Good News and New Options

Last month my column promised readers more information about how FRIENDS JOURNAL is doing and what news we have to share about future operations. The response from our readers has been very robust and extremely touching to us. While some of our supporters were able to give large gifts, which have had a large impact, mostly we have experienced a groundswell of support from more modest donors— readers who told us they cannot imagine Quakerism without the JOURNAL and who dug deep to send a small contribution. We at the JOURNAL thank you again for this very heartening affirmation of this ministry of the written word we Friends perform for each other.

Hundreds of folks wrote to share their thoughts, and a frequent comment was appreciation for the transparency we provided last December in stating our financial dilemma. In that vein, I’m glad to say that our operating budget is in the black again. At this writing, as we near the close of our fiscal year (6/30/10), we have had a total of 1,602 donors, compared to 839 during the same period last year—an increase of 91 percent. Total gift income received in this period is $330,951, compared to $168,458 during the same period last year—an increase of 96 percent. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to balance our operating budget and partially replenish our investment funds, upon which we rely for operating income.

We are also heartened that once again the Associated Church Press has recognized FRIENDS JOURNAL as a leader in religious journalism. This year we again won 3rd place for Best in Class, General Denominational Magazine—a very prestigious award, placing behind only two other publications in the field, both from much larger denominations.

One of the harder decisions we made this year was to cut one issue annually and to cap the page count of the magazine at 52 for most issues. While your many comments helped us to feel confident that readers would support these necessary changes, it was painful to reduce the space given to our magazine’s content.

As we have grappled with the dilemma of how to maintain our service to Friends and others of like mind, we have decided to expand our Internet presence by making more material available on our website, some for free and some for a fee. It is now possible to have a digital PDF-version subscription to the JOURNAL. And we are now publishing short articles on our website that do not appear in the magazine, updating the website weekly with this unique content. If you become one of our fans on Facebook, you’ll get automatic notices when these articles are posted. You’ll also have another opportunity to join the commentary on these articles. Now we have advertising opportunities on our website, including classified advertising and the Meeting Directory, for easy reference. Soon, we will be carrying book reviews there that do not appear in the magazine. We have plans to digitize our entire archive of more than 55 years of FRIENDS JOURNAL, making this material available, in varying quantities, for a fee. We believe there is a larger potential audience for the thinking and writing that Friends offer through our pages, and we believe that our expanded Internet presence will help some of those seekers and fellow travelers find the same inspiration and nourishment that readers of FRIENDS JOURNAL will continue to find in our print magazine.

We are still in the early stages of formulating our plans, so stay tuned for more news about exciting undertakings yet to come.