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Fundraising Analysis – Is This Site Viable?

On April 17, I posted what I felt was a desperate and personally humiliating fundraising appeal (see this post).

I left that post up for exactly one week.

Over that period of time, according to Google analytics, the fundraising post was visited by about 2000 unique viewers who spent an average of almost 4 minutes on the page.

I also got a couple of cryptic calls from folks suggesting job offers – none of which seem to have been realistic. The appeal was shared on Facebook or Twitter by 160 people, assumedly to countless other people.

Since then, I’ve raised $2,570 from 38 supporters. I received support via US mail from a few other individuals for maybe $150. So lets round that to a $2,700 total thus far from 40 people.

That amounts to support from about 2% of blog viewers ,or about $1.50 per page viewed. More favorably, that amounts to about $2,700 per week.

In my view, both are incredibly impressive figures.

But, are they real, in terms of sustaining my work?

Or were they just one shot handouts from friends that had nothing whatsoever to do with this blog?

I initially was overwhelmed by the support, because my initial fundraising goal was $1,000, designed merely to pay immediate expenses for a year of my blog server and internet service.

My goal shifted, to see if I could raise additional funds and possibly make the blog sustainable. That would take at least $45,000 per year.

Now, upon reflection, I honestly don’t know whether this is a good response or a disaster.

I note that I personally knew and had longstanding relationships with virtually every single contributor.

At the same time, there were issues and communities that I’ve spent a lot of time with and supported on this blog that contributed absolutely nothing.

I interpret that as evidence that this blog has generated zero support from readers.

Absolutely Zero.

That is not a model that is sustainable.

But, just to examine the possibilities, I went back and queried Google analytics for data on the blog’s readership over the last year.

Over the prior year, since April 29, 2014, this blog has been visited by 35,000 unique viewers, who had 70,000 sessions and read 105,000 pages, spending over 2 minutes per session.

If each visitor contributed just $2 per year, this thing could be viable.

One reader and supporter suggested that I charge subscriptions.

Previously, I’ve rejected both subscriptions and advertising ¬†as commercialization.

But, given that I am broke and unemployed, if I want to continue, something has got to give.

Would readers be willing to pay a $10 per year subscription?

I think this blog has had a valuable impact – in terms of providing good information and informed analysis to communities and activists; in shaping news coverage; and in influencing elite opinion in Trenton political and policy circles.

Don’t get me wrong: I am incredibly grateful to those who have helped out.

But, I’m thinking of packing it in. If readers find no value, why write?

Thoughts?

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  1. Pinedevil
    April 30th, 2015 at 08:41 | #1

    Bill, I’m a daily reader and recent donor. One of the ones you’ve never met. I highly value the information shared and the work you do. I would gladly pay a $10/yr. subscription fee.
    Regards,
    Ron

  2. April 30th, 2015 at 09:34 | #2

    @Pinedevil

    Thanks Ron – I appreciate your support and the fact that you find the info useful.

    I’m not a techie – do you know how I’d go about trying to set up a subscription service?

    My problem with that is not only technical – I strongly oppose restrictions on distribution of information and simply would never want to be a part of that.

  3. Pinedevil
    April 30th, 2015 at 11:22 | #3

    I’m not a techie either, but through a quick Google search, I see WordPress has the s/w and a tutorial here:

    https://wordpress.org/plugins/paid-memberships-pro/installation/

    I understand your opposition to taking this route.

  4. corportepollutionfighter
    April 30th, 2015 at 14:47 | #4

    Bill – I have to agree with Pine Devil. If readers want you to continue and thinking about all the communities you have helped but not much coming back from them donation-wise, you have no choice left to continue but charge your readers a fee. The work you do is very mentally labor-intensive in more ways than one and you deserve to be pay for your commitment, hard work and expertise. You’re time and sharp mind are as valuable as anyone else that is gifted to possess such a sharp mind.

  5. fuddled
    May 1st, 2015 at 05:47 | #5

    I would be glad to give 20 bucks for a donation. However, I am not into logging in and out of news sites. However, what you write about is compelling enough especially if to comment on.

    Please be more positive about the future of the site as the more negative you are about its viability the more you are telegraphing to people that there won’t be a site to donate or subscribe to.

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