Summer Pledge Drive: Qs and As

Photo by Emerson Peters on Unsplash.

Welcome to the second day of The Billfold’s week-long summer pledge drive! Every day this week, I’m going to highlight a classic Billfold article from the archives; today, it’s When Tuesday Begins to Feel Like Wednesday.

(Yes, I deliberately looked for day-of-the-week themed articles — mostly because there were too many good pieces to choose from.)

I’m also going to remind you that the four best ways to support The Billfold are:

  • Becoming a monthly Patreon contributor
  • Making a one-time-only contribution via PayPal
  • Sharing The Billfold with your friends
  • Remaining a loyal reader and/or commenter

It’s your readership and community that really keep this site going, after all — and on that note, it’s time for me to answer your pledge week questions! (I’m also going to answer some questions that you didn’t ask, just because I want you to have the answers.)

How much have we raised so far?

As of this writing, which is literally five minutes before this post goes live, we’ve earned $20 in PayPal contributions and $19 in monthly Patreon pledges. Since this pledge drive is designed to help cover expenses over the next six months — at which point we’ll have a Winter Pledge Drive and Billfold LLC birthday celebration — we should really count that as ($19*6)+20, or $134.

Can you make a cool fundraising thermometer?


Does that thermometer represent the financial goal we’re trying to reach? 

Sort of. The $6K goal would add another $1K in reader-contributed income per month between now and February, which would be great, but the truth is that I’m thinking of this pledge drive in terms of action-based goals.

What do you mean?

Here are my short-term goals for The Billfold: to increase our programming in September and to increase the money we pay our freelancers in January 2019. (I have a few longer-term goals for The Billfold as well, but we need to hit both of those milestones first.)

I also have ideal budgets for these goals, which I’ll share with you along with our current budget:

Actual budget, July
TOTAL $3,679
Taxes (25%) $920
Operating expenses and savings (10%) $368
Freelancer payments (21 pieces at $40/each) $840
Nicole payment $1,551
Ideal budget, September
TOTAL $5,662
Taxes (25%) $1,415
Operating expenses and savings (10%) $566
Freelancer payments (42 pieces at $40/each) $1,680
Nicole payment $2,000
Ideal budget, January
TOTAL $6,308
Taxes (25%) $1,577
Operating expenses and savings (10%) $631
Freelancer payments (42 pieces at $50/each) $2,100
Nicole payment $2,000

As you can see, these budgets double the number of freelance pieces we’re currently running. The budgets also bump up my take-home; I’ve currently been taking between $1,500-$1,600/month, depending on how much income we bring in, and if I double my editorial workload I’ll need to pay myself for that time. (Please note that my payment does not go up when we start paying freelancers more in January.)

However, we don’t have to hit these budgets exactly. That’s why they’re “ideal.”

What happens if we don’t hit the budgets?

They’re flexible. We don’t need exactly $5,662 per month in September to increase our programming; if the numbers are lower, we can run 35 pieces instead of 42, or we can cut my payment from $2,000 to $1,800, or I can put 7 percent into operating/savings instead of 10 percent.

There’s a lot of possibility here.

Didn’t you say you were already saving up money to increase our programming in September?

Yes! I could have put more money into the July budget, for example, but I’ve been planning and budgeting for the program increase this fall. (I’m taking home less money than I took when The Billfold LLC started, for example, to put more cash towards future programming.)

Once we go big, I want to make sure that we don’t have to go small again. This pledge drive will help me plan exactly how much programming we can do over the next six months, until we have our Winter Pledge Drive in February.

So the money I contribute now might pay for stories in October or January.


What are The Billfold’s other income sources?

Right now, The Billfold is earning income from Patreon, advertising, and occasional sponsored content posts. Plus I’m building up that savings buffer so we can continue running stories even if we have a lean month.

In other words: yes, there’s a $2K gap between our current July budget and our ideal September budget. I’m expecting to fill that gap through a variety of sources, including money I’ve already budgeted/set aside for the fall. Our pledge drive will help me plan how much money I’ll need to bring in from other sources, as well as when I might need to use our savings.

You said you were going to ask your new CPA team whether you were setting aside enough money for taxes. What did they say?

We are setting aside enough for taxes, which is great, because then I can use the rest of the money for programming and operating expenses (web hosting, paying the CPAs, etc.).

Can you share those pledge drive links again? I don’t want to scroll back up.

Of course!

  • Become a monthly Patreon contributor
  • Make a one-time-only contribution via PayPal

I have other questions!

Ask ’em in the comments! And — as always — thank you.

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.