By Damon Krane
April 14, 2008
(Editor’s note, 2/13/13 – The following example of my organizational literature is a fundraising letter for The InterActivist which outlines the accomplishments of the magazine and its former parent organization People Might.)
Hello! We, the staff of The InterActivist, hope you enjoy this complimentary copy of our magazine. You can find our current edition at numerous outdoor distribution boxes, newsstands and countertop displays on Ohio University’s campus and all over Athens.
You may already be among the thousands of regular InterActivist readers. Or perhaps you’ve just noticed the magazine but have yet to pick up a copy. In any case, we want to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about Athens’ only politically progressive magazine.
Published monthly during OU’s regular sessions and available to readers free of charge, over the past four years The InterActivist has…
• brought independent news, progressive views and information on regional social justice activism to thousands of readers
• published in-depth interviews with a dozen veteran local activists, including: Mickey Hart, Sonia Marcus, Akil Houston, David Logan and Art and Peggy Gish
• published additional interviews with the members of a dozen campus and community groups, including: Latino Student Union, AFSME Local Union 1699, The Wire, Student Sierra Coalition, American Association of University Professors (OU Chapter) and the Athens Center for Film and Video
• given free event listings and group profiles to 40 social service and social/environmental justice organizations in our region, such as Appalachian Peace and Justicer Nefwork, Open Doors, Hip FIop Congress, Marietta Neighbors for Clean Air, Students for a Democratic Society, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio and <strongthe Buckeye Forest Council
While less visible, equally important is The InterActivist’s role in developing the skills of young progressive journalists, activists and future community organizers.
, the fledgling local non-profit organization that publishes the InterActivist in conjunction with a coalition of progressive student groups at OU, is dedicated to turning more of the progressive movement’s potential into the power to achieve change. Specifically, we work to better connect the vibrant local progressive community to Athens County’s annual influx of nearly 5,000 college students through projects that strengthen movement infrastructure, expand the reach of progressive ideas and hone the skills of young activists.
The InterActivist is People Might’s flagship project. Since People Might assumed leadership of The InterActivist two and a half years ago, the magazine has given free, hands-on experience in journalism, media production and grassroots organizing to the nearly 100 young progressives who’ve served on the magazine’s production staff. While People Might’s director and project coordinator for The InterActivist is responsible for recruiting and training staffers, as well as serving as editor to our writers, The InterActivist’s unique democratic cooperative structure maximizes opportunities for staff to develop their skills. Whether a reporter, photographer, columnist or graphic designer, each staff member has voting power with regard to story assignments, publishing decisions and overall magazine governance. What’s more, all staffers are eligible to join People Might’s board of directors.
Meanwhile, a partnership between The InterAcivist and Campus Progress, a division of the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress, enables People Might to connect InterActivist staffers to a national network of progressive media activists at dozens of U.S. campuses. Campus Progress also provides our staffers with free access to skill-building workshops with such renowned journalists as Seymour Hersh, Helen Thomas, Barbara Ehrenreich and Eric Schlosser, plus staff of The Nation, In These Times, Mother Jones and The Progressive magazines.
While The InterActivist and People Might certainly have room for improvement, we are proud of our past accomplishments and continue to forge ahead. However, funding our work remains a formidable challenge. While the majority of our printing funds come from our allied student groups, OU Student Activities Commission has drastically reduced funding for The InterActivist – from $11,000 fall quarter to just $2,000 spring quarter. More frustrating, while the university provides The Post with $38,000 per year toward the salary of the newspaper’s full-time business manager (who then secures the paper’s advertising revenue) and luxurious rent-free office space in Baker Center, OU mandates that none of The InterActivist’s co-sponsoring student groups’ funds can be spent on staff compensation or office space for The InterActivist. Although The InterActivist was finalist for a major grant last summer and continues to pursue funds from private foundations, we currently rely on fundraising events, advertising revenue and individual donors to cover out relatively small (but nonetheless real) operating costs.
People Might was recently forced to close its office in the 8 North Court building. Thus we now simply seek to cover the modest part-time salary of our single paid staffer and to compensate for recent – hopefully temporary – reductions in university funding. Thanks to the support of local musicians and our recent, highly-publicized foray into male stripping (Athens News cover story: March 17, 2008), we are scraping by. However, we need greater support from local progressives in order to succeed.
If you support our effort, please consider making a donation to The InterActivist and People Might today. Donations of $100 or more are tax deductible when made payable to our fiscal agent, The Buckeye Forest Council. Smaller donations are also appreciated and should be made payable directly to People Might. Please mail your donation to: People Might / P.O. Box *** / Athens, OH 45701
If you have any questions or suggestions, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at peoplemight@*****.com or call director Damon Krane at ***-***-****