As 2020 draws to a close, I am writing to share with you my thoughts on how far our Group has come since March. I would love to hear your reflections about what you believe the future of our Community may hold, as we move towards 2021.
Would you like to see our Community alive next year? Is such a goal viable? If you care about our future, please keep reading. When you are finished, I would love to hear your feedback.
It is not possible to make my story short, but I promise to tell you a funny tale a little further below! ?
The comments you share are always inspiring. Some of my personal favorites are when you write that our Group is the first thing that you read in the mornings, as an alternative to the unsettling articles in the newspaper. Other Members comment that the calming posts of our Group are what they like to relax with before going to sleep, instead of watching the disturbing news on TV. Others say that when they visit Facebook, they go straight to our page to avoid the negative content showing elsewhere. When I read these comments, my heart wants to sing! Lots of happy songs! ?
We all know how gloomy stories usually dominate traditional sources of mass media. There have been many studies carried out, showing the negative side-effects that exposure to such content has on our well-being.
There are many ways to see the innovation in what we’ve established together here in our Group. One of them is seeing our creation as a progressive media channel. In less than a year, through the power of our Community and our Admin Team, we created an International and inspirational Member-generated media channel Community, which has a one-of-a-kind loving voice and positive identity, and which has increased the well-being of its followers. What an amazing achievement!
Our wonderful Group was created on 21 March 2020, right at the beginning of Lockdown, all with a click of the mouse. The Group rapidly gained popularity and went viral, in this viral world. What a wonderful surprise! Together with the joy I felt, it also presented me with great responsibility and loads of work!
We are currently an awesome Community of more than 570K Members, spanning 165 countries, with more friends joining every day. What a joy!
The great success of our Group is a result of two elements: your fabulous enthusiasm, together with the dedicated, 24/7 work of our Team. Our mutual efforts have made our Community the pearl it is today.
In my previous post, I provided you with a detailed overview of the daily work and tasks our Admin Team completes behind-the-scenes. I was very touched by your encouraging feedback, thank you! For anyone who has not seen this post and would like to read about the vast and complex tasks involved in keeping our Group running, I have prepared a series of 15 articles. You may read them here: https://bit.ly/3pSz32h
I really enjoy reading your comments and seeing how the Group adds value to your life, as Members. It makes all the hard work worthwhile! I have used your comments to present an article on the benefits and achievements that our Community offers its Members, which is available here: https://bit.ly/3pKV3ML
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 423 Group Members who kindly donated to our fundraising efforts in 2020. We are all deeply grateful for your support. This has been integral in helping us to keep our Group alive up until now and loyal to its loving nature.
Now that we have all the Admin duties documented properly, our mission going into 2021, is evaluating the Project’s status, manpower needs, financial requirements, sustainability, and chances of survival.
One of the main conclusions of the above-mentioned documentation is the importance of always having a Moderator on-shift. This is vital to running our Group. Without this aspect of work, we would find that spam, violence, negativity, controversy and disturbing photos would dominate our feed. As such, going into 2021 we must have sufficient manpower and budget required for our 24/7 Content Moderation.
However, this equates to 8760 hours of Moderation per year. Multiply this number by a reasonable hourly wage, and the result equals the yearly budget that our Community requires for Moderation alone!
Could the solution be the recruitment of volunteers? Well, I already tried that in the early days of this Project. I found that, unfortunately, volunteer manpower is not the right fit for our Project. My story of how I came to this conclusion may be found here: https://bit.ly/35JDEvL
In addition to the requirement of all these hours of Moderation per year (which I believe may be met by hiring four Moderators), our Admin Team also needs a Project Manager, Virtual Assistant, Website Developer and Fundraising Leader, as described in my above-mentioned series of posts.
Should we want the Project to stay alive next year, there needs to be a certain level of financial structure and security. After studying and presenting the details, the reality is that if we wish to sustain the Project throughout 2021, we need to generate annual funds equaling US $95,000. These funds will go towards supporting our Admin Team in continuing their work as I have detailed in my posts, and towards preserving the benefits of the Group that we hope you all enjoy.
As we set our sights on next year and evaluate our Community’s chances of survival, we find ourselves in the following dilemma. On one hand, there is a very large gap between our crowdfunding achievements this year and our financial needs for 2021. In the 2020 Fundraiser, we were successful in raising only 10% of our projected budget. In other words, we have a long way to go if the Group is to stay alive next year. On the other hand, the optimistic viewpoint is that we are such a huge, loving family, that with a better fundraising campaign, there may be more potential to reach our goals.
In the video below: The alarm devices of our “hero-moderator”, Layne Cain. She’s got two! For months she’s been setting them to ring several times a night, so that our Group doesn’t stay abandoned. When one or both of the alarm clocks chime, Layne wakes up! She moderates! Then she goes back to bed. And then she does it again!
I, too, have been doing my share. I’ve been moderating from my bed, in the dark, sometimes with only one eye open! Even in these moments of semi-consciousness I was able to beat some of the most horrible spammers before they are able to do damage to the feed! Many sleepless nights!
2020 has been a unique year, as I am sure we can all agree. We have stretched ourselves extensively to set this Project up and maintain it. This “baby” is standing on its feet now. As we move towards next year, the time has come to think of another, more reasonable plan. Friends, would you like to help the baby learn to walk?
I have long had the habit of being an optimist, but it is also important for me to keep things realistic. Managing a crowdfunding campaign for 2021 would require a huge amount of energy and effort. Is it worth it? Does it have the possibility to accomplish our monetary goal? Will we be able to get the support of our Community? Dear friends, before we make a decision, I would love to hear your opinion.
To answer some questions that I have received, I need to tell you that I am not looking to make this Project my full-time job. I actually have a business of my own and after months of neglect, I need to get back to it. But I have no reason to complain! On the contrary, I feel very grateful and blessed for the opportunity I have had to make a difference, touch hearts and encourage people through this difficult year. In 2020 I allowed myself to be carefree about my other duties, because I saw the Group as a wonderful chance to bring happiness to so many people in such a challenging time. What a blessing! I am thankful for that. The opportunity to help, build positivity and bring joy to so many people, doesn’t come to one’s doorstep every day! Since March 2020, I have dedicated myself full-time and invested funds from my own pocket for the creation and setup of our inspiring Project. I have rendered service to this Group with joy, through a full-hearted mission. I truly hope that, as Members, you have felt that.
However, now that the Community is all in place, it is for you, my friends, to decide if you want to keep it going. It is up to you.
Given all of the above, I would really love to hear from you. Would you like to see our Group continue throughout next year? Do you believe that there is a chance that we will be able to create the vital funds required for our Community to survive and continue to flourish in 2021?
I love reading your that refer to our Group as a “refuge” and an “escape”. That’s lovely to read! That being said, I would like to offer you another perspective. Our Community is what has been connecting us directly to life. Here we meet reality, which is love.
Has this Group been an inspiring achievement, limited only to the days of Lockdown and Pandemic? Or, could we make the achievement last longer? Time will tell. Together, it is in our hands!
Every time that I feel a bit down or sad about the attempts that I am making to keep this Community alive, I go back and read your overwhelming, loving comments. They fill my heart with joy and motivation again. Numerous people have expressed their wish for the Group to remain active for a long time. I really am doing my very best here, with what I can, while I can, until I know better, and I know that you too, are doing the same.
More windows, less darkness.
What do you see from your window?
With love, stay safe ❤️ ?