Thursday, September 17, 2009


I don't usually talk much about my day job here at KN@PPSTER, and when we run a fundraiser over there I usually give it at most a mention here. This one's a bit different and I figure it's a "hit hard, everywhere" situation. So:

Dear readers,

Over the years, we've tried various approaches to fundraising, from quarterly fundraisers with daily "hard sell" pitches to low-key continuous efforts to "subscribing contributor" drives.

We've never met the revenue goal that constitutes "success" in our plan, and have often failed to reach even the more modest goals we've treated as stepping stones toward that milestone.

Another thing we've never done is played the "going out of business" card. Coming up on seven years now, we've kept on plugging, putting RRND and FND up on the web and/or in your mailbox every non-holiday weekday (with the exception of a pre-announced one-week vacation in 2008).

We've done that through months when our gross revenues came to $6. We've done it when I spent two days in emergency rooms, CAT scan machines, etc. thinking I'd had a stroke. We've done it when Steve Trinward was in the hospital after a car crash. We've done it when one or more of our editors were forced offline by storms or power outages. We've done it. Every day.

Folks, I'm playing that "going out of business" card now.

Like everyone else, we've got bills to pay and stomachs to fill. I haven't consulted my fellow editors concerning their personal financial situations at the moment, but I can speak to my own and I can rationally speculate that there are things they'd like, or even need, to do but haven't done because the money hasn't been there.

I have roughly $2500 in personal expenditures that can't be put off any longer (a 50-foot oak tree that has to be cut down unless I want to pay a fine too, and dental work that I'm in the middle of and can't leave unfinished unless I'm willing to go back to living in excruciating pain and looking like a creature out of a cheap horror flick). Based on the percentage of RRND/FND revenues that go to me, that means a $7,000 fundraiser, and it means raising that money in a timely manner.

Based on our web, email and social network readership, $7,000 comes to about $1 per RRND/FND reader. Since this will be the last fundraiser of the year, that breaks down to about 30 cents per reader per month, or about a penny and a half per reader per edition of the newsletter.

If the freedom movement's daily newspaper isn't worth a penny and a half per edition to its readers, then, well, the market has rendered a verdict either on the value of the newsletter or on my marketing skills. Either way, it comes down to me finding other things to do with my time -- things that bring in the money to get trees cut down, teeth fixed, etc.

Will RRND/FND blink out of existence on October 1st if we don't make our goal? No. But unless we receive a substantial infusion of money in the next two weeks, I will go to my fellow editors and propose that we start winding it down, with an eye toward ceasing publication at the end of the year.

So, there it is. Value for value, make or break. Click the "widget" in this article or in the site's sidebar to make it happen, or email me at thomaslknapp at rationalreview dot com if you'd like information on how to send a check, money order, stack of Federal Reserve Notes, etc.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review

PS: To the 200-odd readers who have financially supported RRND/FND in the past -- in large or small amounts, frequently, regularly or occasionally, THANK YOU. As always, this fundraiser is aimed not at you but at the 6,700+ readers who have yet to return value for value.

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