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Publisher's blog

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Kim Elliott joined rabble in 2004 and became publisher in 2006. In her publisher's blog she'll explore the world of independent media, discussing both challenges and stories from the frontlines at rabble.ca.

Why we ask you for money (and where it goes)

| February 13, 2013
Why we ask you for money (and where it goes)

Dear friends of rabble:

We are coming to the end of our winter donation drive, and so I wanted to explain more why we ask for your support and how we fund rabble.ca.

On April 11, 2013 rabble.ca will celebrate its 12th birthday. In other words, a dozen years of producing and providing “news for the rest of us” in the most accessible way we can.

Thank you to all the individuals and organizations that have kept us alive and growing.

We believe that media democracy means strengthening independent news institutions who are not beholden to corporate or government investors. We believe that media democracy means that media is accessible regardless of financial means. For almost 12 years rabble has done just that. We have never charged to access any of the content on our site.  We have no corporate sponsor or major foundation or government support.

There is a growing movement in news organizations to establish “pay walls” where a fee is charged to access some or all content. Not at rabble.ca. We have what we call a “free-for all” attitude.  No mandatory fee to get our content -- but donations are gladly accepted.

Our funding comes from a few major streams. One is our “Sustaining Partners,” who provide funds to rabble and receive bulk advertising and recognition on our front page. About 60 per cent of our funding comes from Sustaining Partners. The other major source is community members who become members by contributing at least $5/month and community members who make single donations to rabble.ca; this accounts for about 35 per cent of funding. In other words community support is a major chunk of change for us. 

We hold two fundraising drives a year, one is a membership drive and one a donation drive. We are often able to offer special incentives (such as magazine subscriptions) or prizes for these fundraising drives, which are usually possible due to exchanges with other independent publications.

We are always looking for ways to diversify and strengthen our fundraising base. At the same time we continue to expand our coverage and believe we are the best place to come for news on democracy movements in Canada.

Of course, none of this happens for free. Our budget of just over $250,000 a year (though we are desperate to make it more), is a pittance compared to most news agencies, and even compared to Canadian independent media. For example, the B.C. independent news site the Tyee, who we collaborate with, has an annual budget over twice that of rabble.ca’s.

We are a non-profit, but to remain politically independent we can’t have charitable status. We aren’t required to make our annual report public, but in the spirit of transparency and out of respect to our donors, we not only share our annual report online but we provide a very comprehensive year-in-review, setting a standard for the industry.

If you are a regular visitor to rabble and support the idea of making independent media accessible to all, please support us to the best of your means.  $10? We will gladly accept it. $150. Sounds good.

Thank you visiting and supporting rabble.ca.

Kim Elliott,
Publisher

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