As many of you know, Diplopundit’s funding ended in March. Today, we’re rolling out our ‘Help Diplopundit Get to Year 10‘ campaign. It will run for the next eight weeks. If successful, the fundraising will help keep the blog funded until May 2018.
I’ve made an attempt to find funding for the blog from private sources. Diplopundit could get a $15K grant from a generous family foundation supporting the Foreign Service, and there is a potential for another grant from a separate entity; however, the grants would be available only if the blog has 501(c)(3) charitable status under the Internal Revenue Service. I’ve determined, with help from my legal pal, that the charitable status would not be compatible with the pseudonymous persona of this blog. Maybe at some point I will hand this blog over to a foundation to run, but I’m not there yet.
Another option, of course, is to go subscription only or have a blended open/subscription model via Patreon , but I’ve been hesitant to do that for two reasons. One, the niche audience for the things this blog covers is exceptionally small. We want to expand that audience to include readers with no connection to the State Department or the Foreign Service, and especially those who flip through the international affairs news. Two, for a more personal reason, I do not want to break up the blog’s archive. I’m a tad attached to it.
But Some Good News
In the first four months of 2017, the blog already reached three fourths of its total 2016 visits, and our visitors are already at par with last year’s number. We did get a one time spike in visitors in February when Ricky Martin tweeted a link to our 2010 post about a Puerto Rican detained by DHS (see US Citizen born in Puerto Rico detained as illegal immigrant, what was DHS/ICE thinking? ). We’re not going to have a celebrity tweet one of our posts every month, but traffic still appears to be up in the last couple of months. It remains to be seen if this trend holds for the rest of the year.
Funding the Blog Via Ads
One reader asked “Don’t the ads on the page pay for the blog?” For those curious, we generate a small revenue from WordPress’ WordAds and the Amazon Affiliate program. We have a few readers who shop at Amazon using our affiliate shop , and we appreciate their support. In 2016, we made $132.27 in affiliate fees for the year. Based on our traffic, the WordAds payment range from $35.64 to $119.82 per month. In 2016, we earned an average of $74.60 per month from the ads you see in the blog. So, the ads help, but they are extremely limited revenue sources.
Funding the Blog Through Fundraising
We first attempted to raise funds for the blog in 2014. In 2015, “OneFSO” and “S” successfully raised funds for us from 368 donors. Last year, with “S” and company’s help, we were able to raised $35K from 444 donations. After we deducted GFM fees and blog expenses in 2016, the blog’s net income last year (including ads) was $26K or about $500/week. Fortunately, your blogger has her/his own bed, but if she/he were required to rent a place to live, she/he might be able to afford a room, but not much of anything else.
This year we are going to attempt to raise $38,240 from May 10 to July 10, 2017 to fund us until May 2018. (A few readers already donated a total of $1,760 via PayPal in April. Thank you!)
NOTE: The campaign page is here: ‘Help Diplopundit Get to Year 10‘
For first time donors, check out the FAQ: https://www.gofundme.com/questions.
For donors who do not want to display their names on the campaign page, check out how to make your donations anonymous.
We’ve dived into the weeds of the blog’s financial situation to explain our persistent dilemma of trying to balance work that we enjoy doing (writing this blog) with our need to earn a livable income . Can we afford to keep the blog running this year? How about next year? When will necessity force us to … well, jump? Those questions generates anxiety for your blogger for weeks at a time every year. We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding.
But … Hang On
We don’t know what the future holds for this blog. We do recognize that we live in unprecedented times. Maybe it’s time to just embrace our uncertainties in our small corner of the sky. Knowing what happens next would simply be boring. So, we will continue to monitor the goings on in Foggy Bottom and in the “worldwide available” universe as we have always done in the last nine years. For now, this is where we need to be, and as David Allen Coe sings it …
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We’re officially nine going on ten, but who drank all the wine?
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