The problem with Sevenly

Dear reader,

You may not know who Sevenly is.  You may not know why supporting them is a problem.  On the surface, they seem like a great cause.  Their mission, according to their website is

We believe people matter. We have found that there is no greater calling than to provide, heal, rescue, and serve the others. Ultimately, our desire is to move a generation toward generosity and an intentional love for others. Our overall purpose is driven from this verse found in the book of Matthew 22:36-40.

 

That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Also from their website is a short excerpt of what they do:

Sevenly is a weekly cause activation platform cause marketplace that raises money for the world’s greatest causes through the selling of unique and exclusive products. Some have even called us a cause crowdfunding platform. Every week (7 days) we partner with a new non-profit organization, raising funding and awareness that these organizations desperately need. we and create unique art and limited edition products that we sell exclusively on our website Sevenly.org for 7 days. For every product sold, we give that week’s non-profit organization $7. For example, if we sold 1,000 products, Sevenly would donate $7,000.

 

You may know that Sevenly helps victims of domestic violence, burn victims who need surgery, victims of bullying.  It sounds like a really great cause, doesn’t it? An organization sells (most often) a t-shirt, and $7 of the proceeds go toward a charity, as they say a “non-profit organization”.

Here’s the problem.  Over and over and over again, Sevenly has claimed to “support autism” while giving to organizations that are downright hateful and harmful.

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First, about a year ago, they donated for the first time to Autism Speaks with their “It’s Time to Listen” shirt.  That campaign’s revenue was $22,855.  Autistic people (including myself) protested, citing information on their Facebook page and contacting them via their website to let them know about why Autism Speaks doesn’t help autistic people, and why they should not partner with such an organization.  

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Then they released their “Live Loud for Autism” shirt, which seems absolutely ridiculously insulting and I know a few of my fellow autistic folks rolled their eyes in disbelief at that choice.  Not only is sound sensitivity most certainly a thing for autistic people, but the fact that Autistic people’s voices are silenced is very well known in the autism/neurodiversity community.  Again they donated to Autism Speaks, this time to the tune of $204,377.

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Then they asked us to “Light it up blue for autism”, a common slogan for Autism Awareness month, headed up by no other than Autism Speaks.  This time, they raised $245,709.

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Then, it seemed like things might be changing, when they premiered their “Different Not Less” shirt, quoting the words of Temple Grandin.  This time, their charity changed to the National Autism Association, which was at least slightly better than Autism Speaks.  This time, they only raised $34,531.

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They supported the National Autism Association for a second time with their “Radical Possibilities: Stand up for Autism” shirt.  They raised $53,332, and it appeared (at least to me) that maybe the tide was turning.

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Then, they proved that they didn’t listen to a word that autistic people and our families, friends, and other allies were saying.  That’s when they chose to support Generation Rescue.  For those unaware, Generation Rescue is the foundation that Jenny McCarthy founded, and they are behind many biomedical “cures” that are harmful, if not downright deadly to autistic children.  This time, Sevenly raised $19,516.

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This week, Sevenly is again donating to Autism Speaks.  As I write this, over $61,000 has been raised.  This time, the support of Sevenly’s sponsors has increased the amount of money donated to $14 per item rather than the usual $7.  A variety of shirts are being sold, from the “Different Not Less” to the “Live Loud for Autism”.  Their infographic on their website uses fear-mongering techniques not unlike those of Autism Speaks in order to gain support, such as the “fact” that autism costs the average family $60,000 a year.  (My inner skeptic is yelling “QUIT THE ABUSIVE THERAPY AND YOU WON’T BE SPENDING $60K).  

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has implored autistic people and our allies to not support Sevenly, and to let them know what they think in this post.Many of us have done so, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Sevenly wants to hear from autistic people.  They have made posts on their Facebook page asking who loves a person with autism, who is a teacher for autistic kids, who is a father or brother or other male relative (to promote their “men’s line”) of an autistic person.  But nowhere is there any mention of being an autistic person.  Their comments section has been flooded by autistic people and neurodiversity advocates who have told them time and time again that Autism Speaks isn’t good for autistic people, and have laid out the reasons why.  But they don’t want to listen.

So, Sevenly.  What is it going to take? When will you listen to the people who you claim you want to help? Or are you just another company who wants to pat themselves on the back for “supporting” autistic people, while ignoring us at the same time?

 

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21 thoughts on “The problem with Sevenly

  1. what a wondrous trend…maybe we should share to them organizations that don’t screw us over?
    I can’t look those up at the moment unfortunately…

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    1. to be clear, the “wondrous” part was snark…I, thinking back, never actually use wondrous in a non-snarky context…back to homework…having fun ending up mentioning my Asperger’s quite often in my Child Development class accidentally, especially when it comes to vaccines, which, quite thankfully, my class is all on the same page on

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    2. I did this, actually. They said I was free to submit an application for a charity. So they won’t stop supporting a hate group, but they will accept alternatives to maybe support in the future. That is not a win, as far as I’m concerned.

