Here we share the letter we received from Juan Cruz Mones Cazón, who is the Director of the organization and was also speakers and jury of the SABF.
“You know how sometimes in life you go through a bad moment, and when your friends hear about it later, they say, “Why didn’t you say something? Why didn’t you ask? We would have helped.”
That’s where Idealist is now, and that’s why we need your help. Very briefly, here’s what happened. Over the past ten years, most of our funding has come from the small fees we charge organizations for posting their jobs on Idealist. By September 2008, after years of steady growth, these little drops were covering 70% of our budget.
Then, in October of that year, the financial crisis exploded, many organizations understandably froze their hiring, and from one week to the next our earned income was cut almost in half, leaving us with a hole of more than $100,000 each month.
That was 16 months ago, and since then we’ve survived on faith and fumes, by cutting expenses, and by getting a few large gifts from new and old friends. But last week we were about to hit a wall, and that’s why we decided to do this appeal.
If over the past 15 years Idealist has helped you or a friend find a job, an internship or a volunteer opportunity; connect with a person, an idea or a resource; or just feel inspired for a moment, now we need your help. We would not be asking, and not like this, if this were not a critical time.
**Why this goal?
**Two reasons: $500K will allow us to breathe, recover, and plan ahead; and based on the wonderful response to this appeal, we believe that with your support we can achieve this goal. To put this number in context, more than 4,000 people donated an average of $32 after just one email, and for each person who actually clicked on the Donate button, there are probably a few more who hesitated for a moment and left it for later.
In addition, since 1995 Idealist has touched hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are not on our current mailing list. If in the next week or two we can reach everyone who’d give us a hand if they knew we needed it, we’ll make it through this patch.
**What happens after that? What’s the long-term plan?
**To make sure we are never in this position again, we are looking at a wide variety of options to diversify our earned income streams. At the same time, thousands of people supporting an “infrastructure” or “intermediary” organization like Idealist is a very rare thing, and If we can meet this goal – with the public support it represents – our case in the foundation world will be stronger than it’s ever been. But to try new revenue models, and to go for some new grants, we need this bridge for a few months.
**What will your donation help support? (Or, why does it cost so much to run Idealist?)
**This question has two answers. First, big, complicated sites like Idealist are expensive to build, run, and maintain. Comparable sites such as VolunteerMatch, Guidestar, and DonorsChoose are all multi-million dollar enterprises. What they all have in common is that what you see when you look at these sites is only the tip of what happens behind them.
In our case, every day Idealist helps connect 70,000 people with 90,000 organizations around the world, in English, Spanish, and French. In addition to our work online, every year we also organize a series of events across North America, including 10 Nonprofit Career Fairs, 20 Graduate School Fairs, and 5 Global Volunteering Fairs.
To make all this happen, and to provide the best possible service to our users, we have several teams working in New York, Portland, and Buenos Aires to:
- Maintain the current Idealist.org, Idealistas.org, and Idealiste.org, and make sure they run smoothly (we do all our programming, design, and translations ourselves), while also building a totally new Idealist.org that will be launched later this year.
- Review every new organization that joins Idealist to try to ensure the highest possible quality in our content and listings.
- Reply to every call and email we get (tens of thousands every year).
- Organize, promote, and staff all the events mentioned above (the average fair brings together 1,000 people with 100 organizations or universities).
- Write and publish new resources to help our members, such as the Idealist Guides to Nonprofit Careers and the International Volunteerism Resource Center.
If any of these services have touched you, please help support them by donating now.
Thanks so much. Idealist has always been a community-driven site, and we can’t do this work without you.”