We Need You To Buy Us Some Time Before Time Runs Out

I’ve never felt more at the end of my rope in this role or as uncertain of our future as I am right now. I’ve also never felt the extent of this gnawing guilt and anxiety that has made writing this post, draft after draft, harder than it’s ever been.

I’m desperate because it feels like we’ve come up against a wall, financially and in terms of workload. I’ve barely finished my tasks from the last fundraiser, and now we’re working on this one. I’m desperate because the $200k SBA loan still looms over us, and that means we can’t take out any more credit. Every which way I look, I see other publications, the ones that have given queer and trans voices space and money, closing. While it’s true our advertising revenue was up 200% last year from the year prior — after we hired a Director of Brand Partnerships and began our partnership with QDigital — the economy right now is too volatile to expect we’ll see a similar level of Y2Y growth this year.

I’m guilty because I feel like we’re asking too much. This whole time we’ve shifted to a fundraising model, I‘ve held that asking for funds from our queer community is necessary, that if people can’t give, they won’t, that I can trust that you as readers will make the decisions that are best for you.

We want to tell you that we have it all figured out, that we know exactly what our next steps are. I want to promise you that we have a series of ambitious projects that will be put immediately into effect when we reach our goal, that all that is standing between us and a glorious future is your money. But the truth is that all that is standing between us and any future at all is your money.

We need to raise $175,000 by March 29th, or we’ll be gone before Pride.

Will you help?

On top of it all, I’m gritting my teeth with anxiety about building momentum for this fundraiser because we can’t promise you any shiny new things. To do so would not demonstrate the kind of shrewdness that has allowed us to survive so far. The best I can offer is that we’ll still be here. A queer media outlet like ours should not be able to operate as ethically as we’ve tried to — and survive.

Before my time — because it was a time before Autostraddle could afford things like an A+ and Fundraising Director — Autostraddle met its revenue needs without fundraising or even much ad revenue because everybody was making it work on slim salaries and a very small budget. It was like holding your breath underwater — something you can will yourself to do only because eventually you won’t have to do it anymore. It had to be temporary. They couldn’t live like that forever. Doing two fundraisers a year, like we did during the pandemic to avoid cuts, was another one of those things we managed to do because it was temporary, but the toll it took on our staff was unsustainable. Going back to those places isn’t an option for any of us. But spending more than we currently are isn’t an option, either. We already have some tough times on the horizon. We don’t have the money to do raises to keep pace with inflation. But we’re committed to putting our heads down and figuring it out.

What we need is the money that will buy us the time we need to actually get together and strategize. We have a lot to figure out this year — but without your help, we won’t have the time we need to actually figure it out.

Will you help?

We are, in most ways, an unparalleled success story. We’ve outlived nearly every single one of the competitors we faced when we launched in 2009, and many others that have popped up, burned brightly, and shut down in the 14 intervening years. We’ve watched LGBTQ+ verticals launch at venture-funded sites and do mass layoffs when said funding dried up. We’ve seen the eventual closure of the queer group blogs, all the women-focused offshoots of major LGBTQ+ media conglomerates, all the indie feminist blogs and websites. We never thought we’d see Bitch Magazine close. We never thought we’d see our traffic exceed Aft*rE**en’s and then watch their site implode and transform into a TERF cesspool. We’ve kept going, kept changing, kept surviving, while never losing that focus on community, on building connections, on presenting writers who are more than just bylines, who are celebrated as whole entire people.

We’ve managed to survive this long because of those unique relationships we’ve built together with you, because you step up to save us when we need you, because you choose to keep this space here for everyone who needs us.

But that leaves me coming to you and saying that we published almost 2,000 articles last year, is that enough to be worthy of survival? We paid 145+ queer and trans writers — is that enough to be worth keeping around? We kept this community going and did our best to hold space during some of our most difficult hours — does that qualify us for continuation? Even in a world where there is a rise in anti-LGBTQ hate and Christo-fascism, we put our faces on the internet as queer and trans people and will continue to do so — is that just a nice sentiment or is it something deserving of financial support?

You get to decide.

Other places have closed. Other publications have opened, too. I love seeing people start new publications. But if we can’t raise these funds, we’ll lose our substantial archive of resources and history on everything from lesbian sex to queer tv to countless critical discussions on identity and politics and relationships. We’ll all be scattered to the winds, no longer changing the face of media, no longer giving queer and trans writers some of their first bylines or unheard-of freedom to write the weird shit THEY actually WANT to write. Autostraddle is a nexus point, a gathering place, a space of connection for so many queer people. Losing that would be so, so hard on all of us. We’re something more together than we are as separate individuals.

It’s not an easy, profitable, capitalist dream to run an indie queer media outlet. We WANT to keep a space that gives our peers opportunities, that gives our voices space, that gives our opinions credence — open. We want to, ideally, keep our jobs.

So, we can either collectively choose to have it or collectively choose to end it.

