Help Diplopundit Get to Year 10

$37,328 of $38,240 goal

Raised by 416 people in 23 months
As many of you know, Diplopundit’s funding ended in March. I’ve made an attempt to find funding for the blog from private sources.  Diplopundit could get a $15K grant from a generous family foundation supporting the Foreign Service, and there is a potential for another grant from a separate entity; however, the grants would be available only if the blog has 501(c)(3) charitable status under the Internal Revenue Service. I've determined, with help from my legal pal, that the charitable status would not be compatible with the pseudonymous persona of this blog.  Maybe at some point I will hand this blog over to a foundation to run, but I’m not there yet.

Another option, of course, is to go subscription only or have a blended open/subscription model via Patreon , but I’ve been hesitant to do that for two reasons. One, the niche audience for the things this blog covers is exceptionally small.  We want to expand that audience to include readers with no connection to the State Department or the Foreign Service, and especially those who flip through the international affairs news.  Two, for a more personal reason, I do not want to break up the blog’s archive. I’m a tad attached to it.

But Some Good News

In the first four months of 2017, the blog already reached three fourths of its total 2016 visits, and our visitors are already at par with last year's number. We did get a one time spike in visitors in February when Ricky Martin tweeted a link to our 2010 post about a Puerto Rican detained by DHS (see US Citizen born in Puerto Rico detained as illegal immigrant, what was DHS/ICE thinking? ).  We're not going to have a celebrity tweet one of our posts every month, but traffic still appears to be up in the last couple of months. It remains to be seen if this trend holds for the rest of the year.

Funding the Blog Via Ads

One reader asked "Don’t the ads on the page pay for the blog?"  For those curious, we generate a small revenue from Wordpress' WordAds and the Amazon Affiliate program.  We have a few readers who shop at Amazon using our affiliate shop , and we appreciate their support. In 2016, we made $132.27 in affiliate fees for the year. Based on our traffic, the WordAds payment range from $35.64 to $119.82 per month.  In 2016, we earned an average of $74.60 per month from the ads you see in the blog. So, the ads help, but they are extremely limited revenue sources.

Through Fundraising

We first attempted to raise funds for the blog in 2014. In 2015, "OneFSO" and "S" successfully raised funds for us from 368 donors.  Last year, with "S" and company's help, we were able to raised $35K from 444 donations.  After we deducted GFM fees and blog expenses in 2016, the blog's net income last year (including ads) was $26K or about $500/week. Fortunately, your blogger has her/his own bed, but if she/he were required to rent a place to live, she/he might be able to afford a room, but not much of anything else. 

This year we are going to attempt to raise $38,240 from May 10 to July 10, 2017 to fund us until May 2018.  (A few readers donated a total of $1,760 via PayPal in April. Thank you!) 

NOTE:  For first time donors, here is a list of FAQ for you:  For donors who do not want to display their names on the campaign page and want to make their donations anonymous, this one's for you:

We've dived into the weeds of the blog's financial situation to explain our persistent dilemma of trying to balance work that we enjoy doing (writing this blog) with our need to earn a livable income . Can we afford to keep the blog running this year? How about next year? When will necessity force us to ... well, jump?  Those questions generates anxiety for your blogger for weeks at a time every year.  We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding.

But ... Hang On

We don't know what the future holds for this blog. We do recognize that we live in unprecedented times. Maybe it's time to just embrace our uncertainties in our small corner of the sky. Knowing what happens next would simply be boring. So, we will continue to monitor the goings on in Foggy Bottom and in the "worldwide available" universe as we have always done in the last nine years. For now, this is where we need to be, and as David Allen Coe sings it ...

So I'll hang around as long as you will let me
And I never minded standing' in the rain ...

                                                              * * *

Related items:

We’re officially nine going on ten, but who drank all the wine?

Aww, @StateDept Sends Official Take Down Request For April Fools’ Day Cable

Inside @StateDept: Leaked Cable Provides Guidance For ‘America First’ Cost Savings Initiatives

Related funnies:

Diplo-Denizen: Are You Kidding Me?

Well That Was Different: The One Thing You
Absolutely, Positively Must Have in the Foreign Service

WaPo: A fake diplomatic cable has the State
Department fuming

Mashable: When pranked, the State Department proves it's as humorless as Rex Tillerson's face
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The Wheat Field With Cypresses is Van Gogh’s (the Google Art Project is amazing, check it out!). The snippet is the first four lines of Emily Dickenson's "It’s all I have to bring today", a poem of grace and devotion.

It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—

Some of you have been with us for years, some of you are new, and some are here because a few have nudged you to support our efforts. We read all your notes and we are touched. Thank you for thinking of us, and for your enduring support.

We previously announced that we will be here for another year (there's a funny story about that). We are grateful that you still came out to help make our life a little easier.

Thank you for the bright lights you bring!
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Update #1 - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rolling Out The Wicked Wasabi — Perhaps a Good Laugh on Wednesdays?

The news can be overwhelming these days. We know some friends who are struggling with life, work and the daily nutty stuff. We share the same struggle, and while some days are more difficult than others, just the constant beat with no let up can be draining and seriously depressing. If folks need help, please don’t self-medicate. See somebody and get help. Even your blogger may need to occasionally see a therapist. By the way, screaming at the teevee is only helpful for no more than 20 minutes. Tried and tested, trust us on that one.

We’ve also spent many nights with 3-hour sleep (if we’re lucky). Not just because there are too many things going on at the same time, but also because we have been unable to switched off at times. We had to take a short break earlier this year not only because we were feeling the blues but we also gained those infamous “T10” pounds!

Okay, so that’s a roundabout way of explaining why we’ve been thinking about how to keep blogging without losing our wits or getting burned out.

The blog will continue to have regular updates four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), and occasionally on weekends, when needed. We will set aside Wednesdays for some levity. Folks, we’re rolling out tadaaaa ….

The Wicked Wasabi

TWW aims to be a satirical Foreign Service weekly. So, once a week, we’ll all get to laugh at ourselves and, well, at stuff that needs laughing at. Because — hey, we only live once, and darn it, we’re not going to let the nuttynutnutworld makes us crazy. The Wicked Wasabi will be clearly identified as a satirical component of the blog, of course.

Folks with no sense of humor (yup, looking at some pals at the State Department), are welcome to look away. If folks can’t look away, or can’t keep their eye rolls in their sockets or their laughters in a single file — well, some WD-40 and duct tape might help. That is, like the Internet folks say, if it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use the tape.

Also a quick update on the fundraising — we’re doing a regular fundraising and not an “all or nothing” campaign as we did in the past. The campaign will stay on for as long as we leave it on, though we’ve made a self-imposed 2-month duration so we don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the year. We are at the half-way mark, and it appears that the campaign has quietly stalled. If we can get to our funding goal in July, that would be awesome. If not, arghh … we’ll have the rest of the year to try and get there. To those who already pitched in to keep us going for another year, thank you. We are grateful for your steadfast support!

Most of you know that we are not on Facebook, so to blog pals, and readers who patronize the blog, we 'd appreciate your help in spreading our fundraising campaign through your networks.

We will cross-post this in the blog, follow us there:

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$37,328 of $38,240 goal

Raised by 416 people in 23 months
Created May 9, 2017
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Elizabeth Lee
3 months ago

Thanks for the coverage of the shutdown.

D Olson
11 months ago

Love your website.

15 months ago
19 months ago
20 months ago
20 months ago
Alan Eyre
20 months ago

Thank you and keep up the good work

20 months ago
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