Now that Slugger is officially a teenager, an informal appeal for your support…

You may have missed it a few weeks back, but Slugger is now 13. When I set the blog up in June 2002 it was part of my research for a paper on the future of Unionism. I was interested in setting it context of a 360 degree picture of the whole political situation the post Belfast Agreement settlement.

When we subsequently received funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust early in 2003 we made sure that the research interviews and focus group reports were all shared immediately with Slugger’s already growing audience.

The open process which drove that project meant that from early on we were able to pique a strong interest in our doings amongst political insiders. Copies of the report were sent to all MLAs, party headquarters and key committees at Westminster and Leinster House.

It was also key to building pluralist trust and a largely informed community around the Slugger brand, north and south of the border and on either side of the Irish Sea.

Most of the private feedback we get is surprisingly positive, given our habit of not dodging difficult, sticky or complex issues. One reader referred to it as a ‘fifth province’ (or ‘seventh county’), as a place in which things get thrashed out in a muscular but civil manner that would otherwise not be raised.

No one has ever accused us of being guilty of the “production of innocence” or plaintively pleading to our readers “We have no idea who’s right.” 😉

And all of it is done an absolute shoestring. None of us, as David was at pains to emphasis on his own very personal account of why he blogs, do not derive a living from our blogging.

My own day job (often in collaboration with Sweden-based John Kellden) is in consultancy. No one takes an income from writing, moderating and editing Slugger. It gets done in the corners of the day where we can.

Over the years we have used various specific forms of fund-raising:

  • In autumn 2003 we took a leaf out of Josh Marshall’s book and raised over £1000 in donations (Josh had raised $6k in 24 hours) to fund a week of on-the-ground coverage of that year’s Assembly elections.
  • The Slugger Awards (coming back this Autumn btw, so keep your ear to the ground for further news) heralded the first foray into revenue raising real time events. And we want to do more of that.

But I think Josh Marshall once again is leading the way as far as real time political blogging is concerned, targeting influential audiences. So far as Slugger, we want to move forward in ways which enhance rather than endanger Slugger’s much prized plurality and independence

Orders for Ads are starting to come in (ping Brian for more information).

We’re also in the market for finding sponsors for the daily (or near daily) #SluggerReport, recorded live and interactively via Periscope and then edited and uploaded as podcasts to the Slugger Audioboom account.

Lastly, if you do want to show your support for the work we have been doing for 13 years now, then there’s the donate button on the bottom of the sidebar. Help us move a few mountains and help make more sense of this messy part of the world most of us call home…
Small is good, but large is even better!
  • Mister_Joe

    So you’re not wanting the “normal” small donations?

  • Brian O’Neill

    We will take anything 😉 But we don’t get many donations.This year so far we have received the grand total of £5 in donations. Seriously that’s all.

    We have a lot of regular readers, it would be good if some of your would consider giving a yearly donation to slugger.

    People are happy to pay for their daily paper, subscriptions to magazines like the Economist or The Week but alas people are reluctant to pay for online content.

    If you like the site and want to see it continue to grow then please do give a donation:

  • Mister_Joe

    Mick used to make a direct appeal at the start of each year. Did that work? My donation is now made.

  • mickfealty

    All the more appreciated Joe for your long term and reliable support!!!

    We will find ways to push up the revenues, but donations always help build a war chest. For instance, I could do with updating the phone I use for Periscoping the Slugger Report.

    That’s £200/300 that’s not easy to find in a rush. Brian, David, Johnny and myself will be looking to develop more innovAtive ways of raising cash.

    But donations are direct and incredibly useful!

  • Robin Keogh

    Maybe have an event? Charge people a fixed amount to attend and we can chooseto make donations on the night. I am not yet ganfully employed but I would be happy to help anyway I can.

  • mickfealty

    Thanks Robin.

    Yep, Slugger Awards will certainly be that. I think the advantage of putting money into the equation is that it allows us to create new value.

    From the donations (big and small) we’ve had today already we are moving. I’m very aware that some who have given can barely afford your kind generosity.

    So thanks to you all!! To all you others, please do keep the cash coming!! 😉

  • Robin Keogh

    Let us know when the awards are on in plenty of time so we canmake arrangements… I am dying to meet u all…especially Turgon 😉

  • mickfealty

    An update, we’re now at over 350 in donations!!. Much of it from individuals who been generous in the past.

    If we could that again before the week is out it would help me get an upgrade to an iPhone 6 to use for. the #SluggerReport on periscope app.

    So if you have never given your support before why not consider doing it now?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The yearly donation is an excellent idea. I’m still awaiting a number of fees for commissioned paintings, but when the boat actually comes in…….

    There are a few American trusts I can think of also, but I’ll check out their remit and if appropriate send details by email.

  • mickfealty

    I think Sluggers highest value is its independence. I think in order to preserve that independence we have to sharpen the offering through sponsorship, advertising and other commercial opportunies.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Let me think if anything in any of those areas occurs to me. I will get back to you on your email if they do.