May 25, 2010

My long overdue commitment to QuakerQuaker

Here in Minnesota, the Public Radio station has added a feature to its annual (feels like monthly!) membership drive:

They now encourage listeners and members who might renew their membership to become "sustaining members" of the station, which means that the listener signs up for monthly automatic withdrawals--which in turn allows MPR to predict more confidently how much money will be coming in on a monthly basis.

Plus, the way that MPR has their drive set up is, that the more sustaining members they get during the drive, the fewer number of hours they spend on the air hounding listeners for new members!*

It's that sort of thinking that led me to consider stepping up my commitment to QuakerQuaker and push the "Donate" button on the homepage. And not just to donate one smallish amount of money, but to click on the other link, the one that's easy to skip, about donating $10 every month--just below the "Donate" button.

Here's the thing:

When I clicked the button, I was sent me to a page that looks nothing at all like QuakerQuaker. If I didn't know that there was a "man behind the curtain" by the name of Martin Kelley, I probably would've thought I was sent to the wrong place, or maybe that it wasn't legit.

Don't be fooled: if you've never met, emailed, chatted, webcammed, or workshopped with Martin Kelley, chances are you know someone who has. Heck, since you're reading The Good Raised Up, there's your one degree of separation... and I think I can say I've done ALL of those activities with the guy. (He's on my short list to design a website for me if/when I get to that point...)

Well, I kinda chuckle at the idea of QuakerQuaker doing something as obnoxious as a membership drive, where, for a week at a time in the dead of winter, automated messages are sent every hour to our inboxes. And on the QQ site itself, every 45 minutes a pop-up window appears, with some talking head to promote the newest feature of QQ, or the most fascinating blog-post that all Convergent and non-Convergent Friends alike simply MUST read...

    And if you donate now, you can receive one of these two great Thank You gifts: You can have an autographed copy of Martin Kelley's Quaker Ranter Reader or you can have an autographed copy of the Quaker blog reader, Writing Cheerfully on the Web. Don't delay: Donate now!
But rather than suggest to Martin that he do something as obnoxious as a membership drive to increase his revenue stream--while simultaneously diminishing the effectiveness of the social network that is QuakerQuaker, I thought I'd testify here as to how much better I feel, knowing that I'm supporting someone to carry out the ministry he's been given--all through the simple click of a single button (followed by a few more simple clicks...) that was long overdue.


*Well, this might not be accurate, but it comes close to what the station has done in the recent past...

Look for this box on the right-hand sidebar of QuakerQuaker, about halfway down the homepage. (The image here is NOT an active link, fyi.)


The QuakerQuaker carnival: a series of individual Quaker bloggers writing about their appreciation for Martin and for QuakerQuaker

My own appreciation as part of the QQ carnival


Martin Kelley said...

Pop-up windows. Hmmm...., maybe that's not a bad idea. Thanks Liz! And thanks!

Tom Smith said...

I understand the impact of Liz's "click," but I also know the impact of $10 or even $5 a month on a very fixed income. I can "afford" a "click" but I am very actively seeking to simplify life in accord with the status provided. I am sure there are others who find $10 a month more than just a "click."

The recent "Can Quakerism survive the airplane?" might just as well have been "Can Quakerism survive the internet?"

Forgive the "pessimism," but I have just been confronted with some reality that makes it tough to read about all the traveling, workshops, etc. that others are doing without finding it possible to engage in much more than "lurking."

Martin Kelley said...

Hi Tom: I'm sorry to hear that you're being stretched. The nice thing about the internet is that it's relatively cheap. If only 1% of QuakerQuaker readers sign up for the $10 plan then all the bills will be covered. Many of us can't afford the $10/month plan (I myself couldn't!) but that's fine, we don't need everyone.

The participation I really care about is Friends sharing their faith experiences and prayers for one another. The internet's quickly become the cheapest form of "intervisitation" available. My hope is that everyone will share their lives and the movements of the Spirit without worrying much about the minor server costs involved.

Robin M. said...

We stepped up to the $10/month plan earlier this year, because our finances have improved dramatically in the last couple of years. (We seem to live on a contrarian economic cycle.)

But before that, we made an annual contribution of $35, equal to the amount we paid for a subscription to another Quaker magazine, which only comes once a month. is publishing every day, with new features every few months. It's worth it to our family.

If people can only afford $10/year, that is still worth doing. And it comes with the intangible reward of being part of the ministry that is

Rich in Brooklyn said...

