According to Erin’s numbers about 8,000 unique visitors a day read at least one story on BC.
I’m going to assume that many, many BC users are frequent users and will guess that about 25,000 people read five to ten stories a month.
Those 25,000 readers are enjoying an immense service. About 1-3% of those are authors who also have the satisfaction of a great place to post their fiction.
Erin stated that about 100 people give an average of about $50 a month. She also stated that 2-3 people are responsible for a large share of the total amount gifted so the median is less than $50. I’m not at all surprised by the existence of the 80/20 rule in this set. Giving is subject to a bell curve, just like every other human activity.
What is surprising is that only .4% contribute.
Around 70% of the world’s population makes a charitable contribution in any given year.
So why don’t at least 10% of the BC users contribute? I have some theories:
1.) Lack of information. I contribute because during the two decades I’ve known Erin I’ve gotten a peek at her character several times. She is what she says she is. However, if I didn’t know any better I would assume that Erin is running a very successful website and is able to monetize her millions of visitors in a way that has her rolling in high cotton.
I know that isn’t the case, but do others?
Erin, perhaps a page that gives the users a view into who you are and your challenges keeping this site functioning and supporting our community. My guess is that most users don’t read your blogs -- or any other. Maybe they wouldn’t read your bio either, but I think it would be worth a try. Maybe you need to have an overlay ad soliciting Hatbox contributions, that they would have to click through every time they open a story?
2.) Financial inability. A recent study indicated that Transgender in America are four time more likely to be living below the poverty level. That’ a fact. 15% vs. 4%. Okay, so let’s say BC is unlucky, that would mean that about 20% of the users are living below the poverty level and probably another 20% are quite close. I don’t expect people to donate rather than paying for their necessities, and neither does Erin. But that leaves 60% of 25,000 readers or 15,000 who should be making a contribution.
3.) Causes that are MORE worthy. I started a very successful foundation that has done a lot for my community. I learned early on that there is extreme competition for the charitable dollar. I challenge the users of this site to find a cause that does more to benefit their mental health than this site. I can understand if BC isn’t the only charitable contribution you make, but it should be ONE of them.
4.) Fear. I believe the single largest problem is simple fear of exposure. I believe the average user is still very much in the closet and wishes to remain there. I think Erin needs to address that problem. She needs to create a way for people to be 100% comfortable that they can send her a contribution anonymously.
What’s your opinion?