And that’s how consensus building occurs; it’s dollar by dollar, donation by donation — no matter how big or small, each dollar counts in this decision.

You might think I’m being dramatic, but the thing is I FEEL dramatic. Things feel dire.

So, what do you think? Is it worth keeping us here? What about for the rest of the year? Will you help us see Pride? Will you help us hit our goal in two weeks?

SO HOW CAN YOU HELP?

You can give! (And get perks! See below!)

Help us out!

You can join A+! And if you’re already an A+ member, you can get discounted perks!

Join A+!

You can contribute to the member pool! (Or avail yourself of the pool if it will make your life better and you qualify for it!)

Check out the member pool!

The Perks!

An image showing all of the Autostraddle 2023 fundraiser perks mocked up together. There are 4 stickers, one that says "But I'm a Queerleader" in varsity letters, a vintage You Do You sticker, a Straddle This sticker that looks like boxer briefs with straddle this on the butt, and the Gay Agenda holographic sticker. There is a koozie that is black and has the word "gay." with a period on it in lowercase white letters, a carabiner that is black and says "you do you," 3 chapsticks, a coloring book page of a queer rock band, a puzzle of the same queer rock band print by Liberaljane in color, two art prints, one by ggggrimes and one by liberaljane. The art print by ggggrimes is richly and vividly colored in with jewel like warm tones. It depicts two POC queers sitting on a bench. A full figured femme in a dress and beanie with flowing purple hair sits on the back of the bench facing forward. A smaller masc person sits on the bottom of the bench, legs spread apart, wearing pants, with short hair and a red flowy shirt, purple tiny bag and necklace. The background features a rich display of cacti and tropical plants with an amorphour warm toned rainbow gradient just peeking out from behind the foliage. At the bottom of the image read the words "You Do You." The liberaljane print depicts a three person queer rock band. A femme front singer is shown holding a microphone to their mouth, with a cord wound around her leg. She is wearing a skirt, crop top and blazer and has pink hair. A guitar player has their foot on an amp. They are Black with locs and are wearing a blazer as well as shorts, white sneakers and a black shirt. Behind everyone is the drummer, who is slight and white with short hair who is holding the drumsticks aloft. The lyrics that the front person is singing appear in an expressive script above them, reading "It's a great day to be gay." Finally, there is an image of a candle with a blank label on it because Nico is finalizing the details of the lavender menace scent.

“You Do You” print is by @ggggrimes and the “It’s Great To Be Gay” print is by @liberaljane.

The candle is a custom “Lavender Menace” scent, hand-poured by PGH Candle, is a fresh, woodsy fragrance with an intriguing nautical edge — a unique take on a lavender scent, marrying this timeless floral with more masculine notes of cypress, cedar, and amber. This fragrance is infused with natural essential oils including orange sweet, eucalyptus, pine, clove bud, guaiacwood, lemon, elemi, galbanum, clary sage, lavandin, olibanum, petitgrain, geranium, cedarwood, and carrot seed.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Nico

Nico Hall is Autostraddle's A+ and Fundraising Director, and has been fundraising and working in the arts and nonprofit sector for over a decade. They write nonfiction and personal essays and are currently at work on a queer fiction novel and podcasts. They live in Pittsburgh. Nico is also haunted. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram as @nknhall.

Nico has written 222 articles for us.

116 Comments

  1. I’m sorry it feels so dire. I donated yesterday, when I got the A+ email. I gave more than I usually do.

    I love being a part of this community and it feels great to be able to contribute what I can, and to be in the position to contribute more than I used to be able to.

  2. Every single year, our fundraiser perks are the best thing I get in the mail — and somehow they just keep getting cooler?

    Thank you to all of you who support us with your gay dollars, your encouraging words, your social media shares, your comments, your jokes, your stories, and your endless love. We love what we do, we love doing it for you, and it means EVERYTHING that you keep us here to keep doing it.

  3. I am so, so, so INFINITELY grateful for the support that you all have shown us over the years — and for the commitment that we keep having, as a community, to keep Autostraddle here and queer for the next person who needs it.

    I never take for granted — not even for a second — what a profound honor it is to be in community and service with you all. What it means to keep this light on. Thank you. Thank YOU.

    PS: Also I gotta say, Nico described the candle to us at work yesterday and immediately I wanted 20 of them. So!

  4. Ah, man. I just this morning responded to your comment on one of your other posts about fundraising from October, Nico – sorry to hear things are this bad once again.

    I wonder if it is appropriate to ask for slightly more transparency about what this money will be used for? Like, when you say “what we need is the money that will buy us the time we need to actually get together and strategize,” what does “get together” mean in that context, exactly? It sort of sounds like you’re implying that that strategization needs to happen in person, which I… don’t know if I agree with?

