Achievement Unlocked: First Financial Goal Reached!
Hitting our first fundraising goal, why it means so much, and what comes next.
We're going full on informal up in here because the title card already spoiled you so why play coy: We hit our first Ko-Fi Goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I'm actually in tears, but in the good way. Thank you so, so much.
For those of you who are new here let me explain why this is so important.
A Bit of History in How it Started
The original idea about this blog/newsletter thing was for me to first up share information I found out about being a person with, and also on, disability. All other parts were happy extras that were added to keep me from abusing Twitter threads well past the point that could be considered humane for the threads or the people reading them. (Never go full "time for some game theory," folks. Even I know that.)
Because I'm on a limited income and I was writing things which were intended for people in similar circumstances, I didn't want a monetary barrier to entry for the site. Thus I thought I had found the perfect solution in a newsletter hosting service which was free for me and free for the subscribers as long as I didn't ask anybody to pay.
The problem was when said service was revealed to be operated by folks of moral and political stances I did not feel comfortable with, particularly when it came to issues like the site financially supporting known transphobes. I have a firm, firm stance of support for my transgender siblings in the LGBTQIA+ community and that is a hard line for me. I therefore couldn't in good conscience stay with the original site.
After doing research, I found the site we are currently hosted on, Ghost. It had the all the features necessary and more besides. It was also cheapest of the available options, given that none of the free options could do what I needed.
The newfound costs of operating the site were cheap compared to other options, but were still not insignificant expenses for me given my limited income. Thus I bit the bullet and do one of the things I have the greatest trouble with and asked for help.
Paid subscriptions were added as well as a Ko-Fi donation button. The arrangement was that the bulk of the site would be and remain free. There would be fun behind the scenes bonus content as a bit of lagniappe for those who donated, but it would be a happy extra for those inclined to help out. There would continue to be no financial barrier to entry to get to the site for those who couldn't afford it.
It's the sort of setup that's not supposed to work. Pick a niche! They say. Have content behind a paywall! They add. And this is very good advice and true for those trying to make a living with newsletters and blogs. But I'm just a nerdy, disabled, weirdo sharing her thoughts and experience who could use a hand. I figured whatever I could get would be great and if the trade off to sticking to things like no paywall meant I didn't get much well, that was the way the cookie crumbled. Having to do some belt tightening to make it happen on my own would be the least I could do.
I moved the site over, set up payment methods, and waited to see what would happen.
I set the first goal at $200: Cost of a year of site hosting plus related ancillary expenses. (Stripe takes a cut of subscription fees, for example.) I figured if I got enough paid subscriptions and Ko-Fi donations to even take a tiny bite out of that it'd be wonderful.
I also set up Ko-Fi so that it was our official goal tracker. Ko-Fi donations got updated on it immediately, subscription donations got added in when their payments cleared. That way there was full transparency on what the goal was and how we were doing.
I never expected that not only would we hit that goal but that we'd do it in such a few short months! We moved the site over to its current location at the end of March and here we are at the end of July having hit that goal! Four months! Four months and you guys KILLED it! Did I mention that I'm crying? Because yeah, that's still kinda happening. Good tears! Promise!
Four! Months! Y'all ROCK!
And I know some of you might be sitting there shifting uncomfortably, going "Wait, I personally didn't contribute any money. I don't think I rock in this exact circumstance." But you do, I promise! Because even free subscribers to the newsletter help. People who read the site and up its popularity in analytics help. People who follow on social media and like and comment on Instagram, or RT links to the site, or like the Facebook page all help to get the site ranking higher in searches, and found more easily by other people, and some of those people are the ones who then join and do a paid subscription or a Ko-Fi donation.
It is a big, beautiful circle of algorithm life around here so yes, everybody contributes. You're part of the TBQ Krewe and TBQ Krewe means family. Well the TBQ Krewe means I'm way too enamored of things that rhyme and which I think are funny but the second thing it means is family, I promise.
What Comes Next
There are still more expenses that come with running the site. I set the hosting costs as the first goal because, well, no host means no site. It was the most basic necessity.
The other costs aren't so basic but they do make the site work as well as it does. Not mandatory, but still on the side of beneficial more than they are on the side of "Meh, it's a nice to have." Some of these costs I've already tried to work on offsetting via paid sponsorship posts, but when you are but a baby blogger sponsorship money only gets you so far.
So I will be updating the Ko-Fi for the next goals to reflect that for those who want to help. These will cover costs like the graphics program I use and various forms of administrative and social media automation (a huge help to me as someone with a disability).
Ko-Fi itself has also said that it's going to roll out new features for free users like myself, which may in turn result in more options for donations and possibly even rewards for those who do donate. And, depending on how popular Ko-Fi becomes as a method of donation, I may upgrade the account to Gold to unlock even more of those features for me and donors both.
But for now let us bask! The goal was hit and that is amazing! Party time!
That's all for now! If you're looking for good next steps you might want to head on over and follow me on Instagram if you haven't already, since we're getting ready to do a special treat once we're firmly past the 200 follower milestone. (Keep your eye on the Instagram stories for more about that.)
And, of course, as always if you'd like to support the site you can do so by getting yourself a paid subscription if you haven't already, or donating via Ko-Fi at any time.
Thank you so much, again. Literally could not do it without you. Big hugs all around. XOXO and all that.
No you have something in your eye.