A profit model in flux attracts model citizens
When I’m out and about in the community doing my thing, the question I get asked most often is, “Who are you, again?”
But a close second is, “And how are you going to make money off this?”
I’m glad to say I can easily answer the first question, unless I’m trying to avoid someone. The second question I usually answer by saying, “I’m a journalist, so I have absolutely no idea.”
A few days ago I announced my fundraising drive to help me get Decaturish off the ground. If you’d like to donate, you can check out my recent appeal for funding here.
After I started the drive, something began bugging me. I’ve raised more than $600 since Monday.
I’ve received support from family and friends, but about half of that money comes from folks here in Decatur. As the donations came in, I started thinking, Holy crap, these people are giving me money. I need to send, ‘”Thank you” notes.
In the process of doing that, I ran across one donation that I actually received a day before I made my appeal to get Decaturish off the ground. It was $30, from a regular reader living in downtown Decatur (who asked that I not use his full name). Normally these donations don’t come without a direct appeal from me. When I got the reader’s donation I was so busy doing other things, I didn’t notice the timing.
It’s significant because prior to my recent appeal, I had been asking for donations to pay other journalists. This month I began asking for donations to cover my own start up expenses, with the goal of providing opportunities for these writers once I can get a revenue stream going.
I began to worry that the reader would think I’d deceived him in some way, having sent the money shortly before I shifted gears toward a new fundraising goal. I shot him an email and offered him the opportunity for a refund.
The email I got in response was really a reminder of why I’m doing this in the first place. I asked the reader if I could share it with you, and he agreed. This is what he said:
Thank you for your note and your concern for my feelings about how my donation would be used.
Fear not: I simply wanted to support you— Dan and Decaturish.com—however you see fit. Please put the money in whatever accounting bucket you wish (e.g, startup costs or support of your writers or cat food 🙂.
Since I’m living (well) on Social Security (with an occasional ‘dip’ into a modest IRA account), I donate more time than money to worthwhile causes. However, I do plan to send more to Decaturish occasionally because you are providing a uniquely valuable resource to our community. I appreciate the fact that I can “subscribe” voluntarily; I should therefore contribute periodically.
As you know, it’s a huge challenge to find ways of “turning Decaturish into a viable business.” I admire your courage to run against the tide of “Media Consolidation” and “Big Media.” A recent discussion on BillMoyers.com convinced me that others and I must start supporting local journalism (i.e., you) because the future of our democracy is at stake.
Finally, I cheered for you when Decaturish articles started appearing on my Google News page:
Thank You and Best Wishes.
Local news is needed and appreciated. I think there’s a way to keep news around, keep reporters fed, and make everyone a little more informed about their community. That’s what I’m working on. If you think it’s a worthwhile goal, please donate.