    Autostraddle has meant so much to me over the years, and I really want to see it survive. I also recognize that I know nothing about the ins and outs of running a queer media company. And at the same time, I feel like there is an understanding that I am lacking about why this keeps happening. If you could provide some more detailed insight, that might be helpful? I don’t know if that is a reasonable request. But this appeal makes it sound like you need help just keeping the lights on, and I don’t know what that means – does it mean you won’t have the money to pay contributors? Salaried employees? To literally keep the website running? I feel like I don’t have any of those answers right now and it’s uncomfortable to keep being asked to donate when it seems from the outside like Autostraddle’s business model is not sustainable as of right now.

    I just feel wary of being too trusting right now, even though I value this community so much, and I do have confidence that y’all are trying to do the right thing. It sucks because I was in a much more generous spirit just this morning when I made my other comments and I had hoped things were going well. And then to see another big fundraiser… it just feels hard.

    I do want to say also that I have so much compassion for you, Nico, and the other staff – it must be so incredibly difficult to keep producing content like nothing is wrong when you know your company’s mere existence is in jeopardy. Like I said, Autostraddle has meant the world to me, and I want it to have a future. But I feel like I need some more answers at this point before I can donate, honestly. And if it’s not worth it to take the time to provide those answers, I totally understand and won’t hold it against you. Like I said, I appreciate your other comment and Riese’s response so much. I just… ah. I want to know what the plan is going forward. Is that too much to ask?

    • Hi!

      https://www.autostraddle.com/yes-fundraising-is-part-of-our-business-model-heres-why/

      A lot of the questions you are asking are answered in this post, which has a fresh update – these fundraisers are part of the business model, not in spite of it. I appreciate the transparency AS offers around the need to rely on regular fundraisers, just like lots of other community based media does.

      I hope you will come back to the generous spirit you were feeling and join me and so many others in giving regularly and generously so this incredible resource can continue.

      • Hi, thanks for the link. I’ve actually read that post in full (and I just re-read it to make sure I wasn’t missing anything) and I still have questions. There are also some great questions on that post that haven’t yet been answered. For example, I just want to elevate this comment by jmbg:

        “‘90% of our expenses (which is the percentage of our budget that goes towards paying queer human beings to work here)…’

        90% of AS’s expenses are payroll (and, presumably, payroll taxes)??
        I am totally on-board with paying writers and staff fairly, and the importance of ethical relationships between the publication and those that create its value (writers).

        But 90%? I’m struggling to see how AS can visualize sustainability or growth with labor costs that high, and intentionally that high. I’m not here to tell AS how to run its business, but, this is fundraiser to make sure it can make payroll within a matter of weeks? I’m concerned about fundraising on an emergency basis.”

        This is the spirit of my main question as well. I think as donors we deserve to know whether our donations will be paying people’s salaries. Again, I can’t stress enough how much Autostraddle has meant to me and how much I care about the people that work there. I want them to keep their jobs and their health insurance. But I also want to know what fell through that led to this level of urgency where Nico is saying that Autostraddle as a publication will not exist by June if readers don’t give them another 175k. I’m not seeing that in the post you linked – or many updates, really.

        • digital media companies much bigger than AS are having to make cuts because they don’t have money. they’re laying off large swaths of employees, usually writers and editors. Autostraddle is making sure that writers still have a place to write and get paid fairly and more importantly, on time. it’s not a failure on anyone on Team Autostraddle’s part; they’re doing what they need to do to stay alive in a competitive business where EVERYONE is struggling.

    • Hi Ivy! We kept this post pretty short, but if you want to get into the weeds of where the money goes and comes from and so many more things, that’s why we republished our Fundraising Is Part of Our Business Model post.

      The most concise explanation I can give for why we need money now and more urgently than we hoped is that advertising is not going as we had hoped. As to where the money goes, we use it to pay our queer and trans team. Those are most of our expenses! We also have to pay for the merch we then sell, the fundraiser perks we give to donors and shipping costs, too, for our web services such as server fees and the various tech situations we need run a website and publication from photoshop to google workspace and more, and finally we pay people like our tech team who we contract to improve the site and keep it from breaking! We don’t hand off money to anyone else or anything. We’re not making a profit for anybody.

      The money we are raising is not extra money. It is going to fill a hole in our budget going forward so that we can keep operating. Our budget is $110k / month, and in October, we stipulated we were raising funds to see us through January — but we made it to March! As for the money from last October — if we have money, and then we pay people, we no longer have that money. At $110k a month (and we paid over 145 people last year), $150k does not last a very long time, though we do make it stretch and also if you check the business model post you’ll see how all our revenue streams combine. We’re fundraising now and hopefully, that will give us plenty of time to work out how to exist within the broader financial landscape this year so that we will ideally not have to fundraise again in 2023. I hope that makes sense!

