Setting MyDD Up for 2008 - Updated: 96 Donors, $8,486.29

So one thing about all of us MyDDers is that we're all really bad about asking for money, even when we need it.  Towards the end of this cycle, many of you supported me and Chris traveling to Connecticut and New York state, respectively, to cover races and candidates in more depth.  You supported us when we do polls, when we engage on projects.  You make calls, you leave comments, you feed us information.  The front-pagers here spend huge amounts of time working on politics and writing, but the reality is that we are nothing without all of you.

We're ready to go, and make huge strides again.  And we're asking you for $10000 to do it. Hopefully we can get 100 donors to each give $100.  There are a lot of projects we want to explore this Presidential year.  We're starting to use video, and we're going to work on helping more primary challenges, and we're going to continue with our party building activites.  There's a lot more that we can do this Presidential cycle, but we can't do it without resources.  

There are a lot of places you can put your money, so why should you put it here?

Well, this cycle, the gains of the netroots have been stunning.  Reach back to the moment after the 2004 election, and the losses afterwards.  At times we were completely despondent.  Had our party really lost to this corrupt banal bully?  Did the Democrats really let the Bankruptcy Bill go through?  Would Roberts and Alito really sit on the court without a fight?  Could the President openly torture and wiretap without consequence?  Would the President really let an American city populated by the poor and disposessed die, and use it as an excuse to shovel money to his friends?  Would Senator Landrieu really let it happen without a fuss?  Every day saw a new outrage, a new scandal, and a serious degradation of our political climate, and our actual climate.  This led us to ask ourselves, was this really our party, and our country?  

And the answer was a resounding 'hell yes!'.  Because within the American system there is a strain of entrepreneurial flexibility and greatness that allows leadership to emerge anywhere.  As the climate became more outrageous, we immediately got to work, though it didn't look like it at the time if you read the newspaper or watched cable news, or even listened to Democratic insiders.  We installed Howard Dean as DNC Chair.  The silent revolution of state parties began.  We stopped Bush on Social Security, working with the Senate, the House, and a strong coalition of groups.  As 2006 began, we put net neutrality on the map as an issue, raised massive amounts of money for candidates, and fought in primaries.  On August 8, we kicked Joe Lieberman out of the party and changed the national dialogue on Iraq.  We Google-bombed, local blogged, and set up recount watches and voter protection sites.  The use-it-or-lose-it campaign forced safe Democrats to pony up or look stupid.  Volunteers built campaigns that became viable.

And on November 7th, Democratic majorities won election in the House and Senate.  More than that, we persuaded the American people that the conservative agenda was an illusion based on hate and anger.  All our work paid off.  And now we move forward.

Imagine what we can do in 2008, in a Presidential cycle.  Lots of cool stuff that you'll be involved in.  If you help us pay our rent, we'll keep pushing. If you don't, well, we'll keep pushing, but we'll do it hobbled by benefactors that don't have your interests at heart.  A key principle of the progressive movement is that the truth is not cheap, but it is far less expensive in the long-run than propaganda.  Right now our media is controlled by automobile makers and beauty product marketers, because they pay for it.  Sure you'll get a kernel of truth in there along with the spin, but the basic rule is that he who pays makes the rules.  One of the most phenomenal experiences I had this cycle was in the last two weeks in Connecticut blogging, because you were paying for it.  I no longer felt beholden to anyone but you, but more than that, I wanted to do a much better job writing for you.   My livelihood wasn't dependent on the powerful people in the party with access to a consistent revenue stream.  I didn't have to be on Hillary Clinton's payroll, whether through ads or through consulting contracts.  And that's because I was on your payroll, and that changed what I wrote and how I acted.  I became more responsive to you, and not my sources or the powerful interests in the Democratic Party.  It was a very clear demonstration that he who pays sets the rules, and you set the rules.

That's what your money will go towards, infrastructure support for people who can use it to ensure that progressives are represented in the party, and that we preserve an intellectually honest arena for progressive politics.

Aside from all that, MyDD is a good piece of progressive infrastructure.  Chris and Jonathan offer better and more transparent forecasting than anyone out there, and it's free and open.  We all work on party-building, with campaigns like 'Use it or lose it', Google-bombing, Adwatch, the netroots survey, and net neutrality.  We covered Dean's election, we covered Lamont's rise, and we covered the consequences of this election, both good and bad.

