Security 101 / Axis Charity Contest

By Brian Karas, Published Nov 30, 2017, 09:32am EST

Integrator Security101 and manufacturer Axis Communications have teamed up for what they call the "Gift of Security", saying they "will collectively donate nearly $200,000 in services and products" to charitable organizations.

Instead of selecting these organizations themselves, they are running a charity contest where people can vote daily for their preferred charities.

Is this a great way to help the less fortunate, a clever marketing stunt for the companies involved or both?

IPVM spoke with executives of both Security 101 and Axis to learn more about this contest. Inside, we analyze the Gift of Security contest to look at benefits to Axis, Security 101, and the eventual winners, in this note.

Contest ********

** ******** *** ********** are ******* * ************ * ***** ***-****** can *** * ************ system ************ ****** ** Security *** ** $**,***. Cameras *** *** ******* are ***** ******* ** Axis, **** *** ******** 101 ********** ********* *** balance ** ********* *** labor ****** ** ******** the *************.

*********** **** ********* ******, and **** ******** **** to * ***** *********** for **** ********* ******** by * ***** ** ********* ******* selected ** ******** ***. The ***** *********** *** then ***** ** ** determine ***** ******* ** each ****** *** ********* *** ******* ****** page.

Winner **** ***** ** **** *****

*** ******* ***** ********* that *** ****** **** agree ** *********** ** a **** *****, **** results ****** "*** *** reason". *** **** ********* *** of *** **** ******* ***** be *********** *** ** Axis ** ******** ***, meaning *** ***-******* **** ultimately ** ********* **** as * *********** ** receiving ***** *****.

***** **** ******* **** have **** ******** * free ************ ******, *** will ****** **** *** minimal ****** ** ***** utilize ** ** ******** capabilities, ********* **** ********* be ****** ********, ***** makes *** **** ********* content, *** *** *** be ** ********* ** if **** **** ***** for ******** ** ********* parties ***** ****** ***** the *******.


**** **** ****** ********, voters *** ********** ** vote *****, ***** *** the ******* ** ******** 101 ** ******* ******* to ***** ****.

** **** ****, ****** choose ******* * ********. For *******, ************, *** ************** **** *******, *** intellectually ******** *** ********* veterans:

** ******** *********** ** required ** **** * vote, ******* ** ****** want ** *** *** their ********* ***-****** ** doing **** *** ***** to ***** ** ***** address:

Benefits ** ******** ***

******* **** *******, ******** 101 **** *****/****-**-***** ********* effect, ******* *** ******** non-profits ********* *** ******* to ***** ******* ********* while ********** *****.  **** will **** ******* **** number ** ***** ********* which *** *********** ** used *** ****** ********* purposes. ************, *** ************* franchises *** ******* ********** within ***** *********** ** generous ********** **** ********* involvement, *********** ******* ** additional ***** *** ***** locations.

Benefits ** ****

**** **** ****** ***** exposure ** *** ****** page, **** **** ****** see ******* ******** **** using **** ***** ********* in ********* **********. ****** positive ******** **** ***-*******, organizations **** ***** **** small ******* *** **** inherent ****** ** ************ due ** ***** ***-****** nature, **** **** **** position *** ******** ** viable ******* ** ***** budget-minded *******.

Morale/Team ******** ***** ** ****

**** ********* ****** **** participating ** ********** ****** like **** *** ***** employee ******, *** **** employees **** **** **** are ******* *** * company **** ****** **** than **** **** *************. Security *** **** **** ********* actually ********* *** **** of ***** ***** ************* with ******* ****, ******* of ***** **** ** the ******* *** ***** hours ***** ** *** installation.