      • I wanted to jump in and note one thing that isn’t always mentioned, and it is: Autostraddle pays its writers for every post, and on time, which SHOULD be the standard across internet media but just isn’t. I see post after post on Twitter where writers have unpaid invoices for months; meanwhile, it has never taken more than two business days for Autostraddle to pay me for my work. I’m proud to work for a site that takes its responsibilities to its writers seriously!

      • Hi Nico! I have read the other post, thank you, but you saying directly that the money will be going towards paying people’s salaries is the answer I was looking for, and it does make sense. Thank you, and I hope my comments didn’t stress you out further during an already stressful time.

    • I don’t love volatility, and that’s why I am an A+ member. The regular monthly income helps Autostraddle plan and depend less on advertising dollars (that have disappeared in an economy where the wealthiest 1% are hoarding harder than ever at expense all of the rest of us), and less on fundraisers.

      so first, please please consider an A+ membership to sustain the work you’ve said is so valuable to you.

      Other things from donor to donor:
      As a small biz owner for the last 6 yrs, I can say that 90% of costs being payroll is ADMIRABLE – there isn’t unnecessary overhead. I can also say that employing this many fulltime staff, part time staff, and paying writers on time is A MIRACLE on this budget. I have no idea how they do it, except that everyone is incredibly careful with time & energy, working very long hours, and living on a very small income.

      The work Autostraddle does is care work, and cultural work. It does not concentrate wealth, so if we want it to continue, we have to keep paying the people doing that work. That work is never done, and it does not create dollars, it keeps queer people alive and hopefully thriving. The paradigm that something is only ‘sustainable’ if it is ‘profitable’ was concocted by the very rich to make themselves richer. And it is WRONG. It is in fact false – all the work we TRULY need to sustain one each other (not to mention the planet), washing dishes, procuring food, listening & healing each other, caring for children and elders – none of that work ‘makes money.’

      • specifically re: “But 90%? I’m struggling to see how AS can visualize sustainability or growth with labor costs that high, and intentionally that high.” . . . the labor costs are what are needed for writers & staff who make this site happen to pay rent on (what seem to be very small, apartments except Nico who is rebuilding a broken down house whose mortgage is less than rent on a small apt), groceries, medical care. AS is sustainable IF WE AS READERS choose to sustain the lives of the people who create it. There is no abstract business marketplace where AS could be making more responsible decisions.

        Inflation has been awful the last couple of years. In my business, we have handled this by steepening our sliding scale, asking clients with more funds to cover our steepening rent & grocery bills so we can keep providing our service to them.

        Autostraddle calling to raise this much money this urgently is a responsible choice by a small organization that has survived multiple digital media collapses, a pandemic, transitioned from a white founder+EIC to a Black and Puerto Rican non-founder EIC (which in most much richer orgs either fails, or new BIPOC leadership is hemmed in & unable to really lead), meanwhile having tried countless things to make advertising work, and having tried a for-profit configuration, and transitioned to a nonprofit configuration that makes it almost impossible to save for rainy days. I could go on and on. But this fundraiser is a responsible move from an astronomically responsible & resourceful, tiny organization hitting many times above its weight.

        • Thanks so much for your responses. I absolutely see where you are coming from and the payroll being that high makes sense when you explain it like that. I will freely admit that I know nothing about business, so I was really just trying to elevate comments on the other post that it seemed like hadn’t gotten a response.

          I guess the transition from no fundraising to (what feels like) lots of fundraising has just been confusing as someone who has followed Autostraddle for a long time, if that makes any sense? But I understand that the way Autostraddle operated for the first nine years wasn’t really sustainable, and it seems like y’all are really committed to not laying anyone off or slashing rates in order to survive, which is admirable. It really is. I admire the folks in charge here for sticking to their principles, and I mean that sincerely. And I hope it works out.

          Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

          • Thank you for taking in our replies sincerely, Ivy! And thank you for (i think it looks like?) joining A+!!!!!!!!!! Its for all of us <3 <3 <3

          • The transition to fundraising basically occurred when they opted to try to pay people more of a reasonable wage (in 2019 before I got here), because, yes, in the early days of Autostraddle when many people were working and writing for free or for a pittance, it was definitely cheaper to run, but that did not necessarily lead to the kind of site that we have been working toward and that we have now built.

            Thank you so much for joining A+ Ivy!!!

        • CORRECTION: AS has not transitioned to non-profit configuration for many good reasons in their post on why fundraising is part of their business model. their team does included nonprofit expertise, and that expertise points to why nonprofit is not a good fit. for more, check out The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
          Incite! Women Of Color Against Violence. nonprofit as a legal structure was invented by the wealthiest to quell & control popular resistance and organizing, not fuel it.

    • I think part of the confusion might be over associations you have with the idea of a ‘fundraiser.’ I think often we think of fundraisers as like “Save X institution!” So we give money to say, a lesbian bar, and then the lesbian bar is saved and then sustains itself using the revenue from drinks, food, covers, etc.; you don’t have to give money again. But Autostraddle doesn’t have a comparable independent source of revenue, so the ‘fundraisers’ are an ongoing, expected part of their business model; the income *just is* reader support.

