Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Jan. 31
Voice of San Diego's trek to 5,000 members longer than expected
On April 2012, Scott Lewis CEO for the non-profit investigative news organization Voice of San Diego announced the non-profit's shift to a membership-based business model.
"Over the past 12 months, more than 1,000 different people donated to Voice of San Diego at various giving levels," read Lewis's announcement. "They’re now the founding members of a new community and they’ll start receiving the benefits of the Raise Your Voice program immediately."
The CEO had high hopes for the new membership drive; looking back maybe a little too high.
"We're on a quest to recruit 5,000 members by the end of the year to ensure we're as independent, strong and feisty as we need to be to pursue this mission effectively," wrote Lewis.
Now, seven months after the April announcement, the non-profit has cut that goal of 5,000 members by 70 percent, to 1,500.
As of October 31, the online news site had 1,316 members, 184 short of the revised goal.
But Voice of San Diego's vice president Mary Brown isn't worried. In an email, Brown explained the realities of recruiting new members and the time it takes to do so.
"[W]e still have a long term goal to reach 5,000 [plus] members but once we launched the program and started tracking our conversion and retention rate, we determined a more realistic goal for the end of year would be 1,500 - which was the estimated number of members needed for us to reach our membership revenue goal."
The goal, explains Brown, is to raise revenue and the non-profit is doing just that.
"We expect to surpass our revenue goal even without hitting 1,500 members because our existing members are generously giving several times a year. These members sometimes go on to become major donors and community partners/sponsors so this group feeds into other revenue streams as well.
"Since launching the program in April, we've seen about a 5 [percent] increase in current members each month. Keep in mind, that December is usually one of our biggest months because of our year-end campaign so we expect to finish strong."
"It may take longer to get to 5,000 than we hoped, but when we get there, it will be with a community of highly engaged and committed members who understand the importance of supporting quality journalism."
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- UCSD exec, ex-politician each receiving annual $5,000 from La Jolla non-profit — April 26, 2013
- 2011 Tax Forms Show a Shortage of Revenues and Increased Expenses At Voice of San Diego — Aug. 17, 2012
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- Layoffs at Voice of San Diego — Dec. 9, 2011