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August 25, 2006

A Brief Message

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch…
From Board Chair, Gary Nolan.

I hate writing today’s message. I greatly prefer reading President Jim Babka’s positive messages about our growth where he tells you about new initiatives. I even prefer when Jim goes negative on Congress and wages war against their unconstitutional, budget-busting, irresponsible behavior.

But today, we don’t have the time to be positive about growth or negative about Congress. I have an urgent appeal to make.

Yesterday, Jim Babka told you we had less than $4,000 to raise to meet this month’s budget need. We raised $345. As of now, we still need $3,600 to meet our goal. Can you help?

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about our progress, even financially-speaking. Since the start of June Jim reports to me that we’ve doubled — DOUBLED — our net pledge income. We expect to have $4,300 in pledge income in September.

If you’re keeping score, those pledges have a 12-month value of $51,600; over 30% of what we need to fund this organization. We’re grateful for this increase in support, and we encourage folks to make pledges from $3 to $250 per month, via credit-card. It’s an investment in our future.

But all of this time spent on fundraising, and the traditional decline in support that occurs during the Summer months, has cost the Downsize DC Team some opportunities.

In August, we cut back on staff for two weeks. Every hourly employee saw their hours cut. The two salaried employees, Perry Willis and Jim Babka, took pay cuts for three weeks.

Jim was hesitant to tell you we did this. He didn’t want to make it sound like we’re in trouble, because we’re not. But our ability to keep moving forward may be in jeopardy. We need both the funds and the staff to achieve our goals, and sooner is better than later.

We had planned to enter the world of Internet advertising in July. We haven’t done so. Jim doesn’t know when we’ll start.

We’ve passed-up the opportunity to join in a coalition battle on a tax issue. In fact, we’ve left at least three issues on the table, just this Summer, for which we would’ve launched campaigns.

We have new plans for our blog — exciting plans that would attract traffic and media attention. Those have stalled all Summer long.

We had started outreach to bloggers. That was also, temporarily, put on hold.

And it took our team an extra month to get our new “Write the Laws Act” campaign launched. As a result, we decided we weren’t ready to tackle a “One Subject at a Time Act” bill — or any other Downsize DC, long-term agenda issue — until we had our base covered.

And on top of all that, we really want to take our plans for the Delegate Parties (Meetup groups) to a whole new level. Those groups need tools, support, and assistance. Creating new groups is going to require more than sending out a Dispatch message every few weeks. Perry and Jim tell me that a small investment here could yield huge dividends.

But we’re not making those investments right now. We’re putting them off. We’ve had to be more conservative — work in smaller increments. I want to speed things up and I’m hoping you do to.

The solution to getting back on-track is simple. Meet the monthly budget of $14,000 — especially in the months of August, September, and October. If we do that — even if fundraising tapers-off during the months of November and December (which is normal) — we’ll be just fine heading into 2007. And, we’ll have the confidence to resurrect or start the things I’ve mentioned in this message almost immediately.

If we can’t turn to you, then to whom do we turn. We need your help to Downsize DC. Each month, we grow and our influence expands. Let’s speed up our momentum. Let’s hasten the day we can hold our No Legislation Without Representation Conference and Congressional Invasion.

Thank you for your generous support,

Gary Nolan
Board Chair, Inc.

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