This will be the final week of our 2010 Annual Fundraising Appeal – not because we've reached our target, but because part of my implied promise to you is not to flood you with requests for your support all year long.
The last week saw 54 more people kindly respond, with special thanks to more super-supporters, Willie S (from Scotland), Nathan F, Andrew C (all the way from Ireland), Bob G, Billie Jo R, Ray P, Bob C, Marty S and Pete L. We're now at 356 supporters for 2010 (compared to 756 at this point in last year's fundraising drive).
Thanks also to reader Kevin M who offered this comment with his support and suggested I share it with the rest of you :
Given the amount of information you include each week, David, I can't imagine why anyone would begrudge contributing to your newsletter. I decided it was easily worth $5 a month (just $1.25 a week), which comes to a reasonable amount for you over the course of a year, and yet that $5/month Paypal transfer is barely noticeable among the horde of miscellaneous spending I do. As some have noted, it's about the cost of a single stop at a coffee shop, or about the cost of a combo meal at many fast-food places.
Like all other supporters, Kevin modestly and massively understates the value of his major support, and for sure you shouldn't feel challenged by Kevin to match his ongoing $5 monthly support with a similar amount yourself. But a single one-time or any ongoing contribution, whether of $5 or any larger amount, would truly and greatly help; please do choose to become one of the participating supporters rather than one of the 'silent majority'.
Thanks also to Miraval Resort for their commercial help. In our NPR-analogous approach to fundraising, we do appreciate having commercial sponsors as well as personal supporters. Both are necessary because, alas, neither is sufficient without the augmented help of the other. But a raspberry to the (non-supporting) reader who wrote to me after receiving the Miraval email complaining 'You're becoming more and more commercial'.
What does he expect? I have to be 'commercial' because I have to live. This is my livelihood, and it seems particularly unfair that a person who has not contributed should object to the kind sponsorship of a resort.
Of course I'd rather not have to send the occasional sponsor email, but one every month or so is far from extreme, and until such time as my bank manager ceases to require me to lodge funds to honor the checks I write, I must do all prudent things that are minimally invasive to keep The Travel Insider – and me – viable.
Others simply said nothing and unsubscribed – apparently the 'burden' of getting an advertisement from a reputable resort in their inbox was way too much to bear and outweighed the benefit of my weekly newsletter.
Please don't feel you must unsubscribe if you choose not to support – that is absolutely not the case! Again, just like public radio/television, everyone is welcome to receive the newsletter, and if circumstances of any nature interfere with your ability to support this year, that is not a problem at all. The generosity of those who can and do respond enables everyone to freely enjoy all that is on offer here.
On a much happier note, several people have complained about difficulties contributing via the credit card/Paypal process, and I certainly understand the challenges that are sometimes involved in contributing via Paypal. It is a bit like an airline – when all goes well, it is great and you don't give it a second thought, but when things go wrong, it can be a real challenge to resolve.
So if you don't like Paypal, I believe I may have now come up with a way to directly charge your credit card via a new service ('Square') that runs as an app on my iPhone.
You simply need to advise me of the following five things : (1) your credit card number; (2) its expiration; (3) the CVC code on the back; (4) your billing zip code; and – of course – (5) the amount you wish to contribute. You can send this to me in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or fax it to me (206 338-3381); if you are worried about security, send me two emails or faxes, with half the information in each.
Needless to say, 'old fashioned' checks also work perfectly well – mailing details on this page.
I hope you'll find some interesting things in the balance of items in this week's compilation. Please note that next week's newsletter will probably be short – I'm off to Front Sight in Nevada on Sunday with ten other readers, and we'll be celebrating my 55th birthday on Thursday night – I'm sure you'll understand if I choose to join them in a drink or two rather than work away into the night as I usually do!
Alarmingly, a reader who wishes he was present but can't join us has arranged to be with us in spirit instead – and quite literally so. He is sending along his son on his behalf, and his son has been tasked with buying copious quantities of 'Green Fairies' for all who will prove to be as foolish as to accept his hospitality! I'll let you know more about this subsequently (assuming there should end up being anything appropriate to share).
Talking about eating and drinking, here's a fascinating article on the life of Michelin's former head inspector in the UK. What a life – having to experience fine dining every lunch and dinner for much of the year.
Until next week, please enjoy safe travels