BGIM Media needs your help: Fall support campaign

Since 2008, Black Girl in Maine Media has been a Maine-based blog and resource for anti-racism work. Over the years, we have had a number of talented writers as part of our crew, including internationally known bluesman and storyteller Samuel James. Until late last year, Samuel was a regular BGIM Media staff writer, who you now see periodically as a contributor. 

While I am based in Maine, my readership spans across the nation, and in a world where blogs have largely gone out of style, the fact that we are still here is a testament to the value of our work. 

Despite the critical success of the site, we have always operated from a place of financial hope.

I have thus far committed to not putting our work behind a paywall, instead using the patron and tip model. To be honest, this model really is a roller coaster. In lean times, when tips and patronage aren’t enough to cover the monthly expenses of BGIM Media, I supplement our expenses from my consulting practice work. I have even resorted to taking out small business loans at times to keep things afloat. Neither of those stopgap measure are feasible any longer, though, as I look ahead to my own personal future and finances.

Everyone who is a part of BGIM Media gets paid, because while they may support the mission of BGIM Media, they are fond of eating regularly and paying their bills. We also have regular expenses, including the accountant who gave me lots of bad news earlier this year, which included a sizable tax bill due to Uncle Sam, the state of Maine and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (That pesky living in one state, working in another)

Earlier this year, I had a significant enough health scare that I made the difficult decision to ask the BGIM Media community for support, and you all were generous in rallying around me. I was overwhelmed and filled with gratitude to see how quickly this community answered the call for help. While things have stabilized, I will have to manage my stress levels for the foreseeable future, which has led me to starting to reimagine my work and life. 

While I continue to serve as executive director of Community Change Inc., it is my hope in the next two to three years to transition into full-time writing, consulting, and training work. In order to get to that place, that will require changing the model of how I offer my work moving forward—since I would, in essence, be giving up my stable and meager salary with healthcare to being fully self-employed and needing to cover my own healthcare costs. 

That means that I need more people to step up and financially support this work—and, given the metrics, the numbers are there. Even with Facebook’s increasingly challenging algorithms, across both Meta platforms, my work in the last 28 days reached over 25,000 folks who actually engaged with my work. If only 10% of the people who engaged with my work actually supported it, it would be a game changer. At the moment, less than 5% of readers actually support my work in any way. That’s including the new Substack that I created, where most of my readers are unpaid subscriptions—which is fine for now, as I am testing out a new venue and type of writing. 

BGIM Media still operates with a very miniscule crew of folks on the back end, but with patron fluctuations in recent months it has been one step forward and then two backward, which means we are never quite getting ahead. And that means I have a monthly payment plan for this year’s tax bill, something I really don’t like to carry. 

Moving forward, I will be running a twice-a-year direct asking campaign to help with costs and creating cushion for the fluctuations in patrons and pledges. I currently have a tax bill of $2,957 that I am paying $111 a month on. Of course, the interest and penalties are accruing, so in the end, I am paying more than the original bill. I also need to make some back end upgrades. I have started a PayPal fundraiser with a modest goal of $5,500 to cover these costs. I am also looking to add a minimum of 50 new Patreon patrons by year’s end. I really need to see sustained patron growth long term, regardless of any general fluctuations. 

In a world filled with so many needs, many far more pressing than this, this is not an easy ask—but on any given week, thousands of people are engaging with my work and seeking anti-racism information and related articles that they can depend on. Which, given the current state of media, is increasingly harder to obtain. I believe that what I have created as Black Girl in Maine has made a difference to many, and I hope that many people will make a decision to support this request and help ensure the future of BGIM Media. There are many who write about racism, but few who also run an anti-racism organization with a rich history spanning five decades. 

Thank you for your consideration and support. – Shay, aka Black Girl In Maine 

If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Or consider bringing me to your organization or group.