Brother Richard deserves to be paid. A|N deserves support. There should be paid staff.

I have never met Br. Richard, and other than a very small number of emails, have not communicated with him. He may even be pissed at me for starting this topic, I have not discussed it with him. I recently noted this, which I've copied from here.

"As of now, if it wasn't for the $150 bucks we get from Google ads, we would only get about $35 bucks from monthly donations. All of this from a site that gets over 200,000 unique monthly visitors, almost 1,000,000 monthly page views, and is in the top 75,000 most visited sites on the Internet."

What? You gotta be fucking kidding? I felt guilty about the $15.00 monthly that I started via pay pal this summer. This is not tooting my nown horn, I think I should be paying more too. That means that the other 10,000 members are paying a collective fucking $20.00 a month? If every member paid 10 cents a month, it would be $100.00 monthly. If 100 members paid $25 a month, it would be $2,500 monthly.

I realize that incomes are highly variable, and some members don't have a pot to piss in, and everyone has some sort of financial challenge. But is A|N really that unimportant?

OK, Br. Richard, I know you'll be reading this. Time for you to get off your ass, too, and work on how to make this pay. Does Ning not allow pay? That might be an issue. But how about some form of paid membership. Voluntary, so there would still be unpaid membership, because the financially strapped members do contribute in a meaningful way. But some 'bonus' for paid membership. Alternatively, similar bonus for nonpaid roles such as moderator or website development, organizing, outreach. What is the bonus? I'm not sure. Even a fucking A|N coffee cup, A|N button, personal thong verified as worn by Br. Richard, stratified for "silver member" "gold member", "Platinum member", or whatever you want to call it, is better than the special place we get in heaven for "giving" a contribution. The T-shirts are great - but that's selling T-shirts, and doesn't have the same feel as contributing to A|N. Be that as it may, a $365.oo annual membership, $1.00 per day might warrant the Tshirt plus the thong.....

A PBS / NPR -style over-the-internet fundraiser, while annoying, would be an option. Say, a moving banner, or some other function, that briefly describes the role / benefit of membership / contribution, and offering an easy way to do so?

It's not just a matter of paying Br. Richard. Having paid membershipswould allow for functions that would improve the site, advertise, put up cool billboards like other Atheist groups are doing... whatever.

I'm not stuck on any of these ideas. With many intelligent, devoted, active members, we should be able to support the important role of A|N and further the cause of atheism. I want to see Br. Richard drive up in his pink Rolls Royce and a carnation in his lapel, but it would be a start if we at least gave him a dandelion in a coffee cup.

Come on, godless heathens - earn a silver lining for your clouds in heaven. Lets work on getting some dollars flowing.

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If we can get a new platform, surely we can provide non-paying members with limited access and paying members with full access.

I'm thinking non-paying members can read the whole site, but post only in the forums (not post blogs or comment on them). There might be a limit on the number of groups they can join - maybe none, maybe one or two.

If you're happy with that level of access, fine - the site is free. If you want more, you pay.

So as the groups don't lose all their members from this, perhaps there could be a 6 month amnesty for members registered prior to the payment rule being brought in. That is, all existing members get six months initial free membership.

Honestly, I agree it would be great if the site could remain completely free and be supported by those who could afford it - but we've tried that system for over 12 months and it's just not working.
Hey all, thanks for the suggestions. I hesitated to answer, but Daniel called me out. To be honest, I think my religious past has kept me from doing this type of thing already. However, I must admit that as great as this past year has been, my family has tremendously suffered financially. I won't go into details, but something must change soon. I need to let you guys push me beyond my "false humility" and begin to take Nexus to the next level.

I like the idea of different levels of membership, and I think you all have had some great ideas. What I think needs to happen, is we have an initial fundraising drive to bring in some money so that I, or someone else, can begin the slow transition to getting off Ning. If you guys are interested in being a part of this "team," please contact me.

Thanks so much for post and the comments. It has given me an oasis of hope.
I hate the idea of different levels of membership. Creates a hierarchy... the haves at the top, the have nots at the bottom. People should just donate what they can afford to donate.
I absolutely agree. I am however unable to help in any way, since I live in Romania, and no online payments from Romania are processed internationally (too many scams, I guess); I am sorry, really....Romania may not be wealthy, but 25$ a year would not be a problem...
I agree - the current position that Richard and his family are in is shameful and reflects shockingly on this community. I am by no means wealthy (read that as pretty well completely broke) but I would be happy to chip in US$25 a year for membership.

I suggest that new members be given 3 months free membership so they can get to know the site and assess whether it is worth it for them to pay to continue. I also suggest that a welcome committee be appointed to work with new members, show them what groups might suit their interests and start them off with some friends.

The good thing would be that theists are unlikely to pay $25 a year to an atheist to lurk on the site, and nor would spammers.

Richard, please don't let this be one of those things that gets put on the back-burner (I know you too well!) This absolutely has to be done for the future of the site. If you don't start getting paid soon, you will not be able to continue, and I don't know of anyone else who'd be willing to take it on unpaid, so we'd be stuffed.

Mojoe, how much do we need to raise to get the site off Ning? If that's the first step, let's set a target and let us use our networks and raise the damn money.
The good thing would be that theists are unlikely to pay $25 a year to an atheist to lurk on the site, and nor would spammers. = excellent point!
I'm on another website which introduced a Premium membership of $25 a year. Many, many, many members buy memberships for those who cannot afford it. It is a regular occurrence.

If there was a 'getting to know you' period and it became apparent that someone who really needed the site was not in a position to purchase a membership, I am confident that someone would buy it for them. This could be aided by offers of, 'Buy two years' membership and get one membership free'. That way people could pay up 2 years in advance and have one up their sleeve to give away to someone who needs it. What better way to build a community spirit?

Besides, if we have 'mentors' for new members, I'm sure if someone like this was identified, the mentor could make a special pleading to Richard (or the board) for an exemption.
During certain periods of my life, I have had to plead and beg and grovel. I really hate this idea. I'm in a position where I can donate to the site, but I really REALLY don't want to see people who might not be able to afford to donate have to go through some bulllshit bureaucracy so they can be members. There will be people who won't even bother trying.
I really didn't see it as bureaucratic red tape. I simply saw it as, "Hey BR, we've got a 14 year old kid on here, we've been talking to him, he's legit, and not out to his parents yet - can you invoke the free membership thing, please."

I can't imagine BR would need anyone to grovel or fill things out in triplicate.
Though it could get interesting, this is not what I had in mind.

What we have talked about in the past is similar to what the other groups do now. Membership will always be free. Nothing that is available now would change for anyone. However, there could be special acknowledgement and benefits for others (we are talking about a small amount). Don't worry about it too much. We don't need to debate about it here.
Richard said: Don't worry about it too much. We don't need to debate about it here.

Richard we do, because you are overstretched physically, mentally and financially.

This isn't for your benefit - it's for the benefit of the site and its members.

It's a bit like servicing the engine of your car - you don't do it because you feel sorry for the engine, you do it because if you don't the engine will fail to work and the car won't go. You are the engine of this site, and we need you properly cared for. It is self-interest that should be driving this for the members. No Brother Richard - no Atheist Nexus.
Absolutely. and I love Kristy's response as well.



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