Proposal for Community Discussion - New Donation Options

Discussion in 'Announcements & Community Discussions' started by Dark Star, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Dark Star

    Dark Star Senior Admin Staff Member Donor

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    Hello, all...

    Well, we hope that everyone is liking the new platform, and feeling more and more comfortable with the new normal. I think we have most of the initial issues worked out, and 90% of what isn't solved yet should be done by sometime this weekend. List gets shorter every few hours. It's still going to take some time to tweak and massage a few things, but most functionality should be up to speed by now. Thank y'all for your patience and your input.

    We've had a few people ask about the donations page right from Day One, but we didn't put it up for awhile because we were kicking around some new options, and wanted time to discuss it with the staff. It's back up now, so anyone who wants to have at it should by all means feel free!:) Because yeah - we spent some money this week... but I'm not here asking for money. I loathe asking for money anyway (which is probably part of the reason we're always broke), but in this case I especially do not want to give that impression. I don't want to cheapen what we've been doing these last few days.

    Rather, the purpose of this thread is to float some ideas out there for the community and give the members a chance to discuss them and help us fine tune it.

    We have some ambitious plans for where we want to take this forum, and let's be honest. We'll be spending. I won't get into numbers, because I don't want to make people feel pressured, but for the sake of discussion we'll be spending 3 to 4 times what we used to spend. Improved hosting, technical support, additional security features, and most importantly some added features that we believe will elevate this board above anything else of its kind on the internet. I don't want to overpromise, but at this point I'll just say that if we succeed at what we're trying to do, people are going to feel very good about having been a part of it.

    We're going to spend that money no matter what, but the more help we get the easier it will be for us to afford it. We have a few ideas about how we can raise some of the revenue offsite, and we will be pursuing those avenues to the fullest extent possible. We would really prefer to stay away from ads, and that's not an immediate option at all. Most of the money will be coming from our pockets and from outside sources, but however much we can raise internally will help a lot.

    We know that many of our members will continue to donate $5, $10, $20 whenever it's feasible for them, and we will always be grateful for that. Truth is, there've been a lot of months where that was the only thing that kept the lights on. These are the people who keep PF going.

    However, there is also a group of donors who sometimes contribute larger sums of money. And while we are very grateful for that support, we have also always felt badly that we could not offer these donors some tangible validation for what that money bought. We think we have an idea that would not only reassure them of what their contribution has accomplished, but also give them some tangible public recognition for what they have done for the community.

    To that purpose, what we are thinking of doing is this. Some of the features we need cost as much as somewhere in the hundreds for the initial purchase. What we're considering doing is to let members sponsor specific features they think are important to the future direction of the site, in return for which they would get prominent recognition for being the member who made that feature possible. Something like, "so-and-so, sole sponsor of the search feature." "So-and-so, partial sponsor of Political Forum's security software." "So-and-so, sponsor of Political Forum's image galleries." And so on. And, a year later - when the license for that particular piece of software comes up for renewal - the renewal fee is a fraction of the original purchase price, and that member could maintain their status by donating just the renewal cost.

    We feel this would be a way for donors to see tangible results for the money they donate, and at the same time give them the recognition they deserve by telling the entire community that this particular user is the reason we all enjoy such-and-such a feature. Obviously a win for the site, and a win for the membership as a whole, but more importantly a double win for the members who believe in this site enough to reach down into their pocket and make it all happen.

    Now, we can talk about the details of how this would shake out; and, if people think it's a workable idea, we'll probably get some good suggestions on how to make it work. But for now, I'd just like to get a general sense of whether people think this is a proper direction to go.

    And, we may as well also use this thread to kick around any other suggestions for how we could make the donations system work out as well and as comfortably as possible for all the members. What else could we be doing differently? Any thoughts, criticisms, or suggestions?

    Thanks, everyone.
     
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  2. wgabrie

    wgabrie Well-Known Member Donor

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    Where is the link for the donation page? It should be at the top.

    Anyway, I don't like it that it's so much more expensive to run this place.

    I always donated just to keep this place running, just the way it is. Not to add features.

    Well, the donor flag was enough for me (as well as not being nagged for donations for a month), but I know some people didn't donate at all because they didn't want to draw attention to themselves.

    When I hear about donating towards features all I see is a group of goals and all being funded at between 6-12%, stuck in the works. It's like the average of a funding website, where people donate to a cause and everything is just a sliver of the way funded. Tell me I'm wrong. :eek:
     
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  3. Bowerbird

    Bowerbird Well-Known Member

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    One forum I belonged to sponsored advertising but if you were a donor you did not see the ads

    Another turned off features like signatures or avatars over a certain size unless you were a donor
     
  4. wgabrie

    wgabrie Well-Known Member Donor

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    Oh and where will the funds come from??? There's no people. On the old forum there were hundreds of members and guests on at any one time, but here on the new forums there are just half as many people on at one time. I haven't seen the members number rise above about 50-60 members online, but on the old server there were a minimum 150 members on when it was off hours. And 300 or more when the server was busy.

