Action Alert!

This Month, We Absolutely Must Make Our Case

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | May 12, 2011

I don’t like to—and seldom do—use the On the Culture blog to discuss finances, but I do want to make sure that everyone understands how important it is for us to have a strong showing in May. The pertinent facts are simple:

  • In the first quarter of this year, January through March, we fell $15,000 short of our budget, jeopardizing staff salaries and future growth.
  • After an upturn in April, things have been slow in May. Unless things change, we’ll fall behind by another $11,000.
  • The Summer months, June through August, are typically slow in terms of revenue. That’s vacation time for most people.
  • While we are developing an eBook publishing system for our materials, we cannot expect it to be fully implemented and generating revenue until September.
  • Therefore, we need to get ahead of the curve right now, this month, May 2011.

By any measure other than financial backing, has been a stellar success. Again, here are the relevant facts:

  • We serve well over two million unique users each year in over 200 countries and world regions.
  • Our Catholic World News service is the top online Catholic service in the field. CWN stories are picked up around the Internet, and even the Associated Press sometimes follows our lead on Catholic news.
  • The range of materials we provide—news, commentary, extensive resources for living the liturgical year, a huge library of Church documents and outstanding Catholic articles, and reviews of other Catholic resources on the web—is truly astonishing. Nothing else even comes close.
  • The costs of what we do, at well under $400,000 per year, is so low as to be essentially unheard of elsewhere. No similarly significant Catholic information provider has a budget remotely as small.

There are intangibles, too, which I think are worth mentioning—special aspects of our service that make a significant difference. I believe these intangibles explain our worldwide appeal. As one of the writers for the site, I have to be careful here. As the saying goes, a man is a poor judge in his own case. Nonetheless, I have no doubts about our other writers, and I am convinced that as a whole possesses the following key “intangibles”:

  • Balance: It seems almost everyone has an axe to grind. They want a new Church. They want the old Church. They accept this statement of the Magisterium, but not another one. They believe everything has to be political to be relevant. They have a favorite villain who must always be blamed. They’re interested only in this or that private devotion, which they claim will be the solution to everything. Or they insist on bringing everything back to their one favorite idea. In contrast to all this, strives to bring a complete Catholic perspective to everything, with the entire mind of the Church firmly in our own minds.
  • Proven Intelligence and Insight: Let’s face it; anybody can set up a blog and start publishing to a dozen peculiar readers who share the same skewed outlook on life. But the ability to write rapidly does not ensure intelligent analysis, keen insight and staying power. No other outlet combines the breadth and depth of with consistent explanations and insights that actually shed light and make a difference to millions of people who are seeking to live Catholic.
  • Independence: Most persons and organizations publishing on a wide scale are funded by some figure or organization with particular interests at stake. These interests may be purely financial. Or they may be the interests of an organization with a separate agenda. Or again an operation may be sponsored by the hierarchy of the Church, which naturally has its own interests to protect. This is not true of We’re a lay organization. We’re a non-profit organization. And we are 100% user-supported. This independence makes a significant difference to the range of news we’re willing to cover forthrightly, and the frank and penetrating insights we can share.

Obviously I think is pretty special, or I wouldn’t be devoting all of my time to it. I think we’re also significantly different, when you look at what really matters most in Catholic publishing. Of course, in the last analysis this is up to you to decide.

In any case, we really do need a financial boost this month. I hope you’ll help by making a contribution now and, in fact, by becoming one of our regular donors, perhaps with a monthly pledge. Since I’m doing lists here, let me tell you how this works, too:

  • If you make a one-time donation, you are not asked for help again for 45 days (a little over six weeks), even in the midst of a big campaign.
  • If you make a recurring monthly donation (a monthly pledge), you are not asked for help again while your pledge is operative. We simply remind you to reconsider and adjust your pledge as needed once a year, in December.
  • If you are signed up on for any reason (usually to receive mailings), you will be asked for financial support from time to time. But there is never any obligation to donate. We hope that if you cannot contribute at any given time, you’ll say a quick prayer for our success before you hit DELETE.

Now, the unfortunate fact is that only one in one thousand people who use our resources around the world ever makes a contribution. You can see that this makes survival and growth very difficult. If even two in every thousand stepped in to help materially, we would never have to ask again. But it is tough to break through this barrier. So we need to work on all fund-raising fronts. We must increase our pool of donors, certainly, but we also need to increase the frequency with which our existing donors give as well as the amounts they allocate for our work.

Fundraising is never enjoyable for anyone, not for me, and certainly not for you. But it is necessary. depends entirely on the solidarity of its users. Thanks in advance for your vitally important help.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - May. 12, 2011 9:30 PM ET USA

    I agree with you that is very special. While I do not agree with your every idea, I appreciate the intellectual honesty in which most of the CatholicCulture writers conduct themselves. I have referred many a friend to, and will continue to do so. I also will continue to support you monthly. God Bless you guys!