In my 15 years of running Black Girl in Maine, only once have I ever done a Go Fund Me-style campaign, and that was a few years into blogging, when my laptop unexpectedly died.
However, life recently has thrown enough curveballs at me—namely in the form of my health—that I realized that pride cometh before the fall.
Since 2008, Black Girl in Maine 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 BGIM Media staff writer, and while he’s not as regular a fixture here now, you still see him periodically as a contributor.
While I am based in Maine, my readership spans across the nation and has been known to attract the attention of media beyond the United States at times. 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 rather than actual solidity.
I have committed to not putting our work behind a paywall, despite the fact that I’ve had to consider that option and might at some future point still need to consider it. But I’m holding the line for now, instead using the patron and tip model. Which is really a roller coaster, by the way. 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 to keep things afloat, but I just can’t do that at this moment. Not without taking on even more work to ensure those loans can be paid back—and well, that is a stress that I don’t need at the moment.
Everyone who is a part of BGIM Media gets paid, because while they may support the mission of BGIM Media, they are also fond of eating regularly and paying their bills. We also have regular expenses, including the accountant who is currently working on our taxes, who will no doubt give me the bad news that I have to write a check to the US Treasury.
Right now, I am working with a skeleton crew, and until recently had essentially been working seven days a week between running BGIM Media, consulting, and my actual day job as a non-profit executive director—which itself is a financially precarious position for a 50-year-old divorced woman with no virtually retirement plan or family wealth.
My latest health scare resulted in yet another trip to the ER, and the realization that I need to reduce my stress levels on a permanent basis. There I was thinking those heart palpitations were the issue—instead it was a BP reading that was dangerously close to being a hypertensive emergency that could have done me in.
In the short term, to get back on track with my health and better manage my stress, that has meant making the painful decision to postpone several projects, despite the financial hit that will mean. Unfortunately, this is coinciding with BGIM Media’s typical spring drop in financial support. For years now, April until late Summer is when people cancel their support and rarely are there any tips coming in. Normally, I would weather this storm by picking up an extra project, but with a heavy workload until mid-June at my day job where we are severely understaffed, I just can’t do it and maintain any semblance of reducing my stress. I would prefer to not need another trip to the ER—insurance barely covers any of the cost of those ambulance rides and the ride on the fireboat to get from the island to the ambulance.
I have projected an $8,000 shortfall over the next several months and that is what I am looking to raise—enough to keep operations flowing and the writing going without creating any undue stress. And, you know, which will hopefully allow me to catch my breath and be in a position to do more and do better over the long run.
In a world filled with so many needs, many far more pressing than this, this is a hard ask. But on any given week, thousands of people are engaging with my work (according to Blackgirlinmaine FB stats alone, in the last 28 days, our posts reached 54,000 people and 17,000 people engaged with our posts). Given that we are on multiple social media platforms as well as on an actual website, a lot of people are engaging with my work. 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. If half the people who engaged with our work on FB alone could kick in a very modest amount—well, the shortfall would be quickly covered.
I had planned to set up a Go Fund Me but, for ease of use, I am using PayPal fundraisers, so if you can, please help me close the gap and breathe a little easier.
Thank you for your consideration and support,
Shay aka BGIM Media P.S.: Monthly patronage is still very much appreciated, but right now, our patronage level is not keeping pace with our expenses.
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