As longer time readers know, The Travel Insider survives on a rather crazy business model – everything is free, and we rely in the largest part on voluntary reader support to keep the lights on.
As improbable as it may seem, for over twelve years now this has succeeded, due to your generous support, and The Travel Insider has steadily grown in size and content as a result.
Once each year we hold a PBS style fundraiser, where you are asked to help support the ongoing operation of the site. What was originally a part-time activity has grown to now consume all my time each week, and it – ie, you – is/are therefore my only income source.
Each week you get a newsletter and usually one or more additional articles too. It seems a typical year involves 250,000 – 300,000 words of sometimes helpful, sometimes horrific, and sometimes humorous information being shared with you – about the same as you’d get in four regular sized books.
New this year has seen a third element to the information we provide you – in addition to the newsletter and other web articles, we now have our new ‘curation’ news site that, real-time during each day, brings you links to relevant and interesting travel/technology news as it happens. You’re getting even more from The Travel Insider now than ever before – and its operation is costing me more than ever before (I’m in the current throes of an expensive additional server purchase to host the News site).
I do know that very few people indeed read everything I write, and I’m not saying you should contribute as much as the cost of four books, or a year’s subscription to a magazine, although they do provide some sort of value frame of reference. But please do choose to participate, at any level and amount at all, and help keep everything up and operational for another year.
Many people seem to read their Friday newsletter over a cup of coffee, which begs the question. Is a week’s worth of The Travel Insider worth the same as a cup of coffee to you? If it is, what happens if you multiply that to get an annual equivalent – and for those who prefer to think of such things on a monthly or quarterly basis, please note it is possible to start an ongoing automatic ‘subscription’ that will continue until you cancel it.
Again, we’re not saying you should multiply the cost of a Starbucks specialty drink by 50 and send that very large amount in. But please do consider the value you’re receiving, and participate at whatever level you are comfortable with.
A Very Special Fundraiser This Year
Okay, so we’re now done appealing to your altruistic nature. 🙂 Some years we simply ask for your support, and stop at that. We know that about 5% of you are truly and amazingly altruistic. Thank you.
Now, for the other 95%! We’d sure love you to reach into your pocket too – indeed, we truly need you to. So can we try to ‘bribe’ you to respond?
This year, we have an amazing raft of items to offer everyone who supports us in exchange for your support – indeed, in many/most cases, the items you get in free exchange are worth far more than the modest amount you choose to provide in support to The Travel Insider. These items are explained, a bit further, below.
So, whether for altruistic reasons, or because you know you can get value from one of the items in exchange, please do help out in our annual fundraising appeal.
Last year, we had 642 people choose to help out, with only one ‘thank you’ item offered in return. This year, with an abundance of incentives, could we aim for 911 readers? Why 911? That would be one more than the total we experienced in 2009 – our best year (so far) for reader support.
So, please, if you have helped out in the past, please do continue your very much appreciated support. And if you’ve not yet chosen to assist, please would you consider making 2013 the year that you now join your fellow readers in helping assure the ongoing strength and survival of The Travel Insider.
Simply go to this page and choose whether you’d like to pay by check or credit card (either through Paypal or directly to me and processed through Square), and whether you’d prefer to make a one-off payment, or an ongoing level of support either monthly or quarterly.
The Gifts You’ll Receive in Return
Now, for details of the gifts we can give to you in return for your vital support. Everyone who contributes $10 or more is eligible for something in return, and the more you can support us, the more things you will get back.
There are three parts of the gifts you may receive in return.
The first part is an immediate and direct qualification for an item, or many items, based on the level of support you provide. This is explained here.
The second part is a chance to win prizes that will be randomly drawn at the end of the fundraising period. Each $10 you send in gets you one extra chance of winning a prize, with the Grand Prize being a $479 piece of Briggs & Riley luggage – the hands-down best luggage in the world, and a universal favorite of all Travel Insiders who have followed my regular recommendations and bought pieces of Briggs & Riley luggage themselves.
In total, there are over 40 prizes that will be awarded to supporters – and, yes, if your situation doesn’t allow you to contribute this year, you can still enter for free by airmailing your entry to our impartial prize coordinator in London. Full details of the prizes and procedures here.
The third part is separate to the other two. In addition to the direct and possibly random rewards you will and may receive, you have an opportunity to bid on a range of special items that are being auctioned to the highest bidder. These range from various knick knacks and interesting/useful items to some extraordinary experiences.
The most notable item on auction is an insider visit to Britain’s Houses of Parliament where a prominent former three term politician will have you as his guests for lunch and a drink, and escort you through some of the building, regaling you with stories, official and unofficial, about his time as a parliamentarian and even party whip for a while. House of Cards type stuff? Only you will find out and know! Full details of the auctions here.
Many thanks indeed for your much appreciated (by everyone except the airlines and TSA!) support.