I’m here today to tell you that we are having an A+ Member Drive! Starting…now! For the last two weeks of June, we’re hoping to welcome 300 new A+ Members to our community of supporters that literally keep this website here for everyone. We’ve never run a member drive during Pride month before, but here we are! Not a member? Now’s going to be a really great time to join. Learn more about A+ here or stick around until the end of this post to learn more about what we have planned for our drive!
I know that for many of us, Pride is about caring for each other. For me, that means, especially, that it’s about the work we as a whole community still have left to do. Every day, I’m amazed, delighted and humbled to see the ways in which Autostraddle’s editors, writers and artists keep the little fire of our publication burning, the way they keep working, in an often hostile internet in a hostile world. If the same is true for you, we hope you’ll consider being a member. A+ works when a lot of people help. We don’t necessarily need one person to do it all, we just need to work together.
During this member drive, you’re going to hear from our editors and leadership about the work that fills our days, our hopes for what’s next, the joys of our jobs and the parts that are honestly really hard! We want to share what this work actually looks like, not just the results and the things you see on the website, but all the lead-up that goes into it, as well.
We’re hoping to welcome 300 new members because A+ members keep our queer community free and here for anyone who needs to find us. I was a Silver A+ member before I worked here because I’ve believed in Autostraddle’s mission for a while. The AS team posted an ask for help, and I saw it and immediately signed up. I thought about the work that must go into the site that I enjoyed, that was there when I was around too many straight people IRL, that was good for a laugh even during dark days, and I gave them my money. If this work has ever meant something to you, I hope you’ll join, too.
It might surprise you, but 99.9% of the people who read our site aren’t members. That means that about 6,100 A+ members are basically responsible for holding this queer site together. A+ membership makes up a significant portion of our overall budget. For the rest of our budget, we rely on a revenue mix that includes merchandise, affiliate income, advertising, and fundraising as a last resort. Unfortunately, those factors are fickle, especially advertising money — a reality made really, truly visible when our advertising sales plummeted as the pandemic spread in the US in 2020. And so we’ve had to fill in the gaps between A+ member support and our actual costs with fundraisers from 2020 through earlier this year. We’re working on a multitude of solutions to close this gap without having to have another enormous fundraiser (our most recent one had a $220k goal!) but in all of those plans, one thing remains true: A+ revenue is the steady foundational rock upon which Autostraddle’s entire current business model rests.
Knowing that less than a percent of our readers are members might seem daunting, but here’s another way to look at it: Far less than even a percent of you are single-handedly keeping this little queer space alive and functioning. You are powerful, gay and powerful. If this is what we can do with less than .01% of readers supporting, what could we do with more? I’d love to find out! That’s why we’re hoping that if you’re not a member and you’re reading this, that you’ll join A+ right now — we’re aiming to grow our numbers by about 300 members, and continue to shore up our defenses against the ever-looming threat of closure.
If you can’t afford to or can’t support for other reasons, we’ve got you. That’s why the vast majority of this site is free and will remain so. Because we know we have to be here, un-paywalled and available for queers who need us and because no, we don’t think that expendable income should be a requirement for reading our stuff. A+ members keep Autostraddle free, and you can, too.
So, will you join?
Member Drive Events
This Membership Drive isn’t the only thing happening, though! We have some events planned for you, that A+ members current and new alike will want to put on your calendars. We hope we’ll see you at the:
Autostraddle Town Hall | June 21 | 5pm PST | Public
What’s next for Autostraddle? What’s on the horizon? What makes our little queer publication GO?
Join our senior team for an Autostraddle Town Hall & find out!
💜Free & open to the public
💜Submit your questions about Autostraddle’s digital publication, editorial plans, and A+ here!
💜Realtime captioning by StenoKnight Services
Personal Q’s AMA | June 24 | 11am – 4pm PST | A+ Content
Join the Autostraddle Autostraddle Editor-in-Chief Dr. Carmen Phillips, Executive Editor Laneia Jones, A+ and Fundraising Director Nicole Hall, CEO Riese Bernard, Managing Editor Rachel Kincaid, Design & Business Director Sarah Sarwar, Culture Editor Shelli Nicole & Community Editor Vanessa for an Ask-Me-Anything on June 24 from 11am – 4pm PST! Ask your questions in the comments, get to know our team on a *personal* level.
What can you ask? ALMOST ANYTHING.
💜Who’s our Tiktok/Instagram/Twitter crush of the moment?
💜What book are we currently in love with?
💜What are our favorite first-date spots?
💜How did we become involved with Autostraddle?
💜What are our thoughts on [insert queer trend here]?