      I think some of this confusion comes from the intensity of the language around AS fundraisers– that it’s both ‘Fundraisers are an expected part of our business model,’ as well as, ‘We feel desperate and uncertain and if we don’t raise a lot of money right now we’re going under imminently’. But I think that’s just to demonstrate the seriousness of the issue: that fundraisers are genuinely essential, not just an occasional bonus.

      Ultimately I think we’re not owed any more transparency (they’re already unbelievably transparent about this whole process; I’m honestly not sure what else they could disclose), and it’s just about, Do you want to support AS or not? I think if their work matters to you, let go of the associations you have with ‘fundraisers’ such that they’re only for emergencies, and think of it as paying for any other subscription. I want AS to exist, so I’m a member, and I plan to make an additional contribution for every fundraiser; I don’t expect that it will ever be the last time I’ll need to help them continue to exist, just like I don’t expect NPR to ever stop having pledge drives.

      • These are some really good points! I think the “pledge drive” is how I have come to think of AS fundraisers, they happen every so often and I’m happy to throw some money behind one of my favorite websites!

      • I am also struggling with what else we could possibly disclose, but we are always happy to do our best to answer specific questions <3 Thank you so much for this comment and yes, the language is definitely an interesting thing to consider!

        • I don’t envy you all having to navigate what language/tone to use! I’m sure it’s very difficult to ask people for money in such a public and serious way, especially when you do things like keep the comments open so you hear everyone’s thoughts and feelings about how you’re fundraising. I certainly wouldn’t know where to start, and I respect the effort y’all clearly put in to getting it right.

          That being said, I also appreciate so much the effort to be so incredibly transparent and communicative (responding to comments, answering questions, etc.) about this and other big announcements. I’m sure it’s difficult, but it’s exactly the kind of thing that makes it easy to support AS. <3

        • honestly, I think a big thing that would be helpful would be just having a fundraiser once or twice a year that’s at the same time every year and then somewhere on the website you say “x percent of this website’s budget comes from A+ members and y percent comes from our twice yearly fundraisers held in [month] and [month]” the amount that the fundraiser asks for could be different each time, but having it be at a predictable time would really help people who want to donate a chunk of money be able to set it aside in advance

          • <3 <3 <3 would love AS to get to a place where fundraisers can be at regular times each year. and love the language here too :D

          • I have also longed for this, believe me! I’d love to be able to plan my life in a way where I could make plans more than a few months out without a fundraiser getting plopped down on my time instead (because in the lead-ups to and during fundraisers, I don’t even get weekend time off or evening time off for the most part. If I do it is a rare and intentional break. I know the same is true of other team members to some of the same extent. So they are rather disruptive.) But the problem winds up being that we don’t run out of money at the same time each year because advertising deals and payments follow their own rules. Fundraising for us winds up being the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place, in a way, once everything else is accounted for and we have an understanding of where the holes are going to come up for us within the part of our year that we can forecast based on historic A+ revenue as well as the advertising deals we have in hand.

      • Hi Lila! Thanks so much for responding. Yes, I think a big part of what I’m struggling with is the cognitive dissonance between “fundraisers are part of our business model” and “we are going to close our doors permanently in two months if we don’t get another massive influx of cash.” But I get that actually both of those things can be true at once!

        I apologize if I came off as overly demanding. I get the comparison to NPR, and I think the difference for me (and this is not intended as a criticism) is that the requests for donations from NPR are delivered in a relaxed manner and it doesn’t ever seem like the whole enterprise is about to go belly up imminently if they fall a little short of their goal. I get that it’s comparing apples to oranges in a sense because NPR is a massive institution, not an indie media outlet, but it’s been brought up a lot, so I just thought I’d explain why it feels different to me (as a lover of both NPR and Autostraddle).

        Again, I want to stress that I know nothing about running a business and I’m really sorry if my questions came off as overly critical or demanding. I’m satisfied with the answers I have gotten here, and I’m also sorry if I stressed anyone out or made anyone’s day worse! I hope y’all get the money you need, and I will be making a small donation of what I can afford (or rejoining A+, I honestly haven’t decided yet).

        @Nico and everyone else here – thank you for the work that you do.

          • Such an interesting thread from everyone. I think what really helped me was the heads-up email I get as an A+ member before the fundraiser starts. Maybe something to consider for the regular newsletter as well. And I think the difference to NPR is it has more back-up funds so it can be more chill about its language?

          • I did appreciate the headsup via the A+ newsletter for sure.

            A big way we as readers can build the kind of calmness that NPR effuses about fundraisers/pledge drives is to keep showing up for Autostraddle fundraisers. To show we’re really fucking here for AS writers thru thick & thin the way they are for us.

