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October 26, 2006

Opportunity knocks for the Read the Bills Act

Opportunity knocks for the Read the Bills Act

DC Downsizers, I’m in a great mood today. Why? Well, each month, our goal is to raise $14,000, and as of right now, we’re only $146 away from the October finish-line.

But it gets better. A donor has already submitted $5,000 to the Downsize DC effort to help us start November. On top of that, we have now crossed the $5,000 level in monthly pledges. That means our team already has more than $10,000 raised towards the $14,000 needed for November!!!

We have consistently said that when we reach the $14,000 level in month in, month out pledged support, we would do two things.
1) Introduce a One Subject at a Time Act.
2) Launch Operation Everywhere, our plan to get the Downsize DC message out everywhere, everyday. In other words, we’d take the marginal income that exceeded our $14,000 per month need, and invest it in outreach advertising and recruitment efforts. We’d invest heavily in growth.

Well, since we have such a great start on November, I’d like to take the first baby-steps in the direction of Operation Everywhere. Today is October 26th. We have five days left this month. And we have a plan we’d like to share with you. If it excites you, then we encourage you to donate generously.

On Monday, we launched a brand new campaign, “Save our ports from online poker sites!” We’ve criticized the Senate’s decision to stuff an online gaming prohibition bill into the Port Security bill — another example of logrolling. And this logrolling — combining an unpopular proposal with a popular proposal at the last minute so that the unpopular proposal will roll right through — wouldn’t have occured if we passed the Read the Bills Act.

The online poker community has begun to organize to oppose this bill — to call for its repeal. The Poker community is a sleeping giant, which, according to writers like Radley Balko and Ed Brayton, has now been roused from its slumber. These gamers may have been apolitical in their outlook before. Well, they’re not now.

PokerPulse conducted a survey in May 2005 that they believed covered over 80% of the online poker world. From that sample, they estimated that during that time 1,840,100 people played poker that month.

In the last three weeks, a handful of people have volunteered to me that they play online poker. I was surprised in a couple of cases. I’ve even heard a story of a young man, as told to me by his father (a DC Downsizer), who makes his living playing Texas Holdem. From every one of them, I’ve gotten the sense that this game is still growing in popularity, and that the numbers who are effected by this unconstitutional law would be even higher if the survey had been conducted in last few months.

This is an untapped market. They have money and spend time on the Internet. As of now, neither political party seems to be in a position to offer relief to these folks.

We can help them.

And these players will understand and appreciate both our campaign to repeal the online gaming ban, as well as the Read the Bills Act. They’re really upset with Congress. They are a “warm market” of potential DC Downsizers.

They can help us.

Over time, this market will chill. Each day they get a little cooler.

We must act quickly.

Are they hot enough for us to recruit them to our cause? There’s only one way to find out.

We want to go where the poker players are, and we want to invite them to join us. When they come, we want to tell them about the Read the Bills Act, and how it would’ve prevented this Senate-sneakiness from happening.

We want to do a mini-Operation Everywhere in the Poker Community. Once we cross the $14,000 level, and remember, we’re only $146 away for October as I write this, we can begin to buy targeted advertising to reach this market. How effective we’ll be is largely based on how much money we can invest in this outreach. How much money we have to invest is entirely based on whether or not the people on this list respond.

Many of you have. You’ve helped. We know that. Some pledgers have said to me, “Why do you keep asking me for money, because I already pledge?” Well, we’re asking everyone on this list to help. We never know which appeal will provoke someone to make their first contribution, or provoke a fellow-pledger to up their monthly support. And we want you pledgers to see that we’re not asking you to shoulder this effort to Downsize DC all by yourselves. We want you to see that we’re inviting folks to join you and we are having success doing that. It’s exciting.

But for those of you who have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for a dramatic moment — a real growth opportunity — this is it. And so, I want to encourage you to give as generously as you can to help us. Here’s how you can help…

1) It would be great if someone would step forward with a $2,000, $1,000 or $500 matching pledge. That means we wouldn’t collect your contribution until we matched it with a bunch of incoming contributions ($500 is the minimum we can accept as a matching-style pledge). To make such a pledge, please contact us directly by email at

2) There are over 23,600 people on this email list. If just half of the folks on this list gave two dollars, we could make a real serious penetration into this niche. But the way things work, less than 1% respond to any given email appeal. So we need supporters at the $250, $100, $76, $50, $35, $25, and $15 levels as well.

3) Of course, monthly credit-card pledges are still very much encouraged. The first month’s amount will be applied to this effort. And starting next month, we’ll get to our goal that much faster, hastening the day when we’ll be able to do Operation Everywhere activity every single month. You can pledge any amount you like, starting at $3, and proceeding upwards to $5, $8, $10, $15, $25, $25, $50, $76 or more. 

This is an investment in our future. This advertising will bring more supporters who will join you in sending messages, making phone calls, and doing other Downsize DC activities. Some will become donors and pledgers, further expanding our outreach.

Our number one goal here at Downsize DC has been the same all along. We want to build an army so large that Congress cannot afford to ignore us — so large that we can spread our message everywhere, everyday.

And I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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