Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Can Help Save Elephant Journal

elephant grassroots network member subscribe

As some of you may know (or not), I am an occasional contributor to Elephant Journal, a very cool online magazine filled with lots of good stuff ranging from eco-green to spiritual to funny. The Elephant began as a print magazine, but has since made the switch to the online only publishing platform that allows daily updates and a wide range of authors spread around the country.

But they need some help to survive - and not be indebted to advertisers for their survival. Waylon Lewis, our fearless editor, has issued a cry for help.

The plan: we’re not asking for donations. We’re not a non-profit. We’re in this business not only to “spread the good word beyond our core or choir and to the masses, who didn’t know they gave a care”…but to inspire the business world, by proving once again (as we did with elephant magazine) that it’s possible to do well while doing some good.

Additionally, it’s my goal to start paying our writers, and so provide a decent living for the hundreds of quality journalists who find themselves out of work as the tectonic plates of our fourth estate—the business and art of media—shift, for better and for worse. Paying our writers, of course, will have the added benefit of providing better researched, higher quality and more original content that is not beholden to our advertising support.

Over the next year, I hope to shift our dependence on advertising to the one person who can save elephant: you. We’re not asking for a lot: $9/month. That’s $108/year, a lucky number in the Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

But don’t get out your credit card yet. Here’s what we’re offering, in return:

1. a la the million pixel web site, or say the donor plaque at your local library, we’ll feature your name on our home page, and just about every page of our web site. If you pay at a higher level, your name/business name and link are bigger (advertisers often pay $50-$500 for a link on a single page—we’re offering a link on just about every page of our site [1,000's in total]). If you pay at the highest level, you’ll get your business or personal name or logo, with link, in a big font, and in rather exclusive company. We anticipate that our highest tier will host only say 5 linked names, mostly of businesses like prAna, Evol, New Belgium and the like).

elephant save

And then there will be a fourth tier: Community/Kula/Sangha Leaders: those who have magnetized three friends to join as Community Members.

So that’s it. Simple. If we get about $10,000 bucks in for each month, we’ll be able to free ourselves of advertising, not that it’s really been there for us of late, and begin to really speak truth to power. We’ll be sustainable, as a business—walking our green-minded talk. We’ll be able to focus our hours on more quality editorial, and we’ll be able to pay our writers for their work, instead of charming/cajoling/begging them to work their craft without making a livelihood in return. Our Walk the Talk Show will be able to tour college campuses and yoga studios (and make money doing so: we already are featured enlightainment at Telluride Yoga Fest, LOHAS, Bioneers, Earth Day, Slow Money*, Wanderlust*—all expenses paid).

Basically speaking, we’ll be able to begin to finally effect the larger cultural dialogue, as I have up to now only been able to do on occasion in the occasional featured articles on the home page of Huffington Post. And god knows the world needs a first-tier, successful and independent-of-advertisers media company that can reach the masses, and (like the Daily Show, or Oprah, or the New Yorker, or Dwell etc etc) be available to millions of citizens everywhere—not just our choir.

Click here if you’d like to support. This campaign will go for end June 1, for 39 more days (we’ve already pulled in $1,500 since we soft-launched this 10 days ago). A month and a half to go. If, at the end of that time, we’re breaking even, we’ll keep going. If, at the end of that time, we’re well shy of our goal—$10,000 a month—then that’s genuine feedback that what we do is nice, but not necessary. And I’ll go get a real job.

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