So I guess what I'm saying is that we played a part in the victories of the past two years and past week, and we have ideas about how to extend and amplify what all of us have built.  If you directly support us, you'll be getting a lot of progressive bang for the buck, all on display on this blog for you to criticize and participate in.  And if you don't, that's ok too.  I hope you do give to another blogger, as I feel it's incredibly important to make what we do viable and directly responsive to the progressive base.  Lots of us have donate buttons on the side of the blog.  Or if you're a student or you just don't have the money to support us, please work in other ways to build progressive power.  All of us can work in our own ways to create a new country.  And we'll be asking for money again, for various projects and for general support of what we're doing.

Anyway, lots of us dug deep to help Democrats this cycle.  I responded to almost every ask from bloggers I read, and I gave to every netroots candidate, many of them multiple times.  Let's keep it going.

UPDATE: Ok, we've gotten 66 donors for a total of $6,727.99. In five hours. Wow. Only 34 more to hit our goal.

UPDATE, AGAIN: We're up to 96 donors at $8,486.29.

Tags: Chris Bowers, Jerome Armstrong, Jonathan Singer, Matt Stoller, MyDD (all tags)

Comments

55 Comments

Done!

$100, just like you asked.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-11-10 12:45PM | 0 recs
I'm in for $100

You all work very hard, and your analysis has been invaluable.

Want more.

One thing you might want to consider is doing an ad-free subscription option, as Dailykos does.  Like Democracy Bonds for the party infrastructure, it could aid planning to have a pool of funds readily available instead of having to fundraise for every specific project.

by boadicea 2006-11-10 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $100

I agree.  I'd rather do $10 or $20/month, which I'd never think about, rather than $50 per project and have to read & think about ask messages.

Paypal makes subscription management easy.

by aip 2006-11-10 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $100

I agree about the subscription option rather than per project donations.  I think it's easiet for most people to set aside a certain amount per month than it is to cough up larger sums at irregular intervals.

Not so sure about the ad-free option though. Doesn't that get rid of the core of the market these advertisers are targeting?  Those most loyal to the site won't see their ads. Maybe there's a better incentive?

by CranesAreFlying 2006-11-10 01:42PM | 0 recs
They would have to adapt it

to their business model.  I used that as an example because that was the choice Kos made.

And only the subscribers wouldn't see the ads (if they choose to turn them off). Casual traffic and the non-subscribing portion of the community are still a helluva lot of eyes to get on your ad.

Other sites I've been on-including a few I refuse to pay money to-link the contribution to premium content.

IOW, some content is available  for all to view, but some "special" coverage is available only to subscribers. IME, that sets up a split in your community that can be hard to overcome.

What you want is some "premium" item that adds value to the subscribers without feeling like it takes something away from everyone else.

by boadicea 2006-11-10 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: They would have to adapt it

I think your take on "premium" content is absolutely right.  It would have to be something fun or something web-feature oriented (like the aforementioned video holiday card! Or chat parties or debates or something).  The content needs to stay available to everyone.

by CranesAreFlying 2006-11-10 02:36PM | 0 recs
I've been knocking around online

communities for some time, and I've seen lots of different approaches to financial viability.

I like the Kos example because it IS so very simple. Trade subscription for a choice on viewing the ads.

The problem with "fun" features being part of the premium-like the video card or the chat feature, is that those are just the sort of items that CAN make folks who don't have the money to pony up a subscription feel left out.  

The decision needs to be driven by the mission.  For example, the Times Select product is intended to leverage information distribution, not build community. (Or, if they are trying to build community, they chose a piss poor way to go about it.)  

MyDD, though it is an information rich environment, seems to me to be more focused on community (or coalition building if "community's" too warm and fuzzy  a word for you hard nosed politicos), and Dkos is hugely informative, but the real value is the ferocious, overwhelming energy of that community.  It can be overwhelming, content-wise, but every sub-community that coalesces around a particular topic, candidate,  or set of posters leverages that energy on a very targeted basis.  You don't get that kind of lightning in a bottle often, and the ad toggle option struck me as a very measured approach to something that could divide the factions until it finally did break the community.

Which leads to another point-discuss what you're thinking of doing and get feedback. What you decide to do may not change much based on the feedback. Nonetheless, the difference between a precipitous change that divides MyDD into paying subscribers and non-subscribers and one that may have controversial aspects, but people had a chance to react to before it arrives is like night and day.

