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August 08, 2007

Seeing Red...what to do??

Once upon a time, Guatadopt.com was a pretty small site and the maintenance consisted of maybe an hour a week plus the time to enter a post on the latest happenings. Those first few years, the site was almost completely funded by my "day job". Eventually, I needed help funding the updates and the hosting....so, we gradually added some advertisements that would not be intrusive, we vamped up our Tshirts and calendars. We managed to cover the physical costs....and to date, our writer's time is all voluntary.

What has been difficult is that our physical costs keep growing and the time each of our writer's spend has grown exponentially. Readership is still growing significantly. Meanwhile, there are fewer readers starting the process (due to the impending Hague) and there is so much more competition for cute Guatemala shirts (unfortunately, some who have used our name, phrases and ideas as well)....so site sales have significantly declined. We're heading towards "red" again.

I'll back up and talk about why we have not become a charity (501c3)....That seems to be the most common suggestion by our readers. Well, two years ago when I became serious about turning it into one, I did a bit of research on the requirements and where we would fall under a charter. The uneasiness came from the percentage of contributions you needed to have vs. sales. Hey, I'm sensitive to my audience here....I was strapped during my adoption (well ok...that didn't really end when she came home). We wanted this site to remain free to anyone who needed it. But some of the other fears....I was strapped for time and Kevin was maxed out. We would have to hire an accountant (who specialized in 501c3) and I needed to make sure we had someone involved who could make sure we were in line....Most importantly, there was the issue of separating our contributions to Guatemalan charities and being more of an educational charity. I felt the line might be a bit fuzzy to outside critics. So, needless to say....this has not happened. Maybe, I am over-thinking it....I don't know.

In the last few days, I've had a number of inquiries about the 2008 Calendar. I honestly was not sure we would do one. The time it takes to build the calendar has grown exponentially too....it just takes time to design pages with so many photos (and when you make an effort to include every child submitted!). Its not the same when you only have to use a single photo per page. Sales were down last year too compared to the number of new entries. I have to admit...the first few years, it was a lot of fun. Now, I get the jitters even thinking about making all the deadlines!!

So, why not ask readers for some ideas (and please do this via email).

Here are a couple of mine.
1 - For artists who have Cafepress stores, we could have a design contest (Guatemala adoption related design). It could be a clever saying or a beautiful picture! The top three designs would be donated to OUR shop and we would include links to the designers store.

2 - A few more adoption related products directly sold on our site. We tried the Ebay affiliate (which is up on the site), but either it has not been working, or nobody uses it!

Well....what do you guys think????

Posted by Kelly at August 8, 2007 11:57 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Kelly, Esperanza and I would be delighted to compete in a design contest and donate a design to the GuatAdopt.com shop. Count us in! Meanwhile, we encourage everyone who is a regular reader of GuatAdopt.com to make a donation via PayPal, as we continue to do from time to time. Your site was an incredible help to us during the adoption of our precious baby last year. Thanks again for all that you and the GuatAdopt team do.

Gregg

Posted by: Gregg at August 8, 2007 06:32 PM

I just made a $10.00 donation using Paypal after reading this plea for help. Using Paypal was extremely easy and I hope others will do the same. Our daughter came home almost a year ago now and this site is still informative and helpful. I encourage all to donate if they can. A little bit from each of us will help all. Thank you Guat.adopt for all you do!!!

Posted by: Dawn at August 8, 2007 08:50 PM

Thanks for that post and all of you who donate your time to keep this site up. This site has provided me with a great deal of information, some anxiety and some perspective not to mention the entertainment value of a few outrageous posts. I just completed a pay-pal donation.

Posted by: Jonathan at August 9, 2007 03:31 AM

Just mailed in a check for $10. How about asking each and every reader for a small donation such as this?
Meg

Posted by: Meg at August 9, 2007 06:06 PM

I know very little about accounting and website "stuff", but would there be a problem with getting bigger advertisers?
I know bigger advertisers means bigger, more intrusive signs, but I figure it is worth it to keep this site open. I for one am not bothered by the advertising, and use a pop-up blocker some of the time.

Surely, there is an accountant somewhere on here that could donate his/her time to help!

Posted by: Mary at August 10, 2007 08:11 PM

I belong to a site that allows some access to the basic things, like forums and such but, there is a member fee for adding, calendar, blogs, albums.. etc.. I am wondering if certian aspects of Guatadopt, like what is available currently be free to everyone who is a member... add a couple other features and have 1 or 2 memberships that cost 10, 15 to join to get the extras??

Allowing folks to share blogs, albums, calendar of events, have photo contests, polls and maybe a %10 off the site store or something.. as a perk?

Just a thought..