Benefits / ********* ** *******

*** ***-****** ** **** region **** ********** **** the ****** **** *** a ********** ***** * channel ************ ******, ****** Security *** ****** *** systems **** ** ******** to **** ********* ***** as **** ** ********. While **** ****** ** an ******* **** ******** they *** ** *****, whether ******* ** *** or ** ******** ******, it ** **** **** likely ** ** **** than * ******** ******, unless *** ******** ** very *****. ** *** winners ****** ** ****** these **** *******, **** will **** ****** **** to ***** *** ** the **** ****** ********* by ******** ***, ***** could ***** **** ** specific ********, *** ***** their ******* ** *** lower-cost ********* ** ******** their ******. *******, **** would ***** ********* *** up **** * ****** far ****** **** **** could **** ********* ** their *** ********, *** at *** **** ** having ** ***** ** whatever ********* ** ******** for ****.

Franchise ************* ********

******** *** ****** **** franchisees ***** ****** ** participate ** *** "**** of ********" ********. ** *** end, 15 ** ***** ** listed ********* ***** ** participate.

Costs ******** ** ***********

****** **** ** ********* the ******* *** ****, all ***** ***** ********** with ********** *** ****** are ******** ** *** local ***********. *** $**,*** prize ** ****** ** standard *******, *** *** Axis ******* ****** **** up **-**% ** **** value. *** ******* ** $6,000-$7,000 ** ***** ***** likely ******* ******* ******** dollars ***** ** *****, which ********* ******, ******* the ********* ****** ** supply ********** ***** **** a ****** ***** ** the $*,***-$*,*** *****, ***** would ** ******** ****** at * ********, ****** their ****** ***** *****.

Marketing ***** ** ********

****** ******* ******** ***** costs, ******** **** **** are ****** **** ** generate ******** ********** ****** a *********, *** ***** for *****/********* ********. ** the ******** *** ********* sponsoring *** ******* **** 1 ** * *** jobs ** * ******, or *** ****** ****** to ****** ***** ****** in *** ******, *** few ******** ******* ** actual **** **** ******** would ****** ** ********. 

***-******* ***** **** ** simply ******** ** ****** from ***** *************, ******* the *********** *** **** studies, ***** ******, ** social ***** **********, *** this ***** ******* ****** the ******** ***** ********** **** Security ***, *** ** a ****** ******, ****, receive.

Vote / ****


Comments (50)

How is this possibly a bad idea?  

I do volunteer work with underserved / underprivileged communities, and I hate this type of contest.  This model rewards people for having money and free time.  The people who could really use a "Gift of Security" are usually trying to keep poor kids fed and off the streets.  They get vandalized and burglarized by cowards on the regular.   

Q:  You know who has a lot of free time, and is most likely to be able to set up voting circles and wrangle votes for their charity? 

A:  People in wealthier neighborhoods where voting on a computer in an Internet poll is easy. But hey, if those people can't get 20 junior employees or a circle of moms to vote for them every day, f--- em, right?  They don't deserve the help if they can't push your brand on LinkedIn.  I mean, how is S101 supposed to get add on business and referrals from a bunch of poor people?

Call it a contest or a promotion.  But calling it charity is a stretch.  Charity would be finding someone whose work is important, who can't help you in any way.

I also do volunteer work and have worked with Axis on multiple charities in the past.  I completely disagree with your post.  While you definitely have some valid points that not everyone has the time to vote, in my experience S101 and Axis take that into account.  Axis, S101 and other integrators like myself have focused with charities like these in the past to inner city school districts who write in about their circumstances and lack of finances to get a solid security system.

You are right, not everyone can benefit from charity events, but anyone getting a top-tier security system for no cost, is a charity.  I don't know how else you would define a gift like this.  Marketing and case studies are hardly a price to pay for this.  

Being that you have the free time, instead of blasting S101 and Axis on this event, why don't you write into them on their behalf and get them a security system they need.

You are right, not everyone can benefit from charity events, but anyone getting a top-tier security system for no cost, is a charity

But there is a cost, that's the issue. The cost is:

(1) the charity needs to get people to vote for them. That means the charity's staff and volunteers need to spend time getting out the vote and voting.