Enough free  and unsolicited advice now.

by boadicea 2006-11-10 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: I've been knocking around online

hmm... You are right about that.  There may be no way to properly reconcile business and progressive advocacy.  As a member of Z Magazine/ZNET, I've noticed they run their membership on a sliding scale and honor system basis.

by CranesAreFlying 2006-11-10 03:59PM | 0 recs
no need for premium content

Personally, I don't give a twit about premium content, or some special program for sponsors.  Just keep doing what you're doing, and make it easy for us to support you.

by aip 2006-11-10 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

I've donated...  Thanks for everything you do, I am extremely appreciative.  

by IsThisOverYet 2006-11-10 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

we're going to work on helping more primary challenges

I really really really hope you reconsider this. Why not just let the locals settle it themselves? I know this is a very different blog from Atrios, but he really has the right attitude on this. Unless you have a Lieberman situation, better to let the locals judge for themselves.

The rest of the program sounds great.

by Alice Marshall 2006-11-10 12:52PM | 0 recs
You write as if the locals

were skunked.

Local activism drove the Lamont challenge. Blogs like MyDD augmented it, but it was Nutmeggers behind the steering wheel all the way.

With a lovely moment in the romance of politics floating behind.

by boadicea 2006-11-10 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008
Ask and ye shall receive.
My $100 is on the way.
by ABQtom 2006-11-10 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Done.  Keep up the great work, guys!

-- Brent

by sfbrentb 2006-11-10 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

You guys really ain't very good at asking for money.  $10,000?  What does that buy?  A couple of video cameras?  Some server space?  A handful of trips?

It's so.... modest.

I sent in my $100.  I spend more than that on coffee per month.  I hope you get $50,000 to put to good use.

Josh

ps.  I've started my ad-hoc anti-establishment project.  When I get calls from the Democratic party, I tell them that all of my contributions are funneled through MyDD/DailyKos these days.  

I tell them that I am on their side but that you guys do a better job with my money.  And I make sure to give you (or the NetRoots candiates) the amount of money that they were asking for.

by joshuaellinger 2006-11-10 01:29PM | 0 recs
Second the motion

There is retail fundraising, and major-donor fund-raising.

Again, as I suggest below, shadow the development director at a public radio as they visit major donors. Even in lefty non-profit world, here are circles of donors where the pitch is for $10,000 each from a room of 10 people. A seed donor, friend of the others, perhaps, speaks up to endorse your project, puts his money on the line which validates your pitch, and suddenly you have a new radio transmitter or internet server or whatever.

First time it happened to me, I was blown away.... 10 years later, the guy runs for mayor of Denver and wins.

by MetaData 2006-11-10 01:48PM | 0 recs
Need A Third?

I'm in for $100 now but you might consider waiting until after the holidays but before the heavy lifting for contributions for 2008 begins to set a really hefty goal and push for it for a week and see if you can raise $50,000 for MyDD.

Also, I'd be glad to sign up in a quarterly pledge program, for say $50 a quarter, so you can count on a steady income for two years.

by Arthurkc 2006-11-10 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Need A Third?

We may do that.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-10 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Well, I kicked in my $100 as well.  This is actually more helpful than Kos and I flood my friends with links to your posts.

I hope this helps.

by sjs1959 2006-11-10 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

some other way to donate than paypal ?

by caterina 2006-11-10 01:36PM | 0 recs
I'm in for $100.

How about setting up an ongoing quarterly Infrastructure Funding Mechanism, at $25 per quarter? Does Paypal have that option? Asking for $100 here and there is fine, but you'd do better to build your base using a longer-term subscription strategy.

I recommend shadowing the development director during a fundraising drive at a community radio station. There is definitely an art to salesmanship and asking for money. Living a student or artist (or blogger) lifestyle contributes to a psychology of poverty, wherein we don't find it easy to ask for money. The secret of non-profit radio was discovering the simple fact that with thousands or tens of thousands of listeners, they could directly ask for funding, and the listeners would actually pony up.

I also suggest reading a slim little volume on sales called "Soft Selling in a Hard World". The short of it is, your "pitch" requires identifying and naming the benefits valued by your customer, rather than extolling your own features and how great you are. In other words "it's all about them, not about you."

Oh. What I value about MyDD is the intelligent discussions in the comment section, and the fact that many smart people continue to post. I feel like I really learn things every day, and it isn't just the latest gossip. Daily Kos is too large to easily go beyond a voyeur to becoming a participant, and the discussions bog down in a lot of "me-too-ism". Markos does a good job of delegating and managing the volume, but it is less intimate than MyDD.

I suggest one slight improvement in your practice.

If a post is worth putting on the front page, the author needs to follow it up in the comment section. Fewer posts, but more interaction will create a better conversation. The front-pagers are demi-gods (not real gods), and any of your readers will be flattered to interact more with the main posters. This is a secret about on-line community building, that I learned waaaaay back in the pre-Internet days of dial-up bulletin boards.

by MetaData 2006-11-10 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $100.

