ELi is in the midst of its 2018 Sustainability Campaign, the goal of which is to raise a $100,000 commitment from our readers by January 31 to support our work throughout 2018. Raising a commitment of this level will make it possible for us to focus on doing what you expect of us—bringing local, high-quality, accurate, nonpartisan news that matters.
You can see the current status of our campaign above. If you want to contribute, it’s easy.
If you want us to send you a stamped, addressed envelope so you can easily mail us a check, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch this video or read below to learn more:
Why do a “Sustain or Bust” campaign? Last year we ran our first Sustainability Campaign, and because our readers came through for us on our goal for 2017, it meant a dramatically different year for us. Instead of constantly having to stop to fundraise, we have been able to dedicate our efforts to our core mission throughout 2017.
Good thing, too—because what a year it has turned out to be for East Lansing. The School Bond millage, the Council campaign, the income tax ballot proposal, the Park District and Center City District redevelopment deals, the farmers’ market lawsuit, proposed changes in marijuana laws, zoning, and on and on. Phew.
In 2017, we were the only investigative news organization consistently covering these stories for East Lansing. We were also the only organization consistently covering School Board and City Council.
Some other news organizations dipped in here and there—often relying our work, which is okay with us if it means they get the facts right—but we were the only news organization working this hard to dig deep for the people of East Lansing.
That’s going to be true in 2018, too, if we make it to our goal.
You know what else? We don’t just cover the “big” stories you’ll see at some other local news sites. We work hard to provide you so much East Lansing news about which you’d never otherwise know—in 2017, news about changes in ELPS leadership and plans for the new elementary schools; news about changes in ELPD leadership and local policing policies and tactics; news about BWL, including the franchise fee, the tree-cutting controversy, the change in our governmental representation; news about laws passed by Council that may affect your rights and your wallet.
Throughout 2017, we answered reader questions about actions by Planning Commission, cutting down of trees in public parks, the income tax proposal, tax increment financing, our public library’s status, campaign finance, the Aquatic Center’s finances, and so much more. We used the Freedom of Information Act to get data and documents otherwise not made public. We showed you our sources and took your questions to government officials to get answers.
We expect you saw the difference our 2017 Sustainability Campaign made. The depth, breath, and quality of ELi’s reporting all increased. Our readership expanded significantly.
And that is part of the reason our costs are up—because our reader numbers and our readers’ expectations are up, too. For 2018, we will need adequate funds to pay editors and reporters, technical managers and accountants. We need more funds in part because Facebook is charging us more to push news out to our users who access our material that way (which is the majority of our readers—so we have no choice). In 2018, we will also need to do a major upgrade our website’s software to keep our site stable, secure, and accessible. Maintaining our searchable archives takes money.
That’s why we need to raise a financial commitment of $100,000 by January 31, 2018. This means we need lump-sum contributions and monthly “subscription” donation commitments that will add up to $100,000 for 2018.
In 2018, if we can continue this public service through adequate financial support, then we can keep bringing the kind of deep local news sought by the people who live, work, and play in this city. We can also provide another Summer Youth Journalism Program and provide more in-depth training for local people interested in providing public service news with us.
We won’t waste your money and we won’t waste your time. We’ll just do the public service you want us to do: bringing local, accurate, nonpartisan, timely news that matters.