It’s all but impossible to watch TV, read a paper, or interact on social media without being bombarded with endless, depressing news these days. So here’s an easy hack that might make you feel better about how 2017 is going by making it easy to donate to the ACLU using an Amazon Dash button.
Typically used to order household staples like detergent, garbage bags, or macaroni and cheese at the push of a button (which is kind of depressing in and of itself), Amazon also created a hackable version of its Dash buttons last year. And it was that Amazon Web Services IoT button—with a custom label attached—that programmer Nathan Pryor used to make it incredibly easy to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has its work cut out for it as of late.
Unable to find a programming interface that could be used to automate sending donations to the ACLU, Pryor wrote a custom script, powered by Amazon’s servers, that automatically filled out the donation page with his name, address, and credit card info.
To ensure his bank account wasn’t accidentally drained were there a problem with his coding or the Dash button, Pryor had each $5 donation deducted from a pre-paid debit card. But once everything was working with the button, giving the ACLU a helping hand every time another terrible tweet appeared on his Twitter timeline became as easy as restocking his pantry.
If you want to build your own ACLU donation Dash button, Pryor has made his custom programming available for download on Github, but you’ll want to be very careful with it as he’s included no failsafes or error checking. So if something changes on the ACLU’s donation page, you could find yourself with a massive tax write-off.