Litsa and I realized something distressing yesterday afternoon: We haven’t been receiving about half of the emails that have been sent to us from What’s Your Grief readers and colleagues since early June. That’s a lot: A lot of emails we now need to catch up on, a lot of people who think we just didn’t care to respond, and a lot of apologies to issue.
For non-techy people like myself, the reason why this happened boils down to the fact that the contact form on our website isn’t working as it should. This is likely due to some website update we did incorrectly. Taking things a step further, this occurred because we can’t afford to pay a company to do regular maintenance on our website. Not having regular IT support is a corner we could get away with cutting two or three years ago, but now—considering our current size and volume—I fear it will no longer fly.
Things have to change.
As a team, our vision for What’s Your Grief has always been the same. The reasons why we began the site are the same reasons we continue to dedicate ourselves to it on a daily basis. Nonetheless, growth has forced us to reevaluate our priorities. For a long time, our primary goal has been to provide grieving people with relatable, reliable, down-to-earth online grief support—with a few laughs and creative projects sprinkled in. Our secondary goal has been to make enough money to keep the site running. Many of you probably know where this is headed.
As it turns out, our secondary goal should have been our primary goal (or at least one of them). Unless we’re able to meet What’s Your Grief’s most basic needs by funding this growing website, it will cease to exist. This is common sense to many of you and, honestly, it’s common sense to us as well… but we’re mental health professionals with a shared blind-spot for business acumen. It’s taken a few too many wake-up calls (like yesterday’s email debacle) for us to fully acknowledge that we need to explore all avenues for sustainability ASAP. In the meantime, we need to reach out to our grief friends for help and support.
If you’ve followed What’s Your Grief for a while, you know that we come to you and ask for whatever support you can give every once in a while (usually once per year). Each time we’ve done this, we’ve been bowled over by your generosity. Currently, we don’t have grant funding or sponsors and we continue to keep What’s Your Grief ad-free. What we do have is our expertise, our creativity, an intern, a coffee maker, and a little money in the bank from the sale of our print resources and workshops. Everything else is thanks to donations from our readers.
So here we are, hat in hand, asking for your support once again. I won’t sell you on what we do here… Either you already know because What’s Your Grief has helped you on a dark day (or dark year), or you don’t. For those of you who would like to help, there are a number of ways you can do so. However, before getting into that, we think it’s only fair to provide a little context for how What’s Your Grief spends its money. If you don’t want the nitty gritty details, feel free to skip ahead (and know that we love you for trusting us!).
Why We Take Donations:
Where Does WYG Spend Its Money?
Eeek… running a website costs a lot more than we realized when we started this “hobby blog” in 2012. Due to the number of people who now visit our site and the number of articles on What’s Your Grief, just keeping the site online (that’s without technical support) costs us well over $3,000/year.
Beyond that, we’d estimate that it’s another $2,500 to pay for online tools and subscriptions to help keep the site user-friendly and to keep our readers up to date via the What’s Your Grief newsletter, etc.
Then, we have the rent and utilities for our office space where we hold professional workshops and community events (approximately $12,500/year). And, I guess in the name of transparency we should own our most frivolous expense: lots and lots of coffee ($1,293,084,175,982,735/year, give or take a few).
Not counting the coffee, this all this adds up to a conservative estimate of $18,000/year just to keep the What’s Your Grief open. And this is before accounting for any special projects, initiatives, or resources we may develop throughout the year (e.g., things like podcasts, webinars, e-courses, print resources and other projects—some of which have a moderate fee associated with them, though we’d love to be able to offer them for free in the future!).
Do You Just Want to Keep the Money for Yourselves So You Can Buy Yourself Designer Handbags?
First of all, no… Not unless they sell designer handbags at Target (Do they?). As you may have noticed, the number we provided above doesn’t include us paying ourselves a dime and, as priceless as we find our work here at What’s Your Grief, we do need to pay ourselves at least a few dimes. Call us selfish, call us unreasonable, but—just like pretty much everyone else—we simply can’t work for free (which is basically what we do now). In order to consider What’s Your Grief sustainable, we have to find a way to keep our dependents clothed and fed.
Isn’t Everything on the Internet Free?
It’s true, most of the content on the internet is free(ish). Websites are often able to offer their content for free and still pay their bills because they earn money by selling ad space. You know, you look at that camera on Amazon and then suddenly it’s chasing you around the internet in the ad boxes on the side and bottom of every article you read.
The difference between us and many other websites is that we don’t sell ad space. Ads are annoying and it’s our hope that we can find ways to fund the site through alternative means. We can’t make any promises about ads in the future. If we have to decide between selling ad space or What’s Your Grief going under, we’ll probably sell some ad space. However, we’re really hoping it doesn’t come to this because we know you don’t want to be reminded of all those items you almost bought but didn’t.
How to Help Support What’s Your Grief (There Are More Ways Than One!)
This is the most traditional way to support What’s Your Grief. We have made requests for one-time donations in the past and, as we mentioned, it has been through the generosity of What’s Your Grief readers that we’ve had enough momentum to get where we are today. Thanks to these donations—many of them made on behalf of loved ones—hundreds of thousands of people new to the experience of grief have been able to find online support and community in our little corner of the web.
Patreon is a platform that allows people to pledge a certain amount per month. There are a couple of benefits of using Patreon: Some people want to donate a certain amount, but find it’s more manageable to spread this donation out over the course of a few months. This is a-okay with us because, when people pledge up-front to donate a certain amount per month, it helps us to plan and budget.
Also, we’re able to communicate with our “Patreons” through the site and to offer some special benefits to people who pledge at certain levels (e.g., access to our webinars, free tote bags, Q&As).
Many professionals don’t realize we have a small but comprehensive library of print booklets and brochures on a number of different topics. We put special care into making our resources relatable and aesthetically unique. We also make sure they provide the reader with next steps for finding further support online and in their local communities.
What’s Your Grief offers in-person trainings and workshops for grieving people and grief support professionals. Using an accessible approach and a combination of practical and creative tools, we strive to help participants apply theories, tools, and techniques related to grief, loss, and other behavioral sciences to their lives and to the lives of those they serve. This is one more way we fund the site and keep food on the table, so keep us in mind for trainings, conferences, and grieving family groups and events.
Donate Dunkin’ Donuts Giftcards (Yes, Seriously!)
Every Thursday morning, we do a workshop at a homeless shelter in Baltimore. And every Thursday morning, we provide coffee and donuts for those groups. If you have an old Dunkin’ Donuts gift card in your wallet that you’re just never going to use, send it our way! Or if you just don’t love giving random grief bloggers money because you don’t know how it will be used, send us a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card and we can assure you it will support coffee and donuts for a grief group held weekly in the largest low-barrier homeless shelter here in Baltimore.
If you want to send us a gift card, send it to:
What’s Your Grief
3600 Roland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211
We are the queens of typos! There are probably at least a few (okay, a ton) in this post so far. We know we should have our articles edited, but we just don’t have any funding to do that yet.
If you are a copy-editor interested in donating some time to editing, that would be amazing. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Spanish Translation Services
We are desperately hoping to translate some of our most read posts and our print resources into Spanish.
If you happen to be an interpreter, translator, or even just a Spanish speaker with good writing skills, please let us know if you’re willing to help! Email us at email@example.com if interested.
Share on Social Media:
If you can’t swing any of the above, please please please just spread the What’s Your Grief love. Tell people about the site and share it on your social media! Every like and share helps to get grief support resources to people who need them.
Thank you so much for your support… We are so grateful for each and every one of our readers!