The Post Where I Ask For Help

Pittsburgh's Charlie Brown Tree
I feel exactly like this little tree from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Image property of Charles Schultz

Saturday evening, we had dinner at Eat n Park with our niblings, ages 12 and 8. Elijah, the 8-year-old, was talking to me about our house; the boys were coming to visit our kittens after dinner. He looked at me thoughtfully and said “What do you do for work, Aunt Sue?”

I told him I was a writer and a social worker. He nodded and said “Oh that explains everything like why you live in such a small house. No one pays you for that work.” 
My jaw hit the floor, before joining all of the adults who had burst out laughing. He wasn’t wrong.

Opening the call for ideas …

I had planned to enter the holiday season with a clear plate – no fundraising, no projects, no drives – for my own peace of mind. I’ve been successful in mostly promoting other worthwhile projects and refraining from the temptation to get more involved. That’s been good for my state of mind, but unfortunately things have changed.

I need to fundraise to sustain several art/blog projects as I wrap up my time with Persad Center as my fiscal sponsor.  The reasons why are somewhat self-evident, but mainly involve my needing to scale back my affiliations with Persad to focus on my role as a client. I have a long-term plan to establish a new fiscal conduit with the input of several well-informed and credible community advisors. That will take at least six months to organize.

What I lack is a short-term fundraising option. I’ve had a ton of meetings and ideas, but nothing has panned out as a concrete way to raise funds.

I have two optimal choices.

First, a national LGBTQ nonprofit has offered to serve as a one-time pass thru for a $5,000 donation. The trick is that I have to raise the $5000 in a short amount of time. But there are very few options to do so. I do not know of anyone affluent enough to make a $5000 donation or five people to donate $1,000.

Second, I can fundraise directly as an individual artist. This would require a lot of time and energy to organize fundraising events and projects while still honoring my existing projects and doing the work to establish the new long-term strategy. I don’t envy the idea of crowdfunding like that.

In the interests of transparency, I wanted to share with you some of the ideas<

First, a series of live blog readings in the form of house parties to highlight our work over the past 14 years. This would require admission by donation, 50/50s, volunteer readers, etc. I love the idea of blog readings and would find this a terrific pursuit so if you are interested in hosting something like this, please let me know.

Second, an online option to “buy” a byte block on the website for a direct donation. To make this happen (we have a very very cool idea), we need someone familiar with relational DBs, APIs, and running tasks in Lambda to help.  If you happen to be that person, please email me pghlesbian at gmail.

Third, well, there is no third right now beyond asking individual donors for significant donations to reach the $5000 threshhold.

So I’m sort of stuck in this in-between place. We have projects underway that can be sort of ‘iced’ for the six months or so if necessary, but that’s a less than optimal outcome. We won’t discontinue or stop any particular projects, but we can’t actively nuture them along.

In the meantime, I am pursuing some other projects and of course will continue blogging. We may have a period of time while we are shifting focus away from the art projects toward more bread and butter blogging, but I promise we have a good team of knowledgeable folks working on the long-term strategy.

I realize finding a coder with free time on their hands or anyone with $5,000 to contribute is highly unlikely, but just being able to raise the need hopefully illustrates that I have been working very hard to develop viable strategies.

In closing, the other option is to hire me either for a gig or a ST position as a social media content creator/manager. I use my personal resources to fund most of this work anyway so that would be a reasonable fallback strategy. I actually very much enjoy creating social media content for small businesses. And I’m also willing to work in trade upon occasion.

If you want to chip-in after reading this, here are our usual tools:

Make a monthly donation via Patreon!


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