I signed up for the $10/month option awhile ago. It only seems fair, given how much I benefit from Martin's labors.

But this brings up two related concerns:
1) Why can't more of our local Quaker Meetings make it easy to donate in a similar way?
2) I have to remind myself that this donation, while possibly tax deductible, is not really "charitable" in the full Christian sense that - say - a donation to the truly desparately poor would be. I have not done much of the latter. I wonder how many Friends have.

ben schultz said...

This site isn't worth a donation. Without Chuch Fager( yes that Chuck Fager) it's just another (yawn) christian supremacy yammer.
Occasional good post tho'.
Ben Schultz

Unknown said...

Thanks Liz! This is a great reminder.

I really appreciate that many viewpoints and diversity that is present at QuakerQuaker. I also appreciate that it's a place people can (typically go) and not get torched by others.

Liz Opp said...

Thanks for all the comments. I've been reading them and am digesting them as they come in. I hope to reply more personally when my schedule frees up.


Norea from NTF said...

Chuck Fager got banned?! Oh, what a shame.

They're passing the money plate because free Nings are ending in July. Instead of switching to another free social networking site, they're fund-raising.

Isn't there something fundamentally (pun not intended, oy) wrong with this picture?

ben schultz said...

but y'know, caint spread the christian message honestly.
Just doesn't work.
Love Ben Schultz

Liz Opp said...

I now have some time to carve out and respond...

Tom -

I appreciate your honest reply. I am learning much about how my own internalized privilege around social class leads me to say things that create an unintended impact.

It wasn't my intention, for example, to imply that EVERYONE should click on that "$10 a month" link, but I can understand how my post could have been read as that. More to the point I was making is that I, personally, could have afforded to have paid $10 a month all along but hadn't done so until now.

For me, it was akin to a Friend saying to another who had come under the weight of some spiritual concern, "Oooh, I have the same concern as thee, and feel as strongly as thee, and feel a similar leading as thee" but then never speak up, show up, or pursue the leading. So this action, to commit to making a small donation each month, for me, was a way to say "This online ministry and service is one I myself have taken up and wish to support, financially."

No doubt other Friends who wish to support such ministry and service but can't carry the financial piece will do so in other meaningful ways.

And in no way am I saying "Quakerism can't survive the internet." It's more that I believe that the internet is a tool or a vehicle through which the Quaker faith is conveyed to others--similar to how epistles, tracts, books of Faith & Practice, etc. have done over the centuries.

Robin -

True that QuakerQuaker publishes more than once a month... and it seems to have an interactive component (or two or three) that I've never gotten involved in, but that I see others have.

...It's a challenge for me to remember that there's a PERSON coordinating all these things, and using software to do so. When I don't see the labor involved--no one is bringing me a plate of food I've ordered; no one is writing up a legal document that I'll have to ask to be revised; no one is cutting my lawn--it's easy for me to assume I'm just entitled to use this service "because it's there."

Rich -

Good to see you here! ...Like many middle-class Americans and non-profit organizations in the States, we're shy to ask for money to support us in the work we carry out, including within our meetings. I know I for one had been socialized to NOT ask for money, no matter how important the cause.

But those who work in fundraising and development know that people often like to be asked; people often want to know how to be of help, especially when the situation involves a caring relationship.

As for donating "to the truly desperately poor," Jeanne and I include in our philanthropic plan not only organizations that provide direct service to low-income people and their families, but also organizations that work toward social change to address the economic and social injustices that are often institutionalized.

Ben and Wess -

It's true that there are many viewpoints out there, and so all the blogs that lift up individual concerns and that publish essays on social justice, etc. allow that much greater an outreach.

It's also true that QuakerQuaker isn't for everyone, just like The Good Raised Up isn't for everyone.

Norea -

Actually, Martin and QuakerQuaker have "passed the money plate" before, from time to time, even before Ning announced changes to its structure.

What's different for me this time, though, is that, whether or not QuakerQuaker remains as a free site within Ning, I cannot in good conscience receive the privilege of accessing QQ at no cost to me while Martin is still spending his time and likely other of his personal resources as he walks the line between ministry of the Spirit and service to the community.


ben schultz said...

Dear Liz,
A little point.
There is a difference between "not for everyone", and keep the hell out---hellbound.
I wonder if you are aware of the irony in what you said?
Oh well. sigh
Love Ben ( really )
ps. A one sided conversation is----