Editorial: Fall Fundraising a Success. Thanks So Much For Your Support. But Still Rough Times Ahead.
I want to weigh in and give special thanks to the 2,225 readers who came to our rescue when we needed help. We haven't had financial problems for 10 years. But this year turned out to be a little different. I'll explain more in a second.
We met our anonymous donor match and we went over our goal. Your support helped to reduce our deficit. But we are not out of the woods yet. The deficit -- roughly $200k or about 11 % of our budget -- is quite a bit more than one Fall fund raiser can fix. So we will likely need to make another appeal in a couple of months, as we approach the end of the year. But, we are breathing a little easier now for sure.
To be transparent, I want to explain what happened to make things more financially urgent. It is a problem for many in progressive media.
The dominance of the mobile device
We are one of the many progressive web sites that takes advertising --including Mother Jones, The Nation, Salon, Daily Kos and more. That revenue is half of our budget. This means less money we have to raise from you and from foundations -- which often have narrow agendas.
Generally speaking, when you have a large audience (ours is roughly 6 million a month), it makes sense to earn money from ads to pay staff, produce great articles and give you what you need. Most every media in America is ad-supported.
Recently, there has been a major shift of readers who now get their news on mobile devices. This has significantly reduced revenue because mobile advertising doesn’t pay nearly as much as advertising that runs on desktop computers. Additionally, some readers are using ad blockers -- which hurts us -- and all ad supported media -- even more.
As the New York Times explained, "...media companies and many other sites are supported by online ads. So if you get rid of the promotions (by using an ad blocker), you may kill publishers’ business models and lose access to diverse content. If the economic engine is threatened, how do small indie publishers and small local news publishers sustain their online content?”
We understand the urge to be commercial-free. In an ideal world, we would be too. But something has to help pay the bills. And, in fact, a good 30% of ads you see from AlterNet are from organizations and people who progressive audiences want to hear from – such as Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, CREDO Mobile, etc.
So, in a funny way, disruptive technology has come to bite us in the you-know-where. It is why we hit some financial speed bumps this year and have turned up the dial on urgency. We're sorry we have to -- and it is tough. We have had to eliminate some jobs and hope to avoid more lay offs. But we are very happy that you have our back. It helped us immensely.
P.S. If you want to help us immediately a great way is to set up an automatic, 100% tax-deductible monthly contribution of $6 or more by clicking here.