(2) 2/3rds of these charities get nothing even after (1) above but Axis and S101 get the marketing / brand building during the voting campaign

(3) the charity needs to submit to partake in a case study, which means time to give input to the marketing people and also the value of the charities brand in the form of a case study, which S101 and Axis requires to get the 'charity'.

How about this? Should Axis and S101 require a case study to get the donation?



I agree, they shouldn't require a case study to get the donation.  I would personally offer one, if for instance someone wanted to give me $10,000 to improve my security in my house I would gladly participate in a case study.  But again, I completely agree that should be an option not mandated.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the voting system, again I don't work for S101 and haven't participated in this specific event.  But in the past when we've done charitable systems, usually for schools, It's a one page form on asking why them over other locations.  It generally takes 10-15 minutes to fill out.  And they forward the email/form to other people asking them to take that time to fill out the form.  It is time, but I believe the potential reward justifies that.

2/3rds of the charities get nothing, that is true.  No matter what charitable organization in the world, no one can help everyone.  I hope you'll agree when reaching out to any charity, you're never guaranteed to receive that help.  I think we're focusing on the wrong part of that fraction.  The "1" that received the help, is the positive message.  If Axis or S101 get more sales because of this recognition, it keeps them in business and making money.  If that helps them give back or further entices them to run more of these types of events, I'm personally ok with that.


#2, I agree with you about filling out the form. If a charity fills out a form, and even if it takes them an hour, if they are not selected, no big deal.

But this contest works differently. The 3 charities in each city are pitted against each other:

If the paralyzed veterans group wants to beat the rape victims group, they need to coordinate a 3 week online voting campaign, which is significantly more work than filling out a form.

I took a look at the voting page, and can see how this voting system isn't necessarily taking the most "deserved" system but rather who got the most people to vote for it.  Being that anyone can vote, I would stress to Undisclosed Integrator #1, maybe people who have the time and social media reach that others don't could help on their behalf.  It's not a perfect solution, but the end goal is still a positive one.

Playing devils advocate, if you found the above 3 mentioned organizations stories, all equally moving and deserving (which I assume they did).  How do you pick just 1?  I am by no means saying this American Idol style voting here is the best method, but how would you choose?  In the past our employees looked at the different forms and voted for what they thought which was the best use of the equipment and time.  Maybe that was wrong in some people's view as well, but it was the best solution we could think of.

I prefer the way your team did it.  That distinction was the whole point of my post. 

Now that poll I can certainly vote no too.

"Being that you have the free time, instead of blasting S101 and Axis on this event, why don't you write into them on their behalf and get them a security system they need."

You got me. That does seem much smarter than just improving the program. 

That is a very cynical response with a touch of "holier than thou" thrown in.  Sorry it doesn't meet your strict definition of charity, but it is charity none the less since they are donating time and equipment.  If this is what it takes to help out these deserving organizations so be it.

I'm not sure I'm the most cynical person being discussed on this particular page of the Internet, but OK.  I just said that a marketing program could be improved.

Enjoy your weird-ass Thunderdome contest.

A wise man once said:

I personally think running polls / contests to see which charity wins is distasteful, and worse because the prize is so low relative to the greater expense of running the contest and promoting it.



No offense John, but sometimes you can take a positive and search for the negative.  Of course this is marketing/advertising that will benefit S101 and Axis, but someone will end up with a decent system, so it sounds like a win/win in my book for all involved.

#4, they are calling it literally the gift of security:

It is not a gift. A gift is "an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or return."

This is a transaction. Just call it what it is. Case Study for a free system.

I agree the required case study takes away from the normally altruistic aim of charity. I would imagine non-profits have the same concerns about case studies of their operation and security posture as anyone else. I suppose they know the contest rules though, so if that's a concern they can just not enter. It just isn't the best look for Security 101 or Axis in my opinion.

" sounds like a win/win in my book for all involved."

not all.  Just Security 101, Axis and the eventual 'winner'.

The losers simply lose.