Get creative, pry a little (but be kind please), dig deeper. We want to get to know you!!! Feel free to ask AND share your heart out in the comments. See you there
Queer Sex 101 Strap-on Workshop with Ro White | June 25 | 5pm PST | A+ Content
How do you shop for a harness and strap-on? Do you need a partner to get one? How do you, uh, actually use it? What are the best tips for brands and fit? What should fat and/or disabled people know about using a strap-on? Sex educator and Autostraddle SLICK and More, Please! editor Ro White is here to walk you through all of this and more in a LIVE workshop for A+ members! Event will be live captioned by StenoKnight services.
💜A+ Member Exclusive
💜Password and Registration Link Here
💜Realtime captioning by StenoKnight Services
A+ Pop-Up Pride Discord Server | June 26 9am PST – June 28 3pm PST | 18+ | A+ Members
The beloved A+ member Discord Server is returning! Meet other A+ members from all over the world and maybe nearby to you, too! Talk about everything from tarot to music to houseplants, post a lex-style personals ad, or just hang out. The server only shows up sometimes, for a limited time, so check back on the website that Saturday the 26th for the A+ Post to join! Or, if you sign up for A+, you get the weekly A+ e-news every Saturday, and I’ll have instructions in there, too!
Member Drive FAQ
Q: SO! Why 300?
I did some math and it matches the pace that we’ve seen people sign up during previous drives, but I don’t know…I think that you all can surprise us, too, if you want! But for starters, we’re shooting for 300. 300 new members who join A+ at any tier will help us immensely!
Q: But how many members make up the number you need to cover everything?
Everything! Wow! That would make our YEAR, multiple years even. That’s also a tricky question because we have, ultimately, 10 different member levels, right? Cobalt monthly, then Cobalt annual, through Platinum monthly and annual. So, calculating this number would require that a bunch of humans behave exactly as they have in the past which, no, I don’t think that’s reasonable. But! I think that if we had between 9,500-12,000 A+ members, depending on the makeup of various members of various levels, we would be doing excellently. AND I think we can get there, that we will get there someday. We’re just doing this one step at a time, bird by bird.
So, we’d love it if you’d join today! Reaching our goal of 300 members would take us to about ~6,460 which is a hot, sexy number and really not that far from 9,500 considering we were at ~3,700 A+ members back in March of 2020 when I came on board full time! My personal statement on this is: any growth of A+ right now is awesome and inches us ever closer to increased financial stability and therefore doing the work of publishing queer people and community building that we want to do! Plus, you all are awesome and we love having you around, a huge bonus in fact!
Q: What do I get if I’m a member, though? Isn’t Autostraddle free?
Firstly, you get to know that you’re supporting independent queer media, and keeping Autostraddle in business and its content available to everyone — including the good, gay folks who have yet to find us! Many of our A+ members say they’ve joined primarily to ensure the next generation of queer folks (of any age) can find Autostraddle when they need it, just like they did.
Secondly, you get access to A+ content. We never put anything essential or truly vital behind the paywall, but we do have some bonus behind-the-scenes peeks, more tailored advice from our staff, queer erotica (!!) and items that are just for fun, exclusively for members.
Thirdly, depending on your member level, you get perks ranging from an official A+ member sticker, to all the things that come with a Platinum membership. Cobalt, at $4 a month, doesn’t come with physical perks, but all members get access to all content!
Q: I’m already a member! What can I do?
You sweet baby gayngel, I love you! You can share our social media posts about this — and if A+ or Autostraddle has contributed anything to your life and you feel like talking to others about it in your own words and explaining the impact it’s had, that would be the most helpful thing EVER. You can also tell your friends, upgrade your membership (don’t forget to fill out the form to get your perks) OR you can give a gift membership right on our usual member sign-up page! These also count toward our goal!
LOOK at everything you have read! If you aren’t already one of the totally amazing A+ members who are the fewer-than-1%-yet-extremely-awesome people keeping Autostraddle around, will you consider signing up today? Every person makes a difference when we do this thing together! Thanks for taking the time to learn more about what’s going on in this corner of digital queer community this Pride, 2021.
Is there a way to gift a membership without a specific recipient? Like, maybe a contest or random drawing to give gifted ones away? I don’t want to make more work for anyone, but I can afford to gift a Cobalt membership but don’t know anyone to gift it to!
Or, I guess, if you’re reading this and would like a Cobalt membership for a year, message me!
I just read this on the sign up page about gifting memberships:
“Yes, you can! To purchase a gift membership, choose the “Give as a Gift” button in the join section. We just launched this feature, so if you have trouble email nicole[at]autostraddle[dot]com.”