    Either a lot of people haven't made it to the new site or there are a lot of bots that haven't been upgraded yet. :eek:

    I've been worried about the lack of members. Can't you do a redirect from the old site to the new one?
    http://www.politicalforum.com/forum.php
    points to
    http://www.politicalforum.com/index.php
    ???
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  5. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Political forums always see a drop in traffic after a Presidential election. Slowly the former members start returning. It happens every four years.

    But this past election was like no other election in history.

    You have millions of voters who had to go into therapy. Millions of snowflakes taking refuge in safe spaces.

    Also George Soros is no longer giving money to the DNC and the Hillary campaign to pay for the political trolls that were all over the political forums last year.

    Now that is a big issue that I also noticed wgabrie.

    When the new Xenforo format came on line it took me more than a few minutes to find the new URL.

    When someone links to the old DP URL they need to be redirected to the new URL.

    It can be done because I have seen it done.
     
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  6. Deckel

    Deckel Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I suppose it won't hurt to try, but I am not sure that it will change much in the way of donations. People do it or they don't/can't.

    As for traffic, I am wondering if the software would allow additional tabs at the top to where there could be a tab for what is now the "More topics" subforum so that maybe people who wanted to come in and not wade through the political side could more easily jump to the apolitical stuff. Not sure. This site always feels to weighed down in political subforums to the point it is even sometimes hard to re-find a prior thread you saw but didn't comment on at the time because it could be in any of a half dozen different subforums by the time you get back to it. There have been a few threads I really wanted to think hard on before I posted in them, and then I couldn't find the stupid things.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2017
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  7. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    Unique, larger or decorative font for member name after donating.

    Notation or animated GIF I signature line.

    V.I.P. board within forum for donors with fun/unique content and interaction inaccessible to non donors.

    PF game.

    Just a couple ideas.
     
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  8. wgabrie

    wgabrie Well-Known Member Donor

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    I just want to let you know that I don't see a donation page anywhere. Is it on a page that's only a visible to admins? Because that would be a big oopsie. :eek:
     
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  9. Derideo_Te

    Derideo_Te Well-Known Member

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    The Sponsorship concept makes sense but ultimately you need ongoing revenues to keep the site up and running.

    Have you considered a foundation? Either create your own or apply to the kinds of foundations that encourage free speech. If you can have them sponsoring this site then that could go towards ensuring an ongoing revenue stream. And yes, reach out to foundations on both sides of the aisle and explain what you are trying to accomplish here. From what you have mentioned in other posts I can see where some of them might be interested and some of them might even sponsor the features that you were mentioning.

    And then there are foundations where you could form a symbiotic relationship. For instance if you approached the Susan G Kormen Foundation and offered to do a fundraising for them on PF and in turn they returned a percentage of the funds raised through PF to help support this site. You could have banners, links, etc for that month and when members here use those links their donations are accredited to PF.

    Another source of donations is corporations but you will need your own 501c foundation before you can start requesting them because they will need the details for tax purposes.

    If you can set up your own foundation in a manner that generates sufficient funding to operate this website then you won't need any additional donations but they don't hurt either.

    Just my 2 cents worth! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  10. Just_a_Citizen

    Just_a_Citizen Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Not sure where else I should post this, but are there still blogs?

    I may be missing something though. Meds kicking in.
     
  11. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    How much would it be to add a chatroom to this forum?
     
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  12. Just_a_Citizen

    Just_a_Citizen Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    A lot depends on if you want pure text, or A/V.

    The former may already be a quick enable option as it stands.

    The latter, well, depending on volume of use, & bells & whistles, can be expensive.

    Not to mention the added strain on staff, in either case... But A/V in particular.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  13. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    A chatroom need not be cluttered with A/V as it generally degrades from communication. Staffing should not be a big problem if members are designated to monitor and correct as needed...Hell I would even be willing.
     
  14. Just_a_Citizen

    Just_a_Citizen Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    For sure. I agree AV causes more problems, than it allows for fun.

    However, live AV Debates are a HOOT!

    I'm sure there would be offers extended to the membership, for Moding, or Admining a chat of any type.

    There usually is.
     
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  15. Just_a_Citizen

    Just_a_Citizen Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Where's that donation link again?
     
  16. wgabrie

    wgabrie Well-Known Member Donor

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    your user name menu -> Donations
     
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  17. Just_a_Citizen

    Just_a_Citizen Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Ah, there you go!

    Thanks yo.
     
  18. Kyklos

    Kyklos Active Member Donor

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    I am very careful of what organizations I donate to, but this discussion board has so many features that it's like driving a luxury car.

    Some boards don't even has 1/10th the functionality of this board. So if you drive a luxury car, it will cost a little more. The board's software features has saved me a lot of time--still learning-- so it's worth it for me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  19. Honky Kong

    Honky Kong Well-Known Member

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    Rent the sponsors their own forum, kind of like a cyber mini mall. This will direct any spam to a limited area. If you get lucky and get say Centuryy 21 and they know how to thread start they COULD educate readers on home loans and rates. On site professional services for members.
     
  20. yiostheoy

    yiostheoy Well-Known Member

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    Excellent idea.
     
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