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June 21, 2006

Babka Commits a Hate Crime?

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

I wrote most of what follows with my tongue in my cheek, but also with a serious intent in my mind. Please read it in the same way . . .

It is hateful to me to use the word hate. I hate doing it. But I feel compelled.

Hate overwhelms me this morning. I hate writing this message. I hate fundraising. I got started in this business to Downsize DC, not to do fundraising. I hate writing fundraising appeals. I hate asking for money. So . . .

My partners and I created an organization that would cost almost nothing to run. We also seized on the Internet as a means to raise the small funding needed at almost no cost. I hate spending money to raise money. And direct mail, phone calls, and fundraising events, are all expensive and time-consuming. I hate them. But emails, web pages, and small monthly pledges, cost little. So I love them.

I want more love in my life and less hate (don’t forget about that tongue in my cheek). So my partners and I created micro-pledges to cover our micro-costs with a micro-amount of fundraising. I love it. Most things on the Internet are free, so we’ve brought the cost of running closer to free. Micro-pledges of $3, $4, $5, $6, $7, $8, or $9-a-month or more could reduce our need to ask for funds to a micro-level. I love that.

But I hate that I must push to get to that point. I hate the fact that I have no choice. I also hate that I must compare my organization to what others do, but I think it is warranted.

Some organizations spend millions doing education, producing valuable educational tools and reports. But these many-millions spent reach only a few tens of thousands. By comparison, Downsize DC educates tens of thousands spending only $14,000 a month. And we have the potential, because of how we do what we do, to educate many millions spending only many hundreds of thousands. But that’s not all . . .

Some organizations spend millions on political action, but this action has only an indirect impact on the root of the problem, which is Congress. By comparison, Downsize DC spends our micro-funding on actions that strike directly at Congress. Better yet . . .

Every action we take also educates at the same time. It’s a two-for-one deal. But that’s not all . . .

Some organizations spend millions trying to find and recruit new supporters. We do the same thing more rapidly for a little over ten thousand a month. Better yet . . .

Every action we take to recruit also educates and pressures Congress at the same time. We kill three birds with every stone we throw. But that’s still not all . . .

If you asked most organizations how they plan to reduce the size of government, I think you would get mostly blank stares. Few even consider the question, let alone provide answers. They are content to spend millions and millions while never drawing any closer to what should be the objective — downsizing Big Government. Or . . .

If they do have an answer to the question of how they plan to reduce Big Government, the realization of that plan is decades away, at best. Meanwhile, government grows and grows. But . . .

Things are different with Downsize DC. We have a compelling answer that could be implemented, not decades from now, but tomorrow, if we had sufficient support. The answer is this (and it bears constant repeating) . . .

A small number of people — the 535 people in Congress — need to be surrounded by appeals to Downsize DC. Everywhere they turn, they must be hammered by these appeals.

* They must hear them when they turn on their TV.
* They must hear them on the radio while they drive to Capitol Hill.
* They must see them on bumper stickers and billboards.
* They must hear them at Town Hall meetings and from constituents sitting in their offices.
* They must hear them in phone calls from constituents.
* They must see them in faxes and Internet communications and in the daily mail.

Better yet, these appeals should be tied to concrete proposals, with broad popular support. Things like the “Read the Bills Act,” our soon to be unveiled “Write the Laws Act,” and a soon to be proposed “Single Subject Act.”

These appeals must be relentless, mind-numbing, and inescapable. They must be everywhere, everyday.

Congress must be so inundated with demands to Downsize DC that they feel compelled to comply; whether out of political self-interest or fatigue (we don’t care which). They can choose to lead the Downsize DC parade, or be run over by it. Either choice will do.

It could take decades to reach this point, but it doesn’t have to. It could start tomorrow, and expand rapidly. Just $168,000 of secure funding, through large annual donations, or small monthly micro- or macro-pledges would allow every additional dollar raised to fund advertising, which would recruit new supporters, which would provide more funding (with fewer appeals!), and buy more advertising, so that Downsize DC becomes a perpetual growth machine.

No one else has an answer like our answer, or one that could begin to happen at such a low level of funding. If you asked most organizations what it would take to start a self-perpetuating program of mass outreach and mass action I think you would get more of those blank stares.

But I’ve gotten away from my theme of hate, and I need to return to it, much as I hate to do so. I hate asking you for money. I want to do it less often; far less often. And I hate worrying about money. I want to worry about Congress instead, and make Congress worry about us. So I feel the need to be pushy, much as I hate to do it, because I know that achieving our goal will fill my heart with love, and yours too.

You can help make this happen by making a one-time donation, or by starting a monthly credit card pledge of $10 or more, or by starting a micro-pledge of $3, $4, $5, $6, $7, $8, and $9. I hate to have to be so pushy, but I know that the sooner I get the job done, the sooner we’re all going to love what happens next. You can make your “love offering” to solve my hateful problem, by clicking here.

BTW: One of our favorite supporters, James Marquart of Indiana, who is already a regular donor and monthly pledger, has made an offer to help us out. If we can raise 9 more $10 per month or more pledgers, he’ll be the tenth person to commit ten additional dollars per month. Please help us take James’ money. You can do so here.

With my tongue in my cheek, hope in my heart, and a serious purpose in my mind, I am sincerely yours . . .

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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