It takes about 400 words to fill this space, but I only have two that come to mind: Thank you.
One year and one week ago, we launched the INDY Press Club hoping to do, well, something to effect a change in a local news industry that seemed to be slipping away, year after year, month after month, into a shell of its former self, unable to do the kind of work it should do for the communities it serves, barely able to keep its head above water even in good economic times that couldn’t last forever.
The people who knew about fundraising—I was not one of them—told me to set a goal, a target for the first year. They didn’t tell me how to arrive at that amount. They just said to do it. “One hundred thousand dollars,” I said, about five minutes before everything went live. It was a nice round number.
I never thought we’d make it.
By the middle of March, we’d brought in about $50,000. At that pace, we’d probably hit $65,000 by May 8, our 12-month anniversary. Perfectly respectable.
Then, overnight, everything went to hell. We asked for help; our readers delivered. From March 11–31, the Press Club raised about $20,000. In April, about $19,000. And there we were, 10 days out from our anniversary, $15,000 away from that imaginary target.
Which we couldn’t possibly hit. That would mean averaging $1,500 a day. A grand a day is a hard-enough target in a Depression-era economy, even with T-shirts and prize giveaways. So we settled on 10 days, $10K—$95,000 for the year. That would be amazing.
But we got there by Wednesday. And when I woke up on Friday, the last day of our membership drive, we were only $3,500 short of $100,000. It would be a big ask—the biggest single-day haul we’d ever had—but we put it out into the universe. And, slowly at first, the money started trickling in, then a bit more, then more, until we were $800 away, then $500, then $200, and I sat for an hour with a bourbon in my hand refreshing my computer.
We crossed the finish line at 6:28 p.m., with five hours and 32 minutes left. As important, in just 10 days, the Press Club added nearly 300 new members and more than 100 monthly contributors, which means we’re building something sustainable, something we can use to plan, a new model to fund the work we do.
I guess I did have 400 words in me. But only two really matter: Thank you.
You make the work we do possible. Every day, we’ll work to live up to the faith you’ve entrusted in us.
Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at email@example.com.
DEAR READERS, WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW MORE THAN EVER. Support independent local journalism by joining the INDY Press Club today. Your contributions will keep our fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle, coronavirus be damned.