Why you shouldn’t support this site now

It’s time. Our spring fundraiser is here. Starting today, we’re trying to raise $30,000 to fund the continued operation of your favorite consumer advocacy site. Here’s how to support this site now.

Most fundraising efforts start by listing all the reasons to become a supporter. But you know me — I’m a contrarian.

I’d like to tell you why you shouldn’t support this site.

Don’t do it for the giveaways

True, I’ll be giving away a lot of stuff during this fundraiser, including airline tickets, accessories, clothing, and luggage. Stay tuned for the exciting details. Many supporters wait until I announce these generous giveaways, which is fine. But that’s not why you should become a supporter now.

This is not a short-term, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of relationship. I’m here for the long haul, and if you’re reading this, you probably are, too.

I’ve advocated for you more than 20 years. A decade ago, I slowly began to build a consumer organization. This year, I removed all of the ads from my consumer advocacy site and incorporated as a nonprofit organization.

We’re in this together, long-term. I plan to be here next year and ten years from now, and I’m confident this site we’re building together will outlast all of us. I hope you’ll support this effort because we’re creating a powerful, pro-consumer organization.

Don’t do it because you feel guilty

I’m not a fan of fundraisers that guilt you into giving. OK, maybe you’re a regular reader of the site, or you’ve directly benefited from the advocacy or the research. But that’s no reason to support the site.

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I hear those pitches for public broadcasting, that say, “You’re getting this for free — why don’t you pay up?” But to truly give something to the public for free means it’s offered with no expectations.

I’ve dedicated my life to public service as a consumer advocate. The volunteers I work with are doing this because they want to give back to consumers. They want to help.

Support this site not out of guilt, but because you’re helping us help you. You’re investing in a site that could someday assist you, a friend, or a family member. When our advocacy team secures a five-figure refund, we won’t have our hand out for a donation, either. We’ll tell you it’s our pleasure to help and invite you to become part of our advocacy community.

Support this site in order to build that community of informed consumers.

Don’t do it because we’re friends

If you know me personally, that’s also no reason to become a supporter.

I may be an extremely effective consumer advocate, but I wouldn’t win any personality contests. When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t always like what I see. I can be careless, impulsive, and petty. These character faults have led to unnecessary corrections, quixotic campaigns against companies, and feuds with people I incorrectly believed to be competitors. I could spend the rest of this post apologizing.

I hope you can support this site despite all of that. Yes, I’m an imperfect tool. But look at what my advocates and I are doing. We are quietly building a site that helps all consumers, and does so carefully, fairly, and with a level head.

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That’s a really good reason to come aboard now as a supporter.

You shouldn’t become an underwriter and add your name to this list for the free things, the feelings of guilt, or our friendship. Instead, do it because we’re creating a free, fair and effective consumer organization that will serve you for many years to come.

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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