Today we’re kicking off our fall subscriber drive. The Urbanist was founded as an all-volunteer organization and has operated that way for most of our five-year history. Despite a proud list of accomplishments, it’s become more and more apparent that we need paid staff. To that end, we’re working on raising revenue and our biggest source is reader subscriptions. During this drive, we’ll try to illustrate the value we add and hope you become a monthly donor–or if you’re already donating–consider increasing that dollar amount.
Moving toward Paid Staff
Anyone that’s followed land-use issues in Seattle is well aware of how slow progress can seem. We know the changes we want will take years and require continuous effort. In order to meet that challenge, we know we need more than volunteers. In no way should this diminish the Herculean effort of The Urbanists’ volunteers. For five years they’ve published content every day, put together regular educational programming and lobbied our electeds, all while doing organizational development to grow capacity.
But during that time we’ve also seen a lot of volunteers come and go. We’ve gone through troughs in which we don’t have the capacity to do important work. More than one person has left after burning out. Most importantly though, the ongoing survival of the organization has always seemed a little tenuous. One fewer super volunteer and we might have to close shop.
There is no way around these problems besides adding paid staff. This alone will determine whether or not the organization can become an institution that creates change over the long run.