Thursday, April 07, 2005

ASZ Fundraising, Day Three - Chart of Accounts

This post stays at the top all day on 4/7/05. Scroll down for today's regularly scheduled bloviating.

Ok, so far this week, I've discussed why I'm asking you for money, what you get for your money, and now I'm going to lay out what my plans are with the donations that are collected during this fundraising drive. Again, just asking for your help is difficult for me, so bear with me if I'm a bit clumsy at this...


Oooh. Jeez. Lost my head there for a second.

Listen, we gotta get out of Blogger, and we need your help. Yeah, a few of the big boys (Atrios and Gilliard come immediately to mind) can make Blogger work for them despite the severe limitations / lack of support, simply because they have a built in constituency that's willing to either put up with it or wait for Blogger to be fixed when it's screwed up. Plus, they're not particularly looking to expand their horizons. I mean, if something's working, great. No reason to screw with it.

ASZ is different. To grow, and take this blog to a more collaborative level as a destination in the Left Blogzome rather than a momentary stepping stone to other places, ASZ needs to expand. I've test driven a lot of blogging software in the past few weeks, and have gravitated toward Textpattern over the past few days, though I'm not completely settled on it. I've added a chatroom (clunky and buggy though it is), and I desperately want to move to a non-Java solution for the chatroom (as would most of our users) - but there's no non-spyware "freebies" out there. Thinking ahead, it would be great to be able to provide everyone at ASZ with personal journal space, and we desperately need a "netmeeting room" to coordinate activities between we activists who care to participate in that kind of thing.

So, based on some online window browsing and test drives that I've taken, the hard costs of site upgrades are going to run somewhere between $500 and $750 (domain, hosting, software licenses, installations, blah blah blah). I would also love to upgrade trash the machine that I use for blogging - in this day and age, a cranky 350mHz Pentium II running Windoze 98 (not even SE) is not the optimal platform for even word processing, much less industrial strength blogging. Any donations above and beyond web infrastructure needs will be used to upgrade my blogging computer.

In this first round of fundraising, I'm dealing with infrastructure issues. In future (actually, continuing) rounds of fundraising and ad revenue, I'd love to be able to personally "tip" the principal ASZ contributors who put so much time, heart and effort into making this blog fly. But we've gotta build the foundation for the future first. Certainly, if you have any infrastructure suggestions, chime in in the comments below.

Again, you can help ASZ live long and prosper. Click the "tip bucket" icon in the right menu, or click on this link.

Update, 4:15PM - not to get pissy or anything, but there's apparently a glut of competition out there for blogging dollars this week. I didn't choose this week to run up against a couple of the big boys. In fact, I think it was the other way around (in at least one case). Wolcott's pushing Gillard's drive. Atrios is pushing Aravosis' drive. ASZ is fortunate to have several "independents" who believe ASZ's fundraiser is worthy of bringing to the attention of their readershp. I sincerely appreciate the kind words from of Michael @ Spontaneous Arising, Karl and Matt at Philly Future and Tattered Coat, respectively, and PSoTD of, well, PSoTD.

One last thing, for all the fundraising snarking I've done this week, please, I don't want anyone who's "cash challenged" to feel crappy about it if the bank account won't support a contribution right now. That's an all too common ailment in the Bush economy.

Tomorrow I want to know what you think. Day four of the blog-a-thon continues with ASZ Reader Suggestions.