What if Elliott Advocacy fails? (P.S. I know we won’t)

Here’s a question I’ve been reluctant to ask during our spring fundraiser, but it demands to be answered: What if Elliott Advocacy fails?

What if we can’t raise enough money to keep the site running? What if we can’t get started as a nonprofit organization?

OK, let’s go there.

But before I do, please consider adding your name to this list of financial supporters. Your help is essential to keeping this advocacy going.

What it would take to end this

First, let me assure you that it would take a planet-ending, cataclysmic event of Biblical proportions to shut down this site completely. I’ve survived without funding, without staff, even without readers, on-again, and off-again for decades.

When I say, “I’m in it for the long haul,” that’s not hyperbole. That’s an understatement.

Failure is not in my dictionary, in other words.

But there’s success, and there’s success. I define success as having a thriving nonprofit organization with a paid staff and a sizable readership. I’d interpret that as a mandate to work on your behalf to improve the frayed relationship between companies and their customers — and to advocate tirelessly on your behalf.

What is “failure”?

So what’s “failure” then? Well, if we don’t hit our fundraising goal, it makes the path forward more of a challenge. Just to give you an idea of how fragile our financial footing is, let me tell you about the first 24 hours of our fundraiser. We received about $450 from our supporters, which was awesome! At the same time, we received bills from my developer and hosting provider that exceeded that amount.

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That’s just how it goes.

Being unsuccessful would mean we continue to operate like this, living fundraiser to fundraiser. In order to break out of this, we need to secure funding from reliable sources who share our long-term vision of a sustainable consumer advocacy organization.

I think we’re almost there. If we can meet our spring target, we’ll be able to offset the revenue we lost when we pulled our ads, cover our expenses, and make it through to our next fundraiser in October.

What if we can’t?

But what if we can’t reach our goal? What if our fundraiser comes up short? Then we’ll have some difficult choices to make:

We could place ads back on the site, which would make up for the lost revenue.

We could develop a more formal “sponsored post” program that would allow companies to reach you with their promotional messages.

Or we could move to a cheaper (but slower) server, reduce our publication frequency, or pause publication on weekends, when our readership is lower.

I’m not crazy about any of these ideas. I think they represent an enormous step back, in some cases. For instance, while our weekend traffic is lower, we also have some of the best discussion in the comments sections. To remove those would represent a loss to this community.

But we can

What happens if we fail?

We won’t.

Together, we can find the necessary funds to grow this consumer advocacy site into a full-fledged nonprofit organization — with you at the center.

I’m beyond grateful for your participation. If you want to join now and add your name to the list of 2018 supporters, here’s how.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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