in resisting Trump’s policies.
The designer’s creation makes financially backing the organization incredibly easy. Though he does admit that some careful budgeting is required. Pryor says, “Is THIS what I’m going to push the button for today? Should I wait? It might get worse later!”
And he’s not alone in his inclination to help the ACLU. On the weekend Trump unveiled his Muslim ban, the ACLU had a record donation weekend, raking in $24 million — that’s more than five times what they usually receive in an entire year.
Pryor never anticipated such a wide reception for his dash button, but he says he’s gotten feedback on social media from people who tell him they’ve been inspired to go make their own.
For those who are interested, Pryor made available the code he used to program his dash button, but he warns that he makes no claims regarding its security and suitability for every user and situation.