Julie

Posted by: julie at August 11, 2007 05:19 PM

I have a suggestion for the upcoming Calendar - how about a small fee to submit photos for the Calendar. That would help to pay the cost of publishing the Calendars and maybe also help to keep the Calendar price low. I know last year alot of photos were submitted and I LOVE the Calendar. My daughter is in it each year and I give them out to family memebers and keep one for her to have when she gets older. PLEASE don't stop making the Calendars! :)
As for the site, hopefully everyone who reads it will donate a small amount to help keep it going. I just did! :)
Keep up the good work and THANKS!

Posted by: Darlene at August 12, 2007 12:08 AM

I like Darlene's idea for the calender and as for the site, the least we could all do is a donation. My son has been home for over a year and I still come here everyday. Thanks for all you do, you're the best!!

Posted by: Sarah at August 13, 2007 03:47 AM

i love the idea of a fee to submit to the calendar...$20? that should cover it, no?

Posted by: samantha at August 13, 2007 04:04 AM

Thanks to everyone for their ongoing suggestions. We'll be chewing on them in the next few months.

I did want to say, while I appreciate that some are willing to pay a fee for entering their child in the calendar...or pay a fee for the site; we feel that it defeats our purpose a bit.

The calendar is primarily purchased by families for families. It is more beneficial to us if parents spent their money on extra calendars to give as presents.

We also want to be careful about charging fees for the site. The popularity is because of the free access. We may look into some other services, but we don't feel it is appropriate to charge membership for a majority of the site.

Anyway, I want to thank our readers for the amazing show of support. If we end up with some downtime now, it is because we have enough to upgrade our service plan!!!!!

THANKS!!!!

Kelly
guatadopt.com

Posted by: kelly (guatadopt) at August 13, 2007 03:54 PM

I am happy to make a smallish donation and encourage everyone who can to do the same (I guess a largish donation would be fine too!). My idea is to take advance orders for the calendar and charge a little more for them (I have no idea how much they cost previously as I discovered this site since the last one came out). I'd be happy to pre-order a couple at least.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank those who regularly contribute info and commentary. As baby Wilson grows into a toddler while I wait for papers to be shuffled, this site has become like medicine for me. Some days it's the only place to get good info and encouragement. Thanks so much Kevin, Kelly, Maria, Troy and all you parents who are hanging on like me.

Posted by: lauren b at August 14, 2007 03:20 AM

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The iGive.com Mission and Vision


Our Mission

To enable the economic power of individuals to benefit
their chosen communities.

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Posted by: Gina at August 15, 2007 06:39 PM

Please don't stop making the calendar. I know the is a almost impossible task as I have the 2007. I would gladly pay to post a picture for it and commit ( or pay in advance) to buying 2 or 3 calendars @ that time. I got my first one last year and LOVE IT!

This is also my favorite site for "accurate" information about what is going on in Guatemala when the rumors start flying. U guys are awesome!

I tried to donate $10 on paypal but did not get it figured out. Will go back and try again!

Posted by: Dale at August 15, 2007 09:06 PM

I just donated & I urge every reader of Guatadopt to do the same. I also like the idea of having to pay to be considered for calendar -- maybe $10 to $25 per photo. Would this help?

Posted by: Susan at August 18, 2007 08:00 PM

please don't give up on the calendar! - having an entry fee sounds like a great idea -
it is really a great gift for extended families and I have mine at work so others think about adopting children from Guatemala (or elsewhere if that becomes problematic)

Posted by: linda at August 21, 2007 11:25 PM

I see alot of great suggestions here. I also wonder if you have ever thought about taking guatadopt to the next level and making it an official nonprofit 501c3. You could even hire a development officer part time. It may also put you in a position to do more advocacy or support programs for families. I know that would be a very big step but it's an idea. I work for a search firm for nonprofits so email me if you want to explore this idea more.

PS... If you decide to have a bake sale, I make really good chocolate chip cookies! hehehe...

Posted by: Rachel at August 22, 2007 12:23 AM

Highlight the adoption gifts link at the top of your page. You have a great site but it has so much information someone might not see certain parts. If you highlight the link it will grab attention more (I knew about the calendars but didn't know you had adoption gifts that helped support the site). I was amazed to see the amazon book links which are wonderful and people should look into many of these books. All the better if they can get the book and support this site. Best wishes. Mom

Posted by: mom at August 22, 2007 11:13 PM

I am an artist I would be very happy to compete in a contest. Donate paintings, or clay art.

Maybe we should do a walk a thon or something like that :)

Keep up the good work.
I am so frustrated with the who U thing I am seeing red. I am so glad this site is here.
thanks so much

Posted by: Sherry at October 5, 2007 06:07 PM