I think most would agree that charitable efforts are a good thing... even if the 'charitable' efforts achieve some positive results (marketing/good will, etc) for those performing the charitable acts.

My personal beef is in regards to charitable efforts that make the potential recipients 'compete' for the 'donation'.

I find this objectionable.


I hear your view, but as one of the S101 team we see the voting as a way that the Charities have a new method to bring awareness in their communities and not just for a security system.

Hey Rob,

Thanks for the reply.

"we see the voting as a way that the Charities have a new method to bring awareness in their communities and not just for a security system."

As  direct response to your comment, personally, I believe that 'increasing awareness' of the losing entities is an extremely marginal potential benefit to them, but nonetheless, the key here (imo) is the part of your comment I bolded above - 'we see'.

Do you understand how what 'you' see (as the creators of the contest) doesn't hold much weight - at least as a defense to what others (including myself) have commented on above?

Nobody is maligning you or your teams 'goodness' - though the defensive responses from Nancy et al above appear to assume that this is the case.

What people are commenting on above are some of the 'outside your organization' perceptions of the structure of your charitable efforts.

Lastly, it is my personal belief that when you combine charitable efforts with anything else (specifically including marketing efforts) - you run the inherent risk of others questioning your motives.





Team, As the founder of this program and one of the Security 101 franchise owners, I feel compelled to jump into the conversation.  

When developing this ‘give back’ program - - our mission has always been the same - - - to deploy a program committed to serving the communities where we live and work. I find it very sad that any small business owner, who has found a way to help in their community, would be subject to such critical negative judgement. 

While we may not have gotten every aspect of the program perfect, this is not about making a non-profit organization 'compete', but rather all about facilitating a fair selection process that includes understanding specific organization’s needs & their unique vulnerabilities through a risk based selection process.  After the final 3 are selected by an independent judge's panel, we wanted to also gain the insight and voice of the community to finalize the year's award recipient.  

As nonprofit organizations strive to provide a safe environment for the clients that they serve, it is challenging because donations need to be directed to providing critical services for the growing population in need.  This challenge leaves our most vulnerable citizens at higher risk of becoming crime victims. 

The employees at Security101 (Team 101) are dedicated to helping make non-profit venues safer for clients, employees and volunteers; well beyond this one annual program.

All of the people involved in making this program possible -  have their hearts in the right place…. 

Gandhi said, ‘the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’

During this Holiday season, I hope everyone finds in their hearts the inspiration to do something good for others that are less fortunate. 


P.S.  why are you writing comments as "undisclosed"? 

My assumption is they lack the intestinal fortitude to back up their words with their real identity in front of their peers, but then again I'm kind of an insensitive jerk at times.  





I find it very sad that any small business owner, who has found a way to help in their community, would be subject to such critical negative judgement.

Nancy, you should learn from criticism to improve what you are doing.

Let me ask you point blank: Will you drop the requirement to do a case study? Yes or No? If no, why?

John,  First,  proactive feedback, especially from program partcipants and our judge's panel is the best way to improve. In fact, it is exactly the way this program has matured over the years.  We value the feedback from program participants and from community members that have a genuine interest in helping;  but NOT from someone on the sideline that is just throwing stones. 

Secondly, I have run this program for 5 years (this is year 6) and have NEVER required that the winner complete a case study.  

We do request that they participate in a case study. This helps spotlight the growing need that non-profit's have and yes - it also provides recognition to the manufacturers that help make this donation possible. 

Bottom line:  We never have forced this request.  I agree that the request for a case study 'verbiage' maybe better served if it were re-written to be clear.  It is only a request - not a mandate. 

I have served on many non-profit boards and believe in the value that these organizations provide for our community.  

People can find fault with everything, i suppose.  If you look hard enough and focus on what is wrong - vs - being in search of the 'good' within people and programs.  


Bottom line: We never have forced this request. I agree that the request for a case study 'verbiage' maybe better served if it were re-written to be clear. It is only a request - not a mandate.

