You Guys Send Us Cards

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 4:34 pm
Alice Dreger, Publisher

I’m supposed to be packing for a work trip to D.C. that starts tomorrow, and also writing another article for ELi. But I just finished processing another bunch of checks after our visiting our post office box today, and I had to pause to observe something:

You guys send us cards.

So often, when I go to our email or to our post office box, I find that not only have you sent us money to help support this public service, you’ve also bothered to enclose a handwritten note. In many cases, you send us an honest-to-goodness card.

You know what this tells me? That you get that there are real people—your neighbors—working at ELi for you. You get that this is a financially tiny operation but one that takes a huge amount of local human labor by actual humans.

Our Managing Editor Ann Nichols has been running into the same thing lately. At our editorial meeting today, she told me that she was at a holiday party in Lansing recently when someone came up to her and started exclaiming about how terrific ELi is about how he’s been meaning to commit to helping us reach sustainability because it is such an important organization to the local community.

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me, but know that I’m smiling right now. This morning, when I went to go pick up more ELi t-shirts from RetroDuck downtown, the owner, Luke Hackney, asked me how the sustainability campaign is going. I told him: we’re at about $1,300/month right now, committed by 110 donors, so we have a big way to go to reach our goal of $3,000/month by January 31. (That’s a need of $3,000/month in addition to the money people like me donate in larger lump sums, for a total of about $4,000/month.)

So we have a real fundraising distance to travel in a short time. But as I told Luke, based on my twenty years’ experience fundraising for nonprofits like ELi, I have a pretty good feeling. And that feeling comes in part from the cards and e-notes you guys are sending.

Here’s a note that came this morning from a very generous donor:

“I fear we will be losing ELi, but please know how very, very much some people appreciate your excellent efforts and enormous generosity. I’m mystified by the failure of this particular community to understand how much we need a million ELi-like sources. They sit around their tables bemoaning all the lies in the media, but won’t lift a finger to help ELi. If 15,000 people monthly are viewing ELi, if just half of them gave a very small monthly donation of $4 (!!) we could keep it going. They spend far more than that at coffee bars. Their complacency is inexplicable to me. I don’t know how you bear the frustration.”

Here’s what I wrote back to her:

“A LOT more people are stepping up. I do think we are going to make it—we will push really hard and have other folks who are supporters like you pushing hard among their circles…. As for how I bear the frustration, some days I do get really frustrated! But on many days, a note like yours makes me really much less frustrated because I feel like you really get it. I’m not kidding or just saying that—people like you really keep us going when our energy sags. So thank you.”

Seriously, thanks, you guys. The emotional support matters more than I can really say.


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