Our 2007 Fund Drive was a success! Our goal in this fund drive was 00, and in the final tally, we raised 58. Not only did we make our goal, but we had more than 150 individual donors during this drive, which represents an amazing show of support from the community. Over the next few weeks, members of our staff will be contacting all of the donors as we start the process of sending out all of those lovely gifts and prizes. Thank you, everyone—everyone who donated, everyone who helped us publicize, everyone who has supported us all these years. We always say that we can't do this without all of you, and it's true.
While the fund drive was absolutely a success, I've been getting a lot of questions and comments from both donors and regular readers, and it seems like a good idea to address those. The fund drive didn't proceed along an entirely smooth path, after all. There were some significant mis-steps on our end, largely in terms of how we promoted and publicized it. In the seven or so years that Strange Horizons has been publishing, we've gotten pretty good at a lot of things, but we're still relative novices at the fundraising, and we're bound to make mistakes. The good news is, we're paying attention to what those mistakes are, and we have plans in place to correct them next time around.
The biggest mistake, I think, is that we didn't make it clear enough that we've changed our fundraising schedule. Since our launch in 2000, we've held fund drives twice a year. Over the last couple of years, it slowly became clear to us that semiannual fund drives were overtaxing both our donors and our staff—it really just felt like we were never doing anything other than asking for money. We decided to move to an annual schedule. One fund drive a year, held during the summer. We still needed to raise roughly the same amount of money, though. Our Fall and Spring 2006 fund drives each had a fundraising goal of $3000, so we set a goal for the 2007 drive of $6000 and collectively crossed our fingers that this would be a success.
We mentioned the schedule shift in emails to our staff and authors, and mentioned it to the people who were donating gifts and prizes, but it was only pointed out to me in the last week of the drive that we never actually mentioned it in any of the official fund-drive material here on the website. This was, obviously, a problem. Not only would the average reader (and potential donor!) not realize that this was his or her only chance to participate in a Strange Horizons fund drive this year, but it looked to the casual observer like we'd just doubled our fundraising expectations with no explanation! So if anyone out there is still confused on this point, I do apologize for the oversight. From this point on, Strange Horizons fund drives are annual, not semiannual. We'll make that more clear in the future.
There were other problems, many of them also related to communication. The fund drive was originally supposed to run throughout the month of July, but I found out in the last days of the month that some readers thought the drive was running for two months. When we extended the drive for an additional two weeks, we noted the extension in our promotional material, but didn't include a date—whether you visited our site on the first or the fourteenth of August, you saw the same message, that the fund drive had been extended for two weeks. As a result, many people didn't realize that the fund drive ended on 15 August. We've made notes of all of these problems, and we'll be working to prevent them from happening next time.
Every fund drive teaches us how to make the next one a little better. All of us here at Strange Horizons appreciate your patience as much as we appreciate your support.
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