            NPR has an endowment (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/178660742/public-radio-finances). Their board includes wealthy, mostly white donors like a VP of Starbucks and is chaired by a guy who among other things, was a risk officer for Citi’s student loans division https://www.npr.org/about-npr/182676957/npr-board-of-directors. so if NPR’s pledge drive falls thru, they do have a deep network of deep pockets – mostly white rich male pockets, and failing that they have their endowment principle. On the other hand NPR’s board would never in a bajillion years allow Autostraddle to happen.

            NPR’s core leadership & audience they cater to when push comes to shove remains wealthy or well-off white people, who hold up their pledge drives and their big donations outside of that. That * cough * may be related to why 3 women of color hosts left in 2021 (https://www.npr.org/2022/01/11/1072104110/lulu-garcia-navarro-audie-cornish-noel-king-leave-npr)

            Obv Autostraddle does not have an endowment, and Autostraddle writers are not beholden to white male millionaires for their content. So we gotta show up with our $5s, our $10s, our $50s, our $95.97s, our $150s, our $500s if we got ’em.

            Autostraddle writers are experiencing this uncertainty in their LIVELIHOODs to make Autostraddle happen. To show up for us. Can we as readers do a little piece of shock-absorbing of that uncertainty in our budget for this month? the answer will be no for some people for sure. but i think the answer is yes for a lot of us. enough of us that we can knock this fundraiser out of the fucking park.

            PPS If you’re reading this and you have a donation budget with thousands in it, please, please consider putting it this direction & serving the stability role that NPR’s board & endowment do.

          • Thank you forawhile and SAM. Yes, NPR is just, while listener-supported and a host of regular fundraising drives, a much larger beast than Autostraddle is. We’re very tiny in comparison to some other organizations and publications so it makes it difficult to weather small changes in income. Let’s say an advertiser pulls out of a deal for $25k. THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY FOR US. NPR whereas might say, well, that’s tough but weather-a-ble. If I’m reading their financial statements correctly in the like couple minutes I took to do so, NPR (the parent org) is spending like 300x in a year what Autostraddle does, to give you a sense of scale. We are a penny to their three dollars.

  5. wow wow wow i want that gay koozie!

    i also love that every page for this fundraiser has Autostraddle staff pets on it, THIS RULES VIV

    thank you for all you do, nico! i know these fundraisers (which i think of as ‘pledge drives’ because i was raised in a public radio house, lol) are a lot of work and I appreciate you and all of the staff involved! <3

  6. Can my donation go towards paying a butch woman to write content about being a butch? I feel like this is an ignored part of the community and I would definitely have donated more if you regularly (or ever..) had content related to butch experiences and interests. I know, Butch Please was great but that must be at least a decade old by now.

    Anyway, I’m happy to support you either way but it would be nice to see some of that representation.

    • Hi, friend! I just wanted to take a second to thank you for being such a longtime reader and supporter! Butch, Please was a favorite of mine too, and that’s how I know you’ve been here so long! I’ve been here a long time, too; eight years, I think! And! I’m butch! A full-time butch and full-time Autostraddle writer/editor! You can find a lot of my writing about butchness in TV and movie recaps and reviews that include butchy characters, like Gentleman Jack, A League of Their Own, And Just Like That, anything with Tig Notaro, etc. You can also find my writing about butchness in loads of roundtables and advice columns.

      Today, on the home page, right under the fundraiser posts, you’ll see one of my most popular pieces, The Soft Butch That Couldn’t (Or: I Got COVID-19 in March 2020 and Never Got Better) — it was edited here and published here first, before making its way into The Best American Science and Nature writing of 2021. That one’s especially important to me because it combines my butchness with my disability, and I don’t know any other publication on earth that would have given that piece the care and space Autostraddle did, and without Autostraddle, it would never have made its way into such a prestigious anthology.

      Also, today we’re publishing a piece about A League of Their Own’s fight for another season that includes writing from me about my butchness.

      But hey, maybe my writing isn’t for you, and that’s okay; I am quite a nerd. Check out this review of Tar, written by known and beloved butch, Sadie. (I don’t know if Sadie is less of a nerd than me, but I do know that she hangs out with ghosts, which makes her MUCH cooler than me.) Our staff writer shea, who is gay, is butch and you should read some of their work; everything they publish is full of heart and life. (They commented directly below you; hi, shea!) Our staff writer, Ro, is butch and you might enjoy their pieces 8 Times When Strangers Misread My Gender, Ranked and You Need Help: I’m 13 — How Do I Explore My Butch Identity? and The Gay B C’s of Sex: S Is for Stone. You also might enjoy this book list Kayla recently published called Butch Memoirs To Check Out in Honor of Hijab Butch Blues. (Kayla’s fiancée is butch; she’s got a real fondness for us!) Or, how about A.Tony (butch) and their recent piece This Butch4Butch Manga Made Me Feel Heartbroken and Heartfixed.

