You see, as I do outreach to South Dakota and Mississippi and Florida and Louisiana...as I talk to bloggers in farflung locales and with diverse accents and backgrounds...one thing has come crystal clear: some folks will not be able to attend Yearlykos Chicago not by choice, but because they simply can't afford to, they honestly do not have the means.
Now, as I became aware of this reality I spoke with some of the best and brightest minds in the blogosphere; I reached out to organizations with impressive track records and resources. I was hoping to find a way to offer folks financial help through a known venue, an organization that might serve as our hero of last resort.
Unfortunately, here's a reality we bloggers face in 2007: we in the netroots, in the progressive blogosphere, simply do not have the financial infrastructure in place to make that happen within an organization right now, especially not within the timeframe we're facing. (Registration for Yearlykos closes on July 14th.)
Here's another reality:
There are bloggers from states whose participation at Yearlykos will make a huge difference in their own communities who will simply not attend Yearlykos if we don't find a way to help them. Now, these are self-starters. Many of these folks are holding blograisers and self-funding in innovative ways. In fact, some folks in Texas just raised $1000 to send two bloggers to Chicago. However, other states aren't blessed with a netroots community as large and diverse as Texas; other communities and bloggers have a tougher row to hoe.
In their case, the hero of last resort is us.
you can help: make a pledge
I am working with two colleagues that most of you know and trust, Howie Klein of Blue America and Vicki Cosgrove, a DFA activist from the fight to defeat Richard Pombo in CA-11. Tonight we are launching a novel fundraising drive that will continue over this weekend.
We are asking readers to make email pledges in $25 and $50 increments to the email address:
Vicki and Howie and I will take those email pledges and match them with a deserving recipient: a blogger who will, through the efforts a number of bloggers here on Dailykos combined with their own local fundraising, be able to attend Yearlykos Chicago.
How it works:
Donor match is a two-part process.
First, donors make pledges by sending in a form email. When we have assembled enough pledges to match a particular recipient's unmet needs we then re-contact email donors who have made pledges. These donors then activate their pledges by contributing directly to the recipient using the recipient's Paypal or Google Checkout account.
That completes the donor match.
When you make a pledge of $25 or $50 you will know that you will play a part in sending a blogger to Yearlykos who otherwise would not have gone.
Now, this will take a bit of patience and work. You'll have to be prepared to make a pledge and then follow through on it. It's a two-part process. We are trusting that folks on all sides will participate in good faith. But, when you activate your pledge and complete your donor match, you will know that in your own small way you have done something that is a quadruple win:
a) you will support Yearlykos
b) you will empower a deserving blogger to attend
c) you will increase the regional, ethnic and economic diversity of the bloggers attending Ykos
d) you will make an investment in future leaders of the Democratic party in States and communities all over this nation.
the nitty gritty
To participate is simple, all you need to do is to take the first step and send an email to the address listed making a pledge using the format below (and please use this language):
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to make one pledge of $25/$50 to help defray the cost of a blogger attending yearlykos. When I receive a reply email with my donor match, I will follow through by sending $25/$50 to that recipient's PayPal or GoogleCheckOut account.
If you are willing to support more than one recipient, and that is certainly welcome, we ask that you simply change the number of pledges, not the monetary amount. For purposes of simplicity and logistics, pledges are accepted only in $25 and $50 increments and no one donor will be allowed to contribute more than $50 to any one recipient. For all intents and purposes you should consider this pledge an anonymous, small dollar gift.
We also ask that you use the form email as written above, so that we can make processing the donor matches simple and straightforward. We will complete the donor matches as swiftly as possible. This is a one weekend event with a specific goal. We will report back on what we've achieved together.
Howie and Vicki and I have set a goal of raising $5,000 to support up to ten bloggers attending Yearlykos. We have, through our outreach, identified worthy recipients. We know there are many more bloggers than that out there; however, we ask that readers understand that we cannot possibly meet the unmet needs of the blogging community as a whole. Given the timeline involved, and our lack of organizational support, recipients will come out of our outreach and not from unsolicited inquiries. The only emails accepted at the yearlykosdonormatch address will be pledges and inquiries about the pledge process.
When you make a pledge and then complete your donor match, whether you can attend Yearlykos Chicago or not, you will know, come August, that a deserving blogger from somewhere in the country will be attending Yearlykos, in part, because of your help. You will have taken part in a truly grassroots effort.
If you can do so, please make a pledge and help send a deserving blogger to Yearlykos Chicago. Your anonymous gift will make a difference; as someone who can see behind the curtain, I can guarantee that your pledge will make a lasting impact and is very much appreciated.
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