In an effort to continue providing great content, programming, advocacy, and analysis, we’re going to be running a fundraising drive this week at The Urbanist. We’re calling the campaign #FundTheUrbanist.

It may come as a surprise, but all of the work we do here is completely volunteer. Overall, The Urbanist runs on a shoestring budget. We’ve only spent about $700 this year, with our biggest expense being web hosting services. We have a modest amount of revenue generated through three sources: readers donating through our website, donations from special event attendees, and a trickle of ad revenue.

This small amount of revenue is enough to keep the site running. However, this financial model poses real risks to the organization. Losing key volunteers would dramatically reduce our capacity and the quality of our work. Our ability to expand and improve the quality of what we do is also very limited.

We’re primarily fundraising because we cannot professionalize the organization and ensure its longevity without paying people to do work. Right now, we have one big goal in mind: moving towards paid staff that will do journalism and support our other activities. To make the first step, we estimate a need for $5,000 a month in recurring revenue. That’s just 1,000 of our readers committing to only $5 a month or just 250 donors at $20 a month.

One-time donations are great and if that’s all you can manage, please consider it. If you’re able though, please become a monthly donor so we have a reliable ongoing source of revenue to provide job security for staff based on projected revenue.

This money won’t change the extensive volunteer time that is spent on the site. In fact, paid staff will increase the quality and capacity of work we can do with volunteers. If you think our work is valuable and you believe in independent local media, please consider putting your money where your values are by becoming a donor.

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Donation Total: $20 Monthly

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The Urbanist was founded in 2014 to examine and influence urban policies. We believe cities provide unique opportunities for addressing many of the most challenging social, environmental, and economic problems. We serve as a resource for promoting and disseminating ideas, creating community, increasing political participation, and improving the places we live. The Board of Directors consists of six members that guide policy and decision-making of The Urbanist.