      I know sometimes it’s hard to get the whole picture of what a publication is doing if you’re not engaging with it fully all the time, or if you’re just seeing what social media feeds you through its infuriating algorithm, but I just wanted to leave you a note and let you know that us butches are here and writing and paid and quite beloved, actually. I hope you’ll come hang out with us more. I’d love to talk to you about your butch interests too. (For example, would you agree Luz from The Owl House is the first butch lesbian cartoon character? ‘Cause I think she is! Oh, and! Have you read Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail? There’s an AWESOME butch carpenter in that queer love story and I’d love to talk to you about that too!)

    • Hi N/a, I feel you on this one. I, too, would also love to see more butch content on this site! Thanks Heather for what you wrote as a reply to N/a; I appreciate the links to the articles (and knew most of them). Actually, I read AS regularly and a lot, and I miss butch content as well – while being aware of what already exists. What I would *personally* like better than TV recaps is something like more essays on butch identity, thoughts and experiences. I miss the “Butch Please”-column and I know I can re-read the articles (and I do), I just wish there was more!

      In no way whatsoever do I want to put down any of the important work that AS does every day. It’s just that TV posts, puzzles, wedding preparations and celebrity pieces are not quite my cup of tea. I love it for everyone whose cup of tea those are and I realize readers and what they prefer varies strongly – not everyone can get what they like best…

      I guess what I want to say is: given that there is so little butch content in the internet anyway, I always wish there was more on AS.
      Signed, a faithful AS reader <3

  7. I’ve spent so much of my life feeling I alone and isolated as a queer Black person in this world. On my roughest days, I sometimes read old (and new) essays on this site that remind me that I’m not so weird or alone after all. Over the years, I’ve appreciated how it’s become more diverse and inclusive of us all. It remains one of the bright spots in this dark-as-fuck world. I’ll continue to do whatever I can to make sure it continues to exist.

    go, Autostraddle, go! And thanks for being here all this time — really. ❤️

    • Did I ever think I would be working with a candle maker on a custom Lavender Menace scent ever in my life? No. Is it a delight that this is happening? Absolutely. Thank you Niko!!

  8. I’m so excited to be able to donate again!! Go Autostraddle go!! Woohoo! I have a couple of questions regarding the perks: First of all, if I donate through Paypal can I still get perks? My Paypal email is different from my AS member email, will that be a problem when it comes to the A+ discount? Second question: How much do you guys actually get out of the donation if I choose to receive perks? I think they’re super cute but I’m worried about my donation possibly being less impactful because I’ll be adding a financial burden to AS (not to mention a perk-shipping burden, not to Nico bc I’m not in the US but to some other person who has to ship out a bunch of perks).

    • Hi! Always love to see you in the comments Pallas :D Thank you for being a member and wanting to support the fundraiser!! SO, to get perks by donating thru PayPal, can you forward me your receipt and just include your address in that as well? There’s no way to collect addresses through PayPal so that’s the only hang up. But if you can do that extra step it would be super helpful!

      As for how much we get out of the donation, the answer is most of it! We’re able to get perks at wholesale prices because of the amount we order and actually paying someone to ship stuff out for us from the UK / Europe is a cost savings because the shipping itself is so much less than if I ship stuff overseas. I structure the tiers so that they factor in perks cost + labor / my time packing stuff + shipping. We wouldn’t offer perks if it didn’t make sense money-wise for us to do so <3 Of course, obviously, if someone donates and elects not to get perks, more of the donation goes to us, but the ratio is still pretty high!

  9. just out of interest, are we any closer to A+ membership paying for the site sustainably after the last A+ member drive? Or is the race against inflation as impossible for you guys as it is in my industry? (upside down smile emoji)

    I love being a member and I hope I can donate a little extra when payday comes…

    • It’s complicated! So, we haven’t raised rates for A+ memberships, which means they cost just as much as they always have…but yes, our costs have gone up. With more members, we’ve been able to keep A+ memberships in a place where A+ is paying for half our costs, which is honestly incredible especially when costs increased. I’d love to grow that, and it’s still the plan, but I think that what it will realistically look like if we can get there is increased A+ member numbers plus increased advertising revenue, combined, will mean more sustainability for us. I don’t know that it will be on the table for us this year or even the next, but that is what we are always working toward, and in the meantime, fundraising is a part of our business model because it’s how we stick around in order to be able to continue to build more sustainable revenue streams.

  10. I just donated and doubled the monthly amount I pay for my A+ membership. I also declined the perks bc I live in Europe and shipping is expensive, even (especially) from the UK.
    no matter what, thank you for everything you all do. I hope you can keep doing it

  11. “The best antidote to despair is action, and to build the things we believe need to exist.”

    ^^ Heard this on an episode of the Movement Memos podcast this morning, and it made me think of Autostraddle and what a vital resource and light you are always, and especially right now. Thank you for everything you do. 💛

  12. I count myself lucky every single day that I get to work here. I love Autostraddle and everything that everyone here — our writers, our readers, truly EVERYONE — has worked so hard to build. it’s not easy, but we’re doing it!!!