Interesting, thanks.  I think Firedoglake does a really good job of this.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-10 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

I'm in. 30 cents/day, keeps me up to date on the important stuff, and no trees get killed. And it gets results!

by RideDMKT 2006-11-10 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

$100--DONE!  Thanks to MyDD.

Reading about your efforts was inspiring as well as entertaining.
I see that Unions and MoveOn.Org developed Republican seats to target just after the 2004 Election.  Howard Dean (I am a Democracy Bond "holder"), Schumer, & Emanuel, BILL, Kerry, Edwards, Obama, Nancy & Harry, Netroots people, great Democratic candidates, and ordinary citizens all worked to benefit the Democratic Party-all for the benfit of the Common Good, as BILL described recently.  It does take a village to win elections!
ON TO 2008...........
 

by CLK 2006-11-10 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Sold!

That was easy.

by notacrime 2006-11-10 01:53PM | 0 recs
Building a progressive infrastructure

First, I want to say thank you to Matt, Chris, Jerome, and everyone else here at MyDD. This is my favorite blog and one that does great work.

I wish for institutional support for your efforts, a sustainable contribution so that we don't need to go looking for money. Maybe something similar to the democracy bonds that Dean setup with the DNC? Many other good blogs could benefit from it, too.

by westsyde 2006-11-10 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Just saying hi - was lurking during election but wanted to come on board.  2008!  Yes to MyDD $$.

by brian in LA 2006-11-10 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Compare

$125 / year:  Wall Street Journal, mandatory.

$ 40 / year:  The New Republic (44 measely issues) ($150 if you pay cover price), mandatory.

$350 / year:  The Cook Political Report, mandatory.

$550 / year:  The New York Times (for home delivery in the D.C. area, $6.20 / week for the first 12 weeks, $12.40 after that), mandatory.

NARAL suggests monthly donations beginning at $10 / mo. up through $78 / mo, optional.

Sierra Club Membership suggested price goes from $25 to $150, mandatory for membership.  Sierra Magazine is $25 to $150 / year, but a lifetime subscription / membership costs $1000, mandatory.

$50:  Nike Hoodie from Macy's
$50:  Nike Air Monarch 3 from Macy's
$80:  1 pair Alfani Oxford dress shoes from Macy's
$130:  Calvin Klein Horatio dress shoes

$3:  1 pint cheap beer at a bar
$6:  12 oz. bottle of decent beer at a bar
$96:  16 bottles of decent beer at a bar

MyDD's reporting, polling, commentary, analysis, research, expertise, guest bloggers, number crunching, support for local candidates, community, and links, all with direct feedback, wherever you are, whenver you want, every day, multiple times a day, with the ability to write personal diaries, and, as a small but significant bonus, a progressive Democratic majority that supports environmentalism, minority and women's rights, the Constitution, civil liberties, habeas corpus, workers, etc., without corporate donors or big money donations with strings attached, lead by a transparent leadership structure and decision-making process.  FREE.  Suggested subscription price?  $100 (under $2/week), completely, utterly optional, with full benefits and no material behind firewalls even with no donation.

Not bad.

by pseudo999 2006-11-10 02:55PM | 0 recs
Priceless....

by Arthurkc 2006-11-10 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Nice!

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-10 04:57PM | 0 recs
I knew that, Lucas

but someone else also mentioned it, along with the chat idea.

by boadicea 2006-11-10 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Man, am I ever going to miss the Kiss Float...

I'm in as soon as the rent and student loans get paid for the month.

by Karatist Preacher 2006-11-10 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

I'm in.  

MyDD has helped to make me so much more cognizant and engaged with our political world in a meaningful way...  It's really something.  It illustrates by example how this democracy thing is supposed to work and I'm a better citizen for it.

So, I'm in...  and keep it up everyone!

by absinthe 2006-11-10 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: I've been knocking around online

Ha! Yeah I recognize that!  But there's nothing wrong with not taking yourself so seriously. Funny things like that would serve to remind people of why they have donated.  Honestly, NPR sends me crap mailers all the time, and I wish they'd at least entertain me a bit with them!

by CranesAreFlying 2006-11-10 04:05PM | 0 recs
I gave $100 tonight.

Good luck with your plans.

by Eric Jaffa 2006-11-10 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: I gave $100 tonight.

