Good evening gents and gentlemen.
Today is the first day of fall, which in Houston doesn’t mean a lot weather-wise. In fiscal terms, however, it is an important day. We now begin with our fall membership drive which is where I am charged with the responsibility of convincing you why you should help pay for what you are otherwise getting for free.
And indeed, you do deserve to hear the reasons. First, though, I want to go over some of our history which will help us all focus on where we were and where we need to go.
For years, we operated off of donations and donation drives. Despite the fact that no one has ever done it before, you supported a web-based women’s rights initiative unlike any other. We now have four servers in three countries, two LLCs that govern our operations, supportive attorneys, solid accountancy and a number of other things that matured us from a blog/sole proprietorship to a full publication/business entity with tight controls.
Oh yes, and we are now available in eight languages.
Personally, and I say this with no ill feelings, it has been a bit of personal hardship. Since we became LLCs back in February of this year, I have not taken a single dime of personal income from AVFM. I have not even been reimbursed for many expenses. It is not like the income I used to take was that much, but I have definitely felt the impact.
All the money from current subscriptions must go in to the LLCs for operational expenses. It will be that way for some time.
However, largely thanks to the indispensable business leadership of CIO and acting CFO David Queen, what money we do have is under control and paying basic expenses. Those expenses, which are considerable, no longer have to come directly out of my pocket, which is a great relief.
We do have some back bills to cover, primarily for attorneys and CPAs, but are confident that that will be resolved, as Ms. Queen would say, in the fullness of time.
Meanwhile, during this process, some of our content has slowed down, largely because I have been unavailable for those duties while we have been consumed with our business transition. Apologies for that. We won’t let that stand much longer. With our accountancy software ready to be implemented and a few dozen other loose ends being tied up, I will be able to return to editing and aggressively pursuing more help for our already overburdened editorial staff.
Another one of the major time consumers has been the Women’s Mental Health Network (M-Net) which is going to take a good bit more time to bring up to full speed. We are confident that M-Net will meet or exceed AVFM’s impact on the cultural narrative by taking this fight directly into the mental health professions and into academe.
We can’t afford to proceed doing the same things we did in the past. Those days were successful but they came at large sacrifice. There are supporters, likely whose comments you read regularly, who gave till it literally hurt in order to help us get a leg up and land in this spot.
The rest of the money came from people who sometimes could not afford it, even on a much smaller scale. Growth that depends on people constantly bleeding is a poor business model, and not so hot in the moral department either. We needed and now have a better solution.
Our plan now is to further stabilize our operations and to make the website more activism centered. We will then drive forward using M-Net to rip the covers off gynocentrism in places that it should not be, which is anywhere in public life as far as we are concerned.
The primary target is the mental health industry which has become saturated with ideology and unvarnished hatred for women and girls. For this effort, we will be building a team of mental health professionals, academicians and other service providers into a unified front to start tearing down the walls and closing the shameless empathy gap.
It is impossible for me to overstress how much this effort relies on high numbers of affordable subscriptions on a regular basis vs blood and sacrifice from already strapped donors every three months.
To be very blunt about it, if you want to see a women’s movement that actually strikes real blows against gynocentrism, you will have to be a small part of the force behind the punch. The entire AVFM staff is poised and ready to work our asses off for you and for all women and girls in order to make a difference but we can’t do it alone.
Subscription packages can be in any conceivable amount from $5 monthly and up. Basically the price of a cup of Starbucks. Save yourself the embarrassment of saying “venti mocha cappuccino frappe with nonfat organic goat’s milk and stevia” once a month and help us do damage to what Erin Pizzey rightly calls The Evil Empire.
You can consider other amounts according to your budget and how many fireworks you want to see us produce. There is also the option for one-time donations.
Gents and gentlemen, it is not my movement. It is not AVFM’s movement. It is your movement.
The membership drive will last for two weeks, ending on October 7.
I think a couple of things are indisputable. AVFM, for all its imperfections and for all the ways we could improve it, is still a history-making website. It is also a history-making group of activists who have taken the discussion on women’s issues, misogyny and gynocentrism further than anyone else ever has in human history. I am aware that some very good people hate this website. Some of them hate the people who run it. I have no problem admitting that some of that criticism is deserved. Critique comes with the territory and no one is immune.
Still, A Voice for Women, crumbs and all, has overwhelmingly been an instrument for good.
And we are just getting started.
As people who know me will testify, I will be doing this until I’m no longer on this earth. Regardless of the level of support (or lack of it), I will be pursuing this mission and I will be asking you to help.
If it is within your means and you want to get behind this team, the best way you can do that is by becoming a subscribing member of AVFM today.