First of all, you see that picture to the left; that's a sneak peek at the artwork Bombsfall has put together for donors at the $25 level. Just to be clear, it is awesome. I'm just sayin'.
*Cue Barenaked Ladies* It’s been one week since we started our donation drive — also I’m sorry if I just put that song in your head [Editor’s note: He’s not sorry.] — and the outpouring of support to date has been certifiably epic. Normally, in our better years, we cross the $10,000 threshold somewhere in the third week of the drive. This time around we hit it after three days, and now after eight days we are within striking distance of our primary “Keep The Lights On” goal.
That’s a big deal. It means another year of GWJ podcasts, articles, events and forums, and that’s something that makes me very happy. So, the only thing we can really say to that is, thank you. We are happy that you find that kind of value in what we’ve provided, and frankly in what you guys provide to one another, and it is a privilege to get to keep doing this thing that we love. In short: group hug time!
We will be providing periodic updates on the drive, as well as a running list of those forum members who have donated and provided their forum name for the annual icon. I can tell you that we have had at least one 10 year donor, however, we are still fine tuning the final icon so it doesn’t exist in the wild yet. Since we are being more transparent with our drive information this year, I can break down a few of the details for those of you interested in such things. For those of you, however, who just want to check in and get a sense of what the mood is, were I wearing a 70s mood ring it would be whatever color represents a blend of humbled and ecstatic. I’m thinking a nice rosy pink, like a blush.
Was that weird? It was kinda weird, wasn’t it? Let’s just move on.
Now, into some of the nitty gritty. I should warn some of you in advance, now that I’m in management in my professional life, it’s hard for me not to throw a lot of numbers into Excel and make grand generalizations. I apologize if this reads like a quarterly corporate report, and I’ll try to be brief, but I think some of you might be interested in this, considering this is the first year where you guys have had a lot of access to see the actual numbers and pace of donations.
What I can tell you is that, compared to previous donation drives, after one week we are roughly double what the normal total would be at this point in the drive. What is equally interesting is that the number of actual donors is only up by about ten percent, which represents pretty standard yearly site growth. That means a couple of things.
First, as a site and community we don’t have a large rate of attrition. People are sticking around. Of those who submitted a forum name for tagging, more than 80 percent have donated in the past, and an amazing 35% have been not just with but donating to GWJ for half the life of the site.
The other thing this represents is an upswing in the average donation from each individual, which is up over 50%.
I know that we’ve changed the structure of the drive this year, and so it throws some uncertainty into the mix to try and compare year-over-year information. There’s still some uncertainty about how having rewards and stretch goals will change the pace of donations in the middle stages of the drive. There’s information to be gathered about which of the incentives actually got people’s interest, and which did not. There’s also my deep need to see Julian Murdoch forced by a mischievous community to write an article about Sparkle Ponies. But, overall, it’s impossible not to feel like this has been a rousing success so far.
In some ways, I think we feel like this is a referendum on the quality of what we are providing to you. We like that the donation drive ultimately holds us accountable for our work, it asks all of you whether what we are doing is worth supporting for another year. But, that’s also a scary thing for obvious reasons, because we are keenly aware that if we are irresponsible with the faith and expectations you have for us, there are no shortage of alternatives waiting for you. So, we go into the drive knowing that this is you telling us whether what we do is worth supporting.
I personally have the genuine luxury of getting and manually sorting through the donation emails. A lot of you end up writing very thoughtful, occasionally irreverent messages. Reading those comments is frankly one of the highlights of my year.
Thank you for your support. Below you will find our initial list of donors who have followed up with a forum name -- updated as of last night. All of these individuals except those waiting on their 10th year icons should have received their updated forum icon. If your name is not on the list and should be, please send me an email at email@example.com that includes your forum name, real name, date you donated and donation amount.
Goarn (no such name)
Intal or ifaiw ? (it's Mattt)
nel e nel
Secret Asian Man
The Great Skeeve