If you want your business to succeed, you have to have something to sell and people to buy it. It has to make you a profit that provides for your needs, and maybe even for your wants.
When we started, we thought we had a good product in the idea of On Pasture. We’d surveyed folks and the responses had come back saying resoundingly, “Yes! We would love a publication that would translate science and experience into practices we can use!” We also had a core group of folks who said they’d help with articles and support. So we decided “Great! Let’s go for it!”
Admittedly, our business plan was not well developed. We started with “If you write it, they will come” thinking that as On Pasture proved itself with great information and a growing readership, we could take the next steps of asking readers to support the weekly publication, and then of attracting Underwriters and Advertisers.
Our business model was also founded on the idea that we’d have the time to reach out and build up a donor base. Not to play the chemo card, but Rachel’s illness single handedly derailed that plan, leaving Kathy to struggle to write and publish articles through Rachel’s surgeries and chemo. Rachel is lucky, and doing fine, but it set us back a lot in building the business side of On Pasture.
Our supportive spouses gave us the time and freedom to write and publish a free magazine for farmers. And they will let us keep trying for as long as we think it makes sense. But at some point, if we can’t demonstrate that On Pasture can support itself, it stops making sense.
And so, Wednesday evening, just two days into our Fall Fund Drive, it stopped making sense. Our first day was ok. Ten people sent support at the level that would get them the book from author Shannon Hayes. Another half-dozen or so sent us $12 each. And then Wednesday morning we got 2 book level supporters and 1 $12 supporter. Thursday? Nothing. And just one more book level supporter since.
We were hoping for one in 10 readers. Adding up the number of readers for Tuesday and Wednesday, 1 in 10 would have been about 450 readers. Instead we got 20. That’s a message.
We’ve gotten lots of other messages too over the two and a half years we’ve been doing this. All of them say how much folks appreciate On Pasture and all the effort we’ve put into it. And we got monetary support too, and we are so grateful to readers, advertisers and underwriters who told us that they valued On Pasture by opening their pocket books and sending some support. Thank you so much!
Now we just need a clear message from you, our On Pasture Community. So this is how we’re asking you to tell us what to do:
We’re going to continue our Fall Fund Drive, but now we’re going to run it the way that folks on Kickstarter do for community funded projects. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, here are their rules: You tell people what you need to do your project. Folks send in support. If enough folks send in money to meet the goal by the deadline, then the person doing the project gets the money to go forward. But if the goal doesn’t get met, all the money is returned and the project isn’t completed.
So here’s what we need. If we don’t hit our target, no checks will be cashed, and any donations made via PayPal will be returned. We’ll know what you want, and we’ll respect your answer, no matter what it is. Really, no harm no foul, no hard feelings if you tell us, “Gals, we enjoy you, but we just can’t afford you.”
Here’s what we need every year:
This is just a bare bones minimum.
Here’s what we’ve brought in over the last two years thanks to our readers, underwriters and advertisers:
Here’s what we need for the rest of the year:
We’ve applied for a NatGLC grant which would drop that number by about $7,000. We have our fingers crossed!
November 23, 2015
That’s the Monday of Thanksgiving Week. It’s a week for being thankful, and no matter how this turns out, we are grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to share time with you.
If we get more than our goal, that’s that much less we’ll have to look for during our Spring Fund Drive!
If you can help, great! Head on over to our Fall Fund Drive page and choose a level of support that works for you. If you can’t help, but you’re a member of an organization that benefits from On Pasture, suggest they become an underwriter. Organizations and companies interested in underwriting On Pasture can also contact Rachel and she’ll work out an underwriting package that fits their needs. Or, if you tell us who to contact, we’ll be happy to make the calls. Finally, if you have other suggestions about how to make things work for everyone, do let us know.
If we raise the funds we need, we’ll let you know on Tuesday, November 24, and then we’ll mail out all the books and bumper stickers. If we don’t meet our goal, we’ll be sending out refunds instead, either via PayPal or by returning your checks. And please know that no matter how this works out, we are so glad we’ve done this, and we’re so happy to have met you all through On Pasture. We’ve learned a lot and we hope you have too!