Thanks, Eric.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-10 05:05PM | 0 recs
Sent you $100 thru paypal

Keep up the fabulous work

by recentdemocrat 2006-11-10 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

Right.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-10 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008

I gotta conserve my cash while I transition between jobs.  I'll getcha back later and would be happy to give monthly to you guys.

by juls 2006-11-10 04:59PM | 0 recs
Just Sent You $100 via PayPal

Will send more in the weeks to come.  I can't think of a better investment in our collective future.

by jrbergida 2006-11-10 05:14PM | 0 recs
I too would give monthly

Even small monthly payments (via Amazon micropayments?) would help sell advertising because paid circulation always commands bigger bucks than unpaid.

by stevehigh 2006-11-10 05:23PM | 0 recs
I'm in for $50 - with a request

I want federated identity with dkos, fdl, huffpo - the whole progressive blogroll.  I have so many freakin accounts it's making my head swim.  Half of my inbox is password reminders.

I could help work on it - done some ldap, lots of j2ee and LAMP work.  Lemme know.

PS: Good work.  Now what have you done for us today?

by klondike 2006-11-10 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $50 - with a request

Interesting idea... and there will be some of this in the new few years I think.

by Matt Stoller 2006-11-10 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $50 - with a request

took me five minutes to post this comment with the password retrieval ...

by klondike 2006-11-10 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $50 - with a request

lol, the programmers are reading your comments too. This is a good project, and something to work on.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-11-10 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $50 - with a request

Another route to deal with password headaches: look into the program called Roboform. There's a free version available at www.download.com (and the full-featured version is quite reasonably priced). It's a secure way to store your passwords on your local drive for retrieval. Enter them once and you don't need to remember them ever again.

If you regularly use the same few machines you might prefer the USB2GO version. That's a bit more trouble but also a viable solution.

by SLJ 2006-11-11 01:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm in for $50 - with a request

Password managers are easy enough, but I want single sign-on and the same 'identity' across the range of sites.  And for $50 I think I should be able to get whatever I want.

So get to work - all of you.

by klondike 2006-11-11 04:57PM | 0 recs
66 Donors, $6,727.99

Done.

Happy to help.  Worth every penney.

Now get out there and go after the ClintonCarville's.  They are so last century.

Jim

by NorCalJim 2006-11-10 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008 - Updated: 66 Donors,

Why don't you set up a bond type thing, similar to what Dean set up at the DNC.  Have a five dollar minimum and set some goals for yourself, like a million bucks by this time next year.  You need some money to work with and have some freedom to act.  It would take 16,666 people each pledging five dollars per month for twelve months to be put on their pre-assigned credit card each month to reach a million dollars in one year. You ought to do one million for the first year and one more million for before the 2008 election.  I don't know what the workings are for recurring credit card postings, but they shouldn't be that difficult.  As for the amount, it is better to make it small so that the person could handle it for a longer period of time.  A hundred dollars each month would eventually become a burden for most of us, but five dollars a month would be a piece of cake.  Call them 'Freedom Bonds' to go with Dean's Demoracy bond.  I would be good for five dollars a month.   This would be very effective for Act Blue.  This 'kitty' would be for contributions to candidates too. Some people might be like me in that they do not want to pick a person to give money to, but would rather give money to a kitty and trust someone to give it to the appropriate candidates.   I guess this is a pac, huh?

by Andre 2006-11-10 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Setting MyDD Up for 2008 - Updated: 66 Donors,

Adam Conner coming to Cincinnati to help blog for the defeat of Chabot = $$$ from me!

Just let me put $ in paypal first... keep that link up for a few days!

by belili 2006-11-10 08:10PM | 0 recs
Did what I could...

As a graduate student who tapped out on donations during campaign season I don't have much to spare at the moment... still, I did what little I could right now. I apologize for lowering the average donation amount!

I'd also like to put in a plug for a subscription option to hide ads. At a similar price point to dKos (as an example) I'd be in for it.

by SLJ 2006-11-11 01:50AM | 0 recs
in for $50

thats the amount I contribute without consulting my wife.  will go again in 6 months.

by msobel 2006-11-11 03:15AM | 0 recs
Sending what we can.

I've been reading over here religiously, but have just now become a member. Matt, you guys did a great job covering Lamont. Dad and I (from MLN) would like to say thanks. We're still licking our wounds from Tuesday, but taking comfort in the big picture. Thanks everyone for your enthusiastic support of the Kiss Float. We're packing it up today - but with Joe heading back to DC next week, and Dubya around for another two years, I suspect it may have to ride again . . . !!

by MomInCT 2006-11-11 04:18AM | 0 recs
I'm in for $100

by RT 2006-11-11 05:06AM | 0 recs
Help from egregiousBlue en route

Happy to help.  Looks like you're going to meet your goal.  

-------------egregious of firedoglake

by egregious 2006-11-11 10:32AM | 0 recs

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