  13. Just donated. I always feel impressed and so thankful for how you find ways to navigate our economically unpredictable world to keep this indie queer website here for us, I have faith that you’re going to find a way through this next stretch, and I’m going to keep donating and supporting however I can.

  14. i am always so thankful that Autostraddle exists, and doubly thankful that i can be apart of this amazing place. i love love love my fellow writers and all of our readers. i love the community we’ve created here. i love that i get to talk about all of the queer things near and dear to my heart.

    i would be simply devastated if all of that goes away.

  15. On on hand I know fundraising is stressful for ya’ll and hope it goes smoothly, but selfishly, I love AS fundraising campaigns. I get to support one of my favorite websites, get a few treats for myself, and gush about how much I love the community here ❤️ Hoping this goal gets crushed like the last one!

  16. Here’s the message I missed posting on the wall –

    This isn’t a donation, it’s a fraction of the debt I owe you all. You have been there to celebrate my queer joy, to assuage my queer fears, to answer my queer questions. You’ve connected me to people I love, you’ve held me when I wondered how to go on.

    And the wonder, the joy of it all is that you haven’t done this for me ~ you’ve done it for all of us in so many different ways. You’ve grown and shifted and changed. You’ve fallen and tried and tried again, and sweated and stayed up too many late nights out of love for all of us. And you love us because you ARE us – you’re trans, you’re POC, you’re disabled, you’re parents, you’re solo polyamorous, you’re monogamous, you’re non-binary, you’re free-ass motherfuckers, you’re neurodivergent, you’re so much more and so damn incredible.

    Thank you, thank you for being here

    May you THRIVE

  17. Just donated and am about to buy the merch I’ve thought about buying for the last several years. Thanks for being here for me since finding you as a tiny new queer in 2011, Autostraddle <3

  18. Also can I just say…. the Diner Week collages were gold, Love Is (Not) A Lie day with all the lil’ graphics and the cute cursor was beautiful, Rory Midhani’s iconic scissoring illustration is a historic piece of art, but these graphics….. these graphics are my favourite piece of Autostraddle graphic design I have ever rested my eyeballs upon. The silly pets. The colours. The wee drawings of money. All of it. I want everything in my life to look like this fundraiser.

    • Pallas, thank you and we will BE SURE that our Art Director Viv sees your comment! Honestly, I love the whole MS Paint aesthetic we are leaning into. The Autostraddle animals that are the pets of all the people who work here. This also has my heart.

  19. Obviously needing it is (though part of the business model) not ideal but i love how the perks make it so I’ve always got something to look forward to! As a UKer i just last week got the Oct perks and now MORE?? We love looking forward to unspecified time in the future mail

    Anyway I love y’all and all you do and excited to donate! Gonna hustle for more around my fellow library gays

  20. as always, i’m so grateful for the work y’all do and truly glad to have the chance to contribute to the community (even if it’s less than i might hope, given…everything) – and am blown away by the response so far – half in a day! an amazing community and an incredible fundraising steward in nico! (always curious if there are big donors or just the power of queer grassroots donations because WOW)

    • I know right!!? Halfway in a day is amazing 💛 I kind of remember reading somewhere that the single largest donation received in the last AS fundraiser in Oct. 2022 was $1,037 but that almost all of the donations were $50 or less (??) Sorry Nico if I am totally butchering that stat 😂 whatever the case, we save us and we are here for us! 🌈

      • It’s true! For the most part this is the effort of a lot of people giving like $15 here, $30 there, maybe splurging at the $100 or $250 level. We don’t have very many people giving huge sums, though they definitely do exist, they tend to be in the $1,000-$5,000 at the absolutely highest.

  21. Dear AS, I’d love to donate and I did in the past… This time, it’s not possible for me. I’m unemployed and struggling just to make ends meet. A fundraiser from the beginning of a month to its middle would be easier for me to give the little that I could afford, rather than a fundraiser for the last two weeks of the month. Generally speaking, many people who don’t have savings or a good income tend to have more money in the early stages of a month rather than towards the end. I’m not sure if this is true for your wider readership, but just as a thought for future fundraisers that I hope you’ll have. May you receive the amount you need and more, like in October. My fingers are crossed!

  22. I just thought of a bit of a silly behind-the-scenes question: Does the tracker automatically update at certain intervals, or does the team have to do it manually? Not super important, just curious!

  23. I remember reading the very first A+ member pitch in 2014 and FLINGING myself towards my wallet without a second thought. That’s still the reaction I have to AS fundraisers, nine years later, and I know I’m not alone.

    I hear that it’s so scary and hard right now. And — we’ve got you. We won’t let you shut down. We will be here, every single time you need us. You’re not going anywhere, because we’re not going anywhere. 💜

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