I’ve spent the past day or so thinking about the Blog. By many standards I think it is going very well. As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, we managed to raise $37,000 last year for the charities that the blog supports, all of them dealing with hunger and homelessness. If we do that for a number of years – we’re talking some serious money! Most of that amount came from membership fees; a good chunk came from extra donations, some of them extraordinarily generous. I anticipate that we will have an even higher total this year, although it is yet to be seen. In any event, we are slightly ahead of where we were last year at this point.
But I never seem satisfied! Maybe it’s my driven personality. But I wonder how we can do better. Much better.
Some things we simply can’t do *more* of. I already post about six times a week, and I try to mix up what I do: some posts are “public interest” items (like O’Reilly or that crazy mythicist Atwill); some are “answers to readers”; some are just issues related to Christianity in Antiquity that I’m thinking about/teaching/doing research on/ etc. Even though I can’t do any more than this, I wonder how we can do better.
Why, for example, shouldn’t the blog have *ten times* as many members? Why shouldn’t we raise $370,000 a year? What’s holding us back? My problem is that I also can’t think of how to pull it off!
We do constantly get new members. As you might expect, when I post something controversial or of broad interest – e.g., on O’Reilly and his Holy Ghost Writer (as Colbert calls him) – is when the membership goes up significantly (more than when I post on something else). But I can’t *always* be posting on controversial topics, both because there aren’t that many to go around and because I want the blog to have some *substance* as well as glitter.
In some ways the biggest part of the problem is that as we get new members (usually it is about 4-5 a day, which is *great*) we appear to be losing old members as well, as they choose not to renew their membership (which is definitely *not* great!). And so while the money keeps coming in, it is not at the rate we could hope for.
And so I’m wondering what we can do both to get more numbers and to *keep* those we have. Whatever it is needs to be something that does not take any more time or effort (since, well, I have neither to spare!)
If anyone has bright ideas, feel free to pass them along. Even if they’re ones you’ve tried on me before! And please, encourage everyone you know – family, friends, acquaintances, sworn enemies, members of Congress, everyone you know – to join up!
Moreover, and just as important, anyone who is so inclined, please feel free to make additional donations to the Bart Ehrman Foundation. Every dime goes to charities dealing with hunger and homelessness; donations encourage all of us to continue with keeping up this blog as well as we can, with as much energy as we can; and all donations are fully tax-deductible.