As time goes by, any hope for anything positive in the new administration is being rapidly ripped away from us. More and more people with extremist points of view – who are completely unfit – are being nominated for positions of power. It’s frightening, to say the least.
However, I am seeing glimmers of hope and positivity in other ways. People are organizing and getting more involved in activism. There’s more speaking out. I’m sure our Senators and Representatives will need to pay their staffers overtime from dealing with the phone calls they are receiving from concerned, frightened, angry citizens. Hopefully – and, yes, I’m being very optimistic here – Republican lawmakers will be more inclined to work with their Democrat colleagues in an effort to stop a the full on legitimization of hate, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia.
I’m also seeing an increase in people donating to organizations that help fight the good fight – the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign, etc. That’s awesome!
But let’s not forget about the “little guys” in all of this. Yes, Planned Parenthood and HRC and the ACLS need our support. But so do the smaller organizations. These organizations are also fighting the good fight. In many ways, they are fighting harder because they are doing it with fewer people and fewer resources. They could use a fraction of our donations.
Local homeless shelters, local food banks, local health clinics, local LGBT centers, local women’s shelters…the list can go on and on. Consider these places, too.
My focus, of course, is on the Golden Crown Literary Society for the purposes of this post. As most of you are aware, it’s near and dear to my heart. And I’m a member of the Board of Directors.
We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our Board of Directors has 10 directors. We have fewer than 10 regular, year-round volunteers helping us. There are over 600 members who pay minimal dues each year.
Since our organization cannot operate solely on membership dues, we are reliant on Sponsors and Donors. Without their help, we probably wouldn’t be able to do 25% of what we do throughout the year.
- Our event at Women’s Week in Provincetown – it is free for authors to promote their work; it is free for readers and fans to come meet the authors. People do not pay to attend. The GCLS pays approximately $3,000 each year for this event.
- People have called for better practices in our Awards process. Year after year, we make improvements to this process. This includes using Open Water – an Awards platform that has helped us to streamline the nomination process and allow ebook submissions, add more objectivity to the judging process, and receive consulting from experts in the Awards field on how we can be even better. The GCLS pays, at minimum, $2,000 for this every year.
- Conference attendees have asked for better lunches during the conference, a dinner prior to the Awards ceremony, coffee and other drinks during breaks, etc. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do some negotiating with hotels to improve the lunches. And we’ve had sponsors step up for Coffee/Snack breaks. Dinner prior to the conference is much too far out of our budget. We put out an option for people to pay extra for the dinner, but only 2 people chose the option – the hotel wouldn’t do it unless at least 50 attendees agreed. And since we don’t want to increase conference registration prices significantly, it’s just not something we can do. The cost of Food and Beverage (F&B) at hotels goes up every year. But the price for conference registration remained the same for a number of years. We just started increasing registration prices – we’ve kept those increases as small as possible.
- A/V costs during our conferences aren’t cheap. Sometimes, everything is individually itemized. The difference between 1 microphone and 2 microphones in a room can be $150 per day. Mind you, there are at least 5 rooms with something happening every day. The conference starts Wednesday afternoon and ends Sunday afternoon. The extra microphones add up. Let’s not even get into the idea of wanting wired vs wireless vs lavalier microphones. Or podiums.
- We do our best to market and advertise our organization and events. That costs money.
- We do our best to give our members additional resources. That costs money.
- We do our best to implement our members’ ideas and suggestions. Most cost money.
So, let’s imagine what would happen if everyone who regularly gave $100 to HRC or PP or the ACLU designated $10 of that to go to the GCLS or a local shelter or food bank.
Let’s imagine if 500 of our 600+ members gave up just one book this year and gave that money instead to GCLS.
Let’s imagine if those 500 members convince just one friend to donate the same amount to GCLS.
Let’s imagine if those members worked for companies that did donation matching and were able to double their contributions to GCLS.
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
~ Ryunosuke Satoro