Nancy, you are wrong that it is only a 'request'. This is proven by your own contest rules:

Instead of complaining about how people give you feedback or which people give you feedback, focus on the actual logic and evidence being made.

If you are really committed to charity, and the case study is just a request, not a mandate, remove that section of the contest rules, ok?

Ms. Ford, they post undisclosed because we live in a vehement armchair activist society of narcissistic keyboard warriors who look for any excuse to smear someone's name (and picture if they can get it) and company all over the Internet as an uncharitable person who likes to kick puppies - truth and context having little to no relevance. 

It's always easy to post your name and picture to something that can be associated as positive and above reproach.

Last, I might have been with you and respected your time and efforts to make a response, until you invoked Ghandi. The companies involved I think have a right to seek some positive publicity in return and I think its actually not a bad idea. But Ghandi would never, in no shape or form, have asked for something like a case study, or any other publicity for self praise in return. He would have been far above that. Giving solely for giving's sake would have been enough.

Yes, I guess that's what irked me the most.

Fair enough. 

Thank you. And just so you know, I do agree I think the article focused a little too much on extolling the negative, and that's just my opinion. Even though IPVM is still by far the industry's best news source, I agree to gets a little sensationalist sometimes.

As Mother Theresa once said, "Undisclosed 6, you're a great guy and always right."

gets a little sensationalist sometimes.

Ok, I'll bite. What is sensationalist about this post? I am curious to hear.

But Ghandi would never, in no shape or form, have asked for something like a case study, or any other publicity for self praise in return.

To be fair, Ghandi might have not made a successful business executive in today’s world ;)

I find it very sad that any small business owner, who has found a way to help in their community, would be subject to such critical negative judgement.

Yes.  THIS is the very sad part.  Won't someone please think of the business owners in all of this?  

I mean, the paralyzed veterans and rape victims at least have a chance to win some free cameras and installation...but the business owners, all they get are a month-long run of social media mentions and a few sweet-ass referrals to the people who sit on the boards of these upscale nonprofits.

It's like Gandhi said, "As long as you pick a 501(c)3 that can plaster your name all over Twitter, you deserve to get a lot of mileage out of helping them.  But make sure to do email reminders or they'll forget."


It's a marketing campaign.  It pays off for some people, some times, but it pays off for you every time.   If you wanted to do good, you'd just take the money and donate it, but you had to get cute, and play dumb like nobody could figure out that it was beneficial to your interests.   If you just donated the cash, you'd benefit more people and still get to keep the tax writeoff. 

And yes, the rules clearly state that the case study is a requirement.

"It's like Gandhi said, 'As long as you pick a 501(c)3 that can plaster your name all over Twitter, you deserve to get a lot of mileage out of helping them. But make sure to do email reminders or they'll forget.'"

This is absolute GOLD.


WOW - this is the best you have? 

Here is a tip for you:  Put your big boy panties on and stop whining. 

I doubt that you have any real insight into the people running the program, and are therefore not qualified and definitely not in a position to judge them, their intent, nor their character. 

Integrators are doing good stuff for people in need - and that is a good thing!

I doubt that you have any real insight into the people running the program

Note #U8 is a Security101 employee. IPVM policy is to disclose affiliations when they are material to a discussion.

I understand that Security101 folks are not happy with this discussion. Two things:

(1) Genuinely try to understand the concerns shared and think hard about whether and how to use them to improve your program


(2) Just ignore it. It's a post on the Internet, it's not going to make or break your program.

I am not unhappy with this discussion – What gives you that idea? 

IPVM does provided the opportunity to disagree or share a different perspective – right?   

Undisclosed #1 is hiding behind his secret identity with nasty innuendo and mean-spirited comments without any basis or foundation.

without any basis or foundation

What was without basis or foundation?  

- It is, in fact, more marketing campaign than charity.  The daily voting, the social media push, the case study, and your unwillingness to address the elephant in the room make a pretty good case to prove this assertion.

