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January 30, 2005


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Nick Lewis

That's probably good, because those of us who would toil to build the communications infastructure are pretty close to starving to death. I'm very charitable with my time, and have setup at least 6 civicspace sites pro-bono for progressive organizations. However, I must say that the same organizations would have turned their backs had I asked for a modest fee to put a roof over my head. I suppose I should be more progressive, and accept hunger as the price I pay.


Right. If you were as good an apologist for conservative causes as you are for progressive, the funding rationale would be clearer. Rolling back environmental regs, reducing capital gains tax, the tax on dividends, and eliminating the estate tax put big dollars in the pockets of wealthy funders. To achieve those results they pay top dollar for theorists who can rationalize, package and sell the programs for the rich. Against that you have a few people like you assuming enormous personal cost for the benefit of the many. That gives your voice credibility and importance but does not make it easy to live. You see the same thing, for example, if you look at the funding for Commonweal Institute or National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy, two of the most progressive "think tanks," if you will. Dedicated people struggling to make ends meets, whereas Heritage is rolling in dough. They have a clear sales pitch to the wealthy few. How do we tap a few dollars times many many givers to truly create a grassroots movement? My personal answer has been a job plus blogging. We each find our own balance. I hope you will find ways to keep going, and pay your bills too. Will be interested to see how "web smart" the Momentum Conf will be. And how strategic.

Matt Liberty

Thanks for creating a great blog. I wonder if anybody has some fundraising ideas for progressive media outlets? We have been producing and broadcasting a progressive television news show called Liberty News for several months now that is reaching millions of homes, by way of satellite dish thanks to Free Speech TV, and on local cable access TV channels. Our Web site is www.libertynewstv.com.

Unfortunately, we'll probably be ending the show after 6 episodes, because we don't have any funding. One problem is that we registered as a "for profit" venture, to avoid the paperwork and political limitations of non-profits. The the truth is that we're paying from our own pockets to produce every show.

Everybody loves the show. We get lots of supportive mail. But it doesn't pay for studio time. We're running out of resources. Anybody got a rich uncle...? Or a creative fundraising idea for us?


Could you ever be profitable? Might you consider keeping your profit-making status and raising money from investors as a going concern? Or is the project inherently a nonprofit? Could you become a project of a foundation? If so, that status would allow deductible contributions, which might help.
The foundation may act as a "fiscal agent,"


A community foundation might consider it, or you may know of media foundations that share your ideals.

Also you might look at program related investments in which a foundation invests in a for profit that advances the foundations mission.


None of this addresses your pressing need for cash, but these "housekeeping" steps may be necessary to have credibility with funders. They probably will want a straight and simple answer to questions about your legal status and the deductibility of gifts.

Beyond that can you leveral your millions of viewers to do a pledge drive or emailing? Can you set up a database for mailings?

I am not an expert in these areas, just thoughts for what they are worth. Good luck with your project.

Matt Liberty

Actually, that's a great idea. Maybe there's a foundation such as the one that's connected to Adbusters that might become our non-profit liason. I'll look into it.
Thanks much for the great feedback!

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