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    1. Because autistic doesn’t try to grammatically separate me from my autism, as though I’m a shell of a real person and can only be real if I’m not autistic. The majority of autistic adults prefer the word autistic to the phrase “person with autism”. I know the latter is often taught as the most respectful choice, but in reality, it is anything but.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Because I’m not a person living with femaleness, nor am I a person living with freckles or someone living with glasses. Autism is part of who I am, it’s the neuropathy of my brain and how that brain processes sensory input. It’s not a disease. It’s not something which can be removed. It contributes to every aspect of my life, positive and negative. It is the filter through which my life’s experiences flow, both in and out.
      THAT is why I am not a person living with autism, because I’m autistic and alive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love how you said this. It is so perfect. I am the mother of an Autistic boy, and I don’t know about other mothers, but I FIRST seek out blogs/articles/advice when I want to better understand him, and when I want to know what to support/not support.

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  2. Sevenly is not going to listen to anyone, and unless your charity has massive social media and email lists of thousands of people they are not going work with your group. Because no matter how many times they say their mission is to “Showcase overlooked causes and charities” the only people that matter are themselves and the massive salaries, swanky offices by the beach, and turning their founders into celebrity slacktavists, they are only looking to generate massive sales no matter what the “charity” stands for, because when you buy a product from them yeah $7 does go to the cause but more goes to their bottom line, and the lavish lifestyles of the owners. They use the .org but they are a for profit business that feeds on the mailing lists of the charities they partner with.

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  3. At least the money is going towards something. What’s your alternative? Spend $50 at Macys? They are trying. And they do support some great causes like the Wounded Warrior Project. Just don’t support the weeks you aren’t happy with (:

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    1. Yes, because the only options are spend $50 at Macys or support dehumanizing, sometimes dangerous treatment. /sarcasm

      Some of the other weeks have valuable causes that they support and great! There are plenty that aren’t great, and the causes they support on their autism focused weeks aren’t the only ones.

      Why would I support a group that refuses to listen to autistic people? Who have dismissed us time and time again when we have gone to them with our concerns? Who value the voices of parents more than autistic people?

      No thanks.

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  4. Hey there,

    I own a company called Citizens Threads Clothing Co. … For the month of April we want to support Autism Awareness month by donating to a nonprofit doing impactful work for the Autistic community. I don’t want to make the same mistake Sevenly is by not consulting the community first. Do any of you have recommendations or suggestions of good Autism charities to support for April? We will be running our campaign for the entirety of April.

    You can email us at info@citizensthreads.org or contact us at http://www.citizensthreads.org/contact

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  5. I wish I saw this post before I placed my order. In addition to not actually helping the groups they claim to, the customer service is horrible. “I am extremely upset, and will never order from Sevenly.org again. I placed my order on July 28, and received an email that day saying there was a 7-10 day delay, by August 26 I still had not heard of my order being shipped or any updates, so I emailed the support address and 4 days later received an email referring me back to the original delay email, taking no responsibility, despite the fact that I had not heard anything about my $150 order in a MONTH. The order was just shipped on the 28th of AUGUST despite your website clearly stating the 1-2-3 process. This is completely unacceptable. Now my order can take up to 6 weeks after the shipping date! which means despite ordering on July 28th, I may not receive my items until half way through OCTOBER! Clearly the “People Matter” slogan does not apply to those ordering, because this is the worst customer service I have ever experienced. Responsibility was not taken, I still don’t know when I’ll get my package, and there was no apology or offer to compensate the EXTREME INCONVENIENCE. Sevenly needs to step up the customer service, this was a horrible experience. I DO NOT RECOMMEND ORDERING FROM THIS SITE.” was my response to the service rating – I’m leaving this everywhere I can. There are so many other places to order from, and if there are no convenient ones for you, there is always donating directly to the charity, which I personally think shows more support and helps the cause more, anyway.

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  6. What you may not know and don’t mention is that all of this money is raised by “selling” products but not actually delivering them. There are likely thousands of people, including myself, complaining as we speak about the fact that we purchased items and have never seen them. I chose to support this company because I thought it was a great cause. Now I know my money did not go to a good place and I didn’t get the items I purchased.

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  7. What pisses me off is that these companies that “donate” to charities they “don’t get their hands dirty”. What I mean by that is they outsource their impact. People need to understand that donating to charity does not make a company a social enterprise. They are charging you more in order to donate the amount they say. It is just a marketing strategy. I’m one of the co-founders of a company (www.teetalent.com) that promotes the talent of professionals with disabilities. We don’t donate to charity. The company itself is the cause. We want to grow the business to open employment opportunities to professionals with disabilities that are struggling to find a job. I have a disability and my business partner has a disability as well. We want to prove to the business community that people with disabilities can get the job done and are worth hiring.

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