What would happen if Elliott Advocacy fails?

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By Christopher Elliott

Here’s a question I’ve been reluctant to ask during our 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.

But there’s success, and there’s success.

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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 of double that amount.

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 the fundraising target, we’ll be able to cover our expenses and make it through to our next fundraiser at the end of the year.

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 develop a more formal “sponsored post” program that would allow companies to reach you with their promotional messages. (Here’s what you need to know about travel in the fall.)

Or we could move to a cheaper (but slower) server, reduce our publication frequency, or pause publication on weekends, when our readership is lower. (Related: It’s time to take a stand.)

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 discussions 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 of underwriters, here’s how.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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