We Are SO Close to Having $50,000 In the ELi Tanker!

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UPDATE, Oct. 31, 2 am: We are now only $1,540 away from filling our $50,000 tanker! This article has been updated to reflect that!

While people in East Lansing have been getting ready for a big game weekend, ELi’s team has been getting ready for the launch of our 2022 Sustainability Campaign on Monday, Nov. 1. On that day, national NewsMatch dollars become available to us, allowing us to match, dollar-for-dollar, tax-deductible contributions to ELi, up to $1,000 per donor.

The bad news is that NewsMatch’s grant to individual news organizations like us has dropped precipitously year after year, down now to only $10,000 in total for each organization.

The good news is that local ELi donors have stepped up to increase our match dollars with campaign donations and pledges, now totaling $38,460. That means that, with NewsMatch’s commitment to ELi, we already have $48,460 in match dollars committed for ELi’s “tanker truck” before Monday’s start of our 2022 Sustainability Campaign.

I’ve been working this weekend to try to get us to $50,000 before the Nov. 1 launch, and I think we have a good shot at that number. Donors have been wonderfully responsive to our asks, with many supporting ELi at a higher level this year given the challenges we have faced and the critical importance of the news we bring.

What am I talking about with this “tanker truck”?

We think of ELi as a “news brigade,” like an old fashioned “bucket brigade” of the type American villages had before they had modern fire departments. People came together to protect themselves and their towns.

Here at Eli, for over seven years, our community has come together to protect ourselves with a reliable, factual, committed news organization: we have a news brigade

So, right now, we are getting ready to do our 2022 Sustainability Campaign to try to refill ELi’s “water tower” with $200,000 in donations and monthly commitments — the amount we need to get through the next year. Obtaining this “water” level will give us confidence and the freedom from fundraising to do the reporting that needs doing — to put out “news fires” — for the next year.

As part of the campaign, we are setting up our “tanker truck” of core matching commitments that will then be used to convince smaller and new donors to place donations in our virtual “buckets.” We will then draw from the tanker truck to MATCH their donations. Both their support and the matching funds from the water tanker go into the water tower.

Again, as of now, including the $10,000 commitment we have secured from NewsMatch plus local core donors’ commitments and donations, we have $48,460 in the tanker for match funds.

We are hoping to get that number to $50,000 before our Nov. 1 launch. Every dollar we put in that tanker now makes it easier for ELi to raise money from smaller and newer donors.

Just so you know, when we became eligible in late 2018 for NewsMatch, the national philanthropic campaign to support nonprofit news, we were eligible for $30,000, and we obtained that full amount. Although we have always obtained every dollar for which we are eligible, NewsMatch’s match cap has been going down and down due primarily to more organizations asking for funds.

Meanwhile, our expenses have gone up and up, as more people are getting paid to do work that, in the past, I and others did for no compensation. The reason ELi runs much better than ever before is that we are not relying on exhausted volunteers, but now have a vibrant, compensated (and younger!) staff.

Still, we run this entire operation on a little less than $200,000 per year, with about 90% of that going to pay local people to have meaningful jobs in local news production.

Can you help us out with a commitment of $250, $500, $1,000, or more for the tanker truck match fund? 

If you can give or commit at this higher level now, please let us know. Your donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

If you have any questions at all — about what you’ve given in the past, what we are seeing in terms of expenses — please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to get your questions promptly answered.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for understanding why this work is so important and for supporting this incredible team. It is a huge privilege to have so many of you stand with me in the provision of meaningful news to this city. We literally could not do this without you.

You can find out more about how to make a donation to ELi here, and you can contact us through this portal.

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