- You are, in actual fact, benefiting from it every time, in excess of what it costs you.  You couldn't buy this much exposure for this much money through any other channel.  You couldn't buy the executive / board of directors referrals either.  You still get a tax writeoff.  Which part of that is the baseless, foundationless lie?

- You keep saying that a case study is not required, and that the wording is somehow clumsy or vague.  Again, you are hard to trust on this issue.  Your rules state unequivocally that a case study is required.

- You have not dealt with my original point whatsoever, which was that certain types of charities have unfair advantage in this type of contest.  Truly needy people have less access to computers, to the Internet, and to free time.  

Those are my cards.  Show me yours.

The program is truly about charity. I spoke to the Security 101 Director of Marketing who had this to say: “Naturally, with any public-facing initiative, there is marketing benefit. However, with the Gift of Security we aim to use that benefit for program growth, enabling an even greater impact by providing security for more and more needy organizations in the communities where we do business. The fact that our employees get to give back on company time is also a very nice side benefit.”

That's good information and I found it Informative, but I'm curious about the statement "However, with the Gift of Security we aim to use that benefit for program growth". What is the means being aimed for to enable "program growth"?

One possibility would be if it achieves enough publicity to successfully procure new paying business that would kick back enough funds to expand the program, that would be one way. Or, would it be used as publicity to entice additional donor partners to contribute, or for existing partners like Axis to contribute more?

Nancy, would you be able to elaborate on that?


Another possibility you left out is the most probable... the success of the program with only ~half the Security 101 franchisees participating can be grown to having a higher percentage of franchisees participating.

The program is truly about charity.

Ok, if that is so, drop the requirement that the recipient must do a case study, ok?

If it is really just about charity, you could drop the whole online voting, promotion, etc.

Are we really trying to say any one of these non-profits is more deserving than the next?

Here is your process for a 'charity' project:

1) Talk to community leaders about non-profits they feel could benefit most from a security system.

2) Talk to a couple of the non-profits, just to make sure there is nothing odd, and that they really would benefit from a free system. Pick one more or less at random, or based on some very simple criteria/theme ("This year we are going to help a non-profit that focuses on Y").

3) Schedule the install, do the install, go home.

If this was a pure charity event, these non-profits would already be using their free systems today. I wonder if any of the 'winners' (or losers) will have had some event happen during the voting period that could have been prevented, or at least prosecuted/etc. by a working surveillance system.


OK!  Fair perspective and one of the very few good recommendations from this article.  

While the non-profit's that participate understand it is optinal, we can align our verbiage better. 

 As i have already said earilier,   "I agree that the request for a case study 'verbiage' maybe better served if it were re-written to be clear.   It is only a request - not a mandate."


This is a Great idea and a very worthy cause.

I wish my company would do sonething like this.

I wish my company would do sonething like this.

U7, you work for Security101, according to your IPVM login and LinkedIn profile, why engage in such deception?

If you support what your company is doing, that's fine, just say it. By trying to deceive others, you draw more attention to the ethical issues of your company's contest.

I wish my company would do sonething like this.

Your wish is granted ;)

Nancy, Rob and Undiscloseds#101:

Do you actually claim a tax write-off for the donation?

Maimonides' Eight Levels of Charity

From the medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher in the 1100's.

Sidebar:  He's the dude who coined this well-known phrase:  "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

I'd say that - based on the words of Rambam - that this Security 101/Axis effort falls somewhere around the 6.7 level....

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Teach a man to fish RG-59 thru BigGap filled Sheetrock and he’ll make payments on a Ford-450 for a lifetime. - Erenthal?

"Like a quarter of quotations on the internet are bogus"- Abraham Lincoln

There are probably better ways to go about choosing a cause, but I did vote for this as a good idea.

I especially liked hearing that "Security 101 says that employees actually suggested the idea of doing these installations with donated time, instead of being paid by the company for their hours spent on the installation."

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