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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Maybe there needs to be some new slogans on the shirt try these on for size;

Why are you an atheist?...I thought about it"

"Strange...another year gone by and still no Rapture..."

"Christian?, you must have never finished reading the whole Bible."

"If you pray, Paris Hilton is god's way of spitting in your face".

God: The Official Cop-Out Answer of the World.

1 cross + 3 nails = 2 hours and 8 bucks wasted on a crappy Mel Gibson movie

Religion is for those who are afraid to ask questions.
Atheism is for those who are afraid of what will happen if we stop.

Yeah, I've pondered the existence of god... but I haven't touched those drugs for a LONG time now.

Not getting up Sunday morning, no fearing afterlife, thinking for oneself...priceless

The Rapture - promises, promises. Hurry up and leave already.
Dre - I'd buy one of each!

You might have inspired me to dust off my copy of Gimp and make some designs around a few of these.
Again thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Here are a few comments:

1. I never want to charge for membership. It should always be free. That being said, we should be able to set up different levels of membership.

2. The t-shirt being sold now is very basic, but I like it. It is limited to one printing and hopefully soon others will be available.

3. Also, I apologize if my earlier comment was perceived as a way to guilt people into giving. It appears some have taken it that way. It truly was not my intention. I was vague because I didn't want to come across as begging, and the whole truth would be much worse. (and now this will be taken wrong.)

4. I am going to be putting together a private group for fundraising ideas. I will invite everyone who has taken part the $25 pledge. I would like to put together a budget for the remainder of the year that will include enough to start the programming and to be able to form an actual nonprofit by the first of the year.
I don't think anyone is guilted into giving - people just want to know how to take part. When you noted how many hits A|N has, it became clear that many people derive a great deal of benefit from A|N, and at least some want to give something back, as well as ensure that it continues, and spread the values to even more people.
Don't feel guilty about causing guilt. In my case, while I'm certainly not rich by any means, I am doing pretty well. And I like to give to worth while causes: National Center for Science Education, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, CFI, and many others.

I have done the matching donations in the past, it's always worked well.
I grew up Baptist. I am not capable of being guilt-free. Guilt is hard-wired into my DNA.

That being said, Louis, you set a great example, and thank you for that. This is a very, very worthwhile cause.
The stubborn gene runs strong through both of my parent's families. In addition, thanks to mom I've built up a resistance to guilt.

I absolutely appreciate what you're saying Brother Richard. Especially with so many of us coming from religious backgrounds where you're trained to guilt people into giving. How does one say "Donations are very, very much appreciated, but not at all a condition of being here. But very appreciated. But really, don't feel like you have to. But if you do it will mean the world. But if you don't that's really and truly ok, really..."

It's a whole other ball of wax (I never did understand that saying) for someone else however like Daniel to independently stump on your behalf. Awesome call Daniel!

(I did make my $25 donation, but before I found out you guys were matching them so I don't have my confirmation number).
"I don't have my confirmation number"

Not a problem. You'll just be getting a visit from the FBI. Don't worry it's just routine :)
1. Why should there be different levels?

2. A poll on future shirts would be one way of finding out what people will buy. I'm afraid I wouldn't be caught dead in the "Paris Hilton" slogan shirt.

3. Didn't see it as guilting.

4. Why do you think that only people who can afford to donate $25 or above would be the only ones who would have good ideas for fundraising?
Have you thought about making a membership card? Not something particularly useful, but something neat.

When I donated to the ACLU I got an ACLU card, I thought it was cute.
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