Each month, here in the pages of FRIENDS JOURNAL and on our website, we share the words of everyday Friends like you. These words describe spiritual journeys, leadings, opinions, joys, challenges, and sorrows. They are the record of Quaker thought and life today, and they are the voice of Quakerism that speaks among Friends and to the world. To complement these words, I would like to share some figures with you, to give you an idea of the magnitude of this ministry (and to explain why we need your help).
In the past year, 1,443 Friends and 126 Quaker meetings made a monetary gift to FRIENDS JOURNAL above the cost of their subscription. Because it costs us more to produce the JOURNAL than we charge for a subscription, this type of support is absolutely essential to the continued existence of this ministry.
During those same 12 months, an additional 6,747 Friends supported us by subscribing to the JOURNAL. We treasure these readers as well—for without an audience, can we really say that we are fulfilling our ministry to Friends? The more subscribers we have, the lower the per-subscriber cost of producing FRIENDS JOURNAL will be.
Our community extends far beyond our subscriber base, though. Over the past year, our subscribers passed the JOURNAL along to an additional 8,832 people (an estimate based on our surveys). And our website, , reached an additional 48,166 unique visitors who don’t subscribe to the magazine. All told, we calculate that this ministry of the written word reached over 65,000 readers in the past year, in 170 countries. That is a number Friends can be proud of! The truth is that our plain little magazine is a beacon of Quaker thought that reaches and helps many around the world, proving the continuing vitality of the Quaker message. This magazine is a tremendous service to Quakerism and to the world.
My meeting is one of the largest in North America. So when a Friend is moved to speak in meeting for worship, his or her Spirit-led message is heard by about 80 people. But the reach of my monthly meeting—any monthly meeting—is dwarfed by that of FRIENDS JOURNAL. When you consider that every Spirit-led article in every FRIENDS JOURNAL might be read by tens of thousands, it puts the power of this magazine into clear view. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that FRIENDS JOURNAL is our most widely reaching tool for communicating the Quaker message and exploring our faith together.
I hope it’s becoming clear why we need your help. This is a fact: subscription and ad income don’t cover the entire cost of producing this wide-reaching ministry. Because we’re a stubbornly independent nonprofit organization, we don’t have institutional dollars subsidizing our expenses. The few remaining Quaker grant funding sources are spread very thin. What remain available to us are readers like you. Will you join me in making an annual gift to keep FRIENDS JOURNAL strong? We want to count you among the Friends who are making a strong statement about what they value and the importance of the FRIENDS JOURNAL ministry.
Since the earliest days of the Religious Society of Friends, Quakers have been known for living simply, within their means, and being generous in their charitable works and the stewardship of the funds that sustain the Quaker community. That’s a practice that I’m happy to say continues to this day. Since the very first issue of FRIENDS JOURNAL in 1955, Friends have known that this ministry must be sustained, and they have made gifts to improve and preserve it. In the spirit of appreciating the things we love, please consider a gift to FRIENDS JOURNAL as part of your philanthropy. Please join Friends from all walks of life in making your annual gift to FRIENDS JOURNAL today, in whatever amount your heart leads you to give. Gifts come in many sizes and forms, of course. Here are some ideas I ask you to think about:
• A single gift of $120 means that we needn’t subsidize your subscription with funds from elsewhere. The more Friends who give at this level or above, the more subscriptions we can underwrite with ad or investment income for those who can’t afford to give the true cost of their subscription.
• A recurring gift of just $10 or $25 a month (or any amount you choose) will provide much-needed support for our operations during the slower subscription seasons.
• A personal appeal from you to Friends in your meeting or Friends church, asking them to subscribe or give, will multiply the effectiveness of our fundraising—and it will signal your commitment to Quaker dialogue and communication.
• A major gift at this time could be transformative for the JOURNAL as we seek to fi nd ways to expand and deepen our ministry through the use of digital media, for example digitizing and making searchable online the entire 55-year archive of FRIENDS JOURNAL.
And, of course, all gifts are fully tax deductible. I’ve lost count of the number of Friends who have told me FRIENDS JOURNAL is central to their faith. "We depend on the JOURNAL to bring us the ideas, experiences, and concerns of others. I despair thinking of Quakers without the JOURNAL to bring us together—even to disagree!" "The articles are so spiritual and so thought-provoking that I would very much miss the monthly challenge to my life." "I subscribe to many periodicals, and read them all. But none grab my inner being the way FRIENDS JOURNAL does." What can you say? Please consider a gift today, to help keep this ministry thriving.
We don’t wish anyone to pay more to receive FRIENDS JOURNAL than they can afford. To this end, we’ll be introducing a low-income subscription option soon. But if you can find it within your means to be generous today—or to sign up for a recurring gift that fits your budget—our ministry will be the stronger for it. Thank you for your readership, and best wishes for a year full of Light and Love—the gifts of the Spirit.
Yours in peace,
Publisher and Executive Editor