FAQs: Mission Local’s Membership Drive

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We’ve launched our membership drive for businesses and readers and hope that you will sign on. Already, some of you have questions so we hope this will answer them. If you have more questions, please send them to info@missionlocal.com.

Are you a non-profit? No.

Why not? We thought about it, but decided that we wanted to offer another kind of experiment in trying to make local media sustainable. Already, there are dozens of excellent ventures using the non-profit model, but not as many new local enterprises using a for-profit model.

Being for-profit puts us in a different mindset. Without strong community support we are unlikely to survive, so figuring out ways to make us relevant to you is the difference between life and death. So, yes, that means we are very much dependent on you.

Does membership buy you a stake in the enterprise? Not a financial stake, but yes you become part of our community.  Right now being a member gives you the benefits we have listed.  We hope to have more. In the meantime, we hope it also feels worthwhile  to know that you are paying for a venture that you use frequently. We feel that for local media to survive, it must have the financial support of those who use it. Our job is to make sure it is worth using.

Why are there different levels? We are thrilled when anyone signs up for the Civic Duty Level at $10 a month or $120 a year. If all of our loyal readers did this, we would be self-sufficient.

We thought we would offer other levels because there are some in the community who have the resources to pay more. Some of those individuals are interested enough in the issue of civic engagement and how it becomes sustainable to want to contribute more. We wanted to make that opportunity easy.

What if I just want to donate, but am unable or unwilling to commit to any of the membership levels? 

Of course we’re happy to accept any support in any amount! However, our online payment providers don’t process these transactions, so if you would like to give this way, please send us a check made out to Mission Local at 2588 Mission Street, Suite 212, San Francisco CA 94110.

Does Mission Local make money? We are a long way from making a profit and we are a long way from covering our expenses, but we believe the latter could be covered with your support.

We will let you know at the end of the first year of independence how we are doing.

Can readers become owners? We are open to investors, and readers interested in owning a share of Mission Local should contact Lydia Chávez at lydia.chavez@missionlocal.com

Why .org? We started out as a non-profit because we began as a training site for Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the .com was unavailable. Once we decided to spin off from the Graduate School of Journalism, we also purchased the .com so you can get us at missionlocal.com as well. We have just not migrated the whole site there.

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5 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Thanks for the info, Lydia, and good luck.

  2. I’ll totally pay money and sign up if you find a way to get rid of Sam/John/Whatever his name is. He is so noxious, I’ll pay for a community news portal where actual reasonable and non racist neighbors can talk with each other without getting drowned out!

    • Lydia Chávez Post author

      Hi, thanks for your comment. We are doing our best to keep everyone to two comments and to delete comments that are racist and unhelpful to the discussion. But we welcome your suggestions for better ways to manage the comments. Someone suggested that we ask anyone to pay for a second comment. Other ideas? Someone is also looking into a few add-ons that would allow readers to vote comments up and down.

      • Thanks! I wish I had more ideas — I will probably sign up shortly anyway as I feel that missionlocal provides really valuable journalism. If anything I’d want some ways to get more of the neighborhood in a forum talking to each other productively. Maybe a subreddit or a reddit style plugin out there somewhere?

        • Lydia Chávez Post author

          Yes that is exactly what we would like comments voted up and down. Finding the right plug in that works with out site has been difficult, but we will somehow get this right. And yes, we agree about public forums and will be planning some. Best and thank you, Lydia

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