Kuro5hin launches a fund-raising drive and moves toward non-profit status.
June 18, 2002 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Kuro5hin launches a fund-raising drive and moves toward non-profit status. (Via Blogroots.) Could this be a model for MetaFilter?
posted by timeistight (40 comments total)
It will be interesting to see how this works out. I wonder how Rusty will like reporting to a board of directors.
posted by timeistight at 10:37 AM on June 18, 2002

For further reference, the current fundraising drive was a follow-up to yesterday's thread about an impending k5 crisis. For me, the biggest question-mark was Rusty's 70k salary, but his breakdown makes it easier to swallow.
posted by Marquis at 10:46 AM on June 18, 2002

i was surprised to learn (as a casual K5 reader) that Rusty attempts to make the site his full time job. and that he wants $70K/year to do it. seems like the kind of site that could be kept up by a number of dedicated users in their spare time, no? not to take aware from the extraordinary work and commitment it takes to run a site like K5 or MeFi, but... i don't know. soon after i became acquainted with MeFi and learned that matt did it in his spare time, i rushed to the "Donate" button. but to pay for one guy's $70K salary because he wants to run a (albeit high quality) discussion board? i'm not so sure.
posted by gwint at 10:52 AM on June 18, 2002

gwint: That point has been something I'm having a really hard time explaining. This comment is probably the closest I've gotten to getting it right.

Yes, you absolutely could maintain the site with some part time volunteers, and if it came to it, that's what would happen. But I think we should become something more, progress, move forward. It's all well and good talking a lot on the internet, but what's it good for?

The goal here is to set up the site as a nonprofit, run by elected Directors from the community (and yes, I will be answerable to them), and eventually start an endowment for furthering online community and collaborative media projects. I want to be there when the next K5 or MeFi is starving for lack of support and resources. I think what we're doing is important, and we should think about where it's going to go in the future.

I think it's something that ought to be done, and I'm probably in the best position to do it right now, so that's what this is all about. I hope it works. :-)
posted by rusty at 11:00 AM on June 18, 2002

nitpicking here - a for-profit company, especially one publicly owned, is run by a board of directors. A non-profit organization is run by a board of trustees.
posted by starvingartist at 11:00 AM on June 18, 2002

Starting a non-profit whose first act would be hiring its founder does seem a little iffy, though I'm sure it's been done many times.

Does the system administration of a site like Kuro5hin or MetaFilter have to be a one person job? Is there no way a committee of dedicated volunteers could do it? Matt?
posted by timeistight at 11:03 AM on June 18, 2002

Oops. I'm new at this. We're just starting the research.

By the way, we're being MeFied. Of all days, the database picks today to freak out every five minutes. Bloody hell.
posted by rusty at 11:04 AM on June 18, 2002

Why shouldn't someone make 70k for such work? Is it worth so much less than the millions that CEOs make in all sorts of fields for increasing profits for a limited number of shareholders? or people playing professional sports? etc.?

Tiger Woods may be a god on the golf course, but he does absolutely nothing for ME in my life. Someone running a site like Metafilter or similar ones does. It's all in what you value, I suppose, and ultimately society will decide.
posted by rushmc at 11:07 AM on June 18, 2002

but to pay for one guy's $70K salary because he wants to run a (albeit high quality) discussion board? i'm not so sure.

But the relevant question for you as a donor isn't, Does rusty deserve $X, it's, Am I willing to contribute $Y, to help k5 keep going?

If everyone contributed whatever amount it was worth to them to help k5 stay alive, it would no doubt be a win-win for everyone. Especially if/when k5 succeeds in going nonprofit.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:09 AM on June 18, 2002

starvingartist, my wife works for a non-profit housing society here in British Columbia and she always refers to the board members as directors. I'm sure different jurisdictions have different rules.
posted by timeistight at 11:09 AM on June 18, 2002

Ok, I just signed on for 6 months of 'Full' membership. For the record, any site I frequent daily, I have no problem paying membership dues. (this includes FARK.com and now K5 and would include MetaFilter if need be)

I think one excellent solution was made in a comment on blogroots, while I don't mind paying for sites, it would be better (for me at least) to pay to join a network of sites, of course the problem being everyone would probably have a different idea as to what sites should be in the network.

Me? I am just waiting for my TotalKuro5hin badges

posted by patrickje at 11:19 AM on June 18, 2002

Why shouldn't someone make 70k for such work? Is it worth so much less than the millions that CEOs make in all sorts of fields for increasing profits for a limited number of shareholders? or people playing professional sports? etc.?

The thing is, it's not about should. Talented novelists and authors should be able to raise families without taking on other jobs. Good teachers should be paid extremely well. But meanwhile, fiction magazines are swamped with high-quality applications even when they don't pay a cent to their published authors, and many of the best teachers make less than half of what Rusty's proposing.

I don't doubt that Rusty deserves that much cash, I'm just not sure that he's providing a service that is worth that amount, according to the cold-hearted pragmatism of today's economic climate. I'm resigned to the fact that as a writer, I'm going to live poor. Rusty shouldn't "resign" himself to a fate (or to a salary) he's not comfortable with, but whether his goal is realistic or not has yet to be demonstrated. Here's hoping it is.
posted by Marquis at 11:23 AM on June 18, 2002

Does the system administration of a site like Kuro5hin or MetaFilter have to be a one person job? Is there no way a committee of dedicated volunteers could do it? Matt?

There's a fundamental difference between the technical problems of being an admin and the social or "big picture" requirements of an admin.

Yes, it would be easy and physically possible to allow 3 or 5 or 12 people to do admin duties instead of one. The mechanical means can be covered by others, but I know this sounds wishy-washy and I'm not saying this to toot my own horn, but the "vision" is almost always lost as you add more people to the admin mix.

Rusty's got a big brain full of thousands of ideas, and k5 so far has been like an iceberg. It may just look like another community site, but he's implemented a bunch of cool features that do a lot more than anyone else has in this realm. The community picks the front page in a way that has no equal