I'm so pleased with the fundraising so far, for the SLF's founding sponsor Kickstarter on Drip. Tomorrow we'll be closing the founding sponsor part down, making a list of rewards to be sent out, etc. So I wanted to take a little time today to talk about where we are, where we're going.
In this month of fundraising, we've raised about $1200 in annual pledges (mostly in the form of $1/month donations). That is tremendous. That means that the Diversity Grants ($500 to the best work by a diverse author, $500 to the best work portraying a diverse universe) are now funded indefinitely going forward.
That is such a huge weight off my mind, I can't tell you. It means I can stop thinking about how I need to do a big ask every year, which is very time-consuming for me, to make sure that we get the thousand dollars we need. It's like a rock has rolled off my back, and it's thanks to our donors.
THANK YOU. And congratulations on making SF just a little better, more diverse, more welcoming to writers from all backgrounds, including the most marginalized and disenfranchised among us.
That's the first $1000. But in a lot of ways, I'm even more excited about the other $200 / year, which I'm hoping will continue to grow. That money is going to go to pay for a little staff work. At this time of year, I'm getting lots of annual reports from organizations Kevin and I support financially, and one of the things they highlight is what percentage of their fundraising goes to programming, and that's a good thing. It *should* mostly go to programming.
But you will forgive me reaching back to the Bible teaching of my childhood, I hope, because I have always appreciated these verses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and, "The worker is worthy of his wages."
There is only so long that an organization can run on volunteer labor (the SLF has been running on entirely volunteer labor since 2004 -- thirteen years), and there is SO MUCH MORE that we could do, if we had a little dedicated and paid staff. I think it's reasonable to have administrative costs at around 10% for a non-profit organization, and while we're very far from that right now (more like .01%), aiming to get the SLF on a stable administrative footing, with some part-time staff, being paid a fair living wage, is a dream that I think will serve us all in the long run.
So moving forward, the Drip will continue to drip (although just 21 more hours to join us as a founding sponsor! your name forever in starry lights on our website!), and for the next little while, we're going to focus on capacity-building and sustainability. And then in 2018, hopefully, we can start building some new programming too.
We ran a pilot mentorship program a few years back that went really well, pairing established writers with newbies; I'd love to see that return, personally. I want to reprise the SLF summer workshop in Chicago, possibly offering a few different sessions of it. I want to continue the new Deep Dish SF/F reading series here, hopefully expanding it from quarterly to bimonthly, and maybe monthly down the road. We want to keep creating local chapters -- we have a St. Louis one now! -- so writers can find each other for that essential face-to-face contact that leads to reading series and writing workshops. There's so much that could be done, if we all came together in support.
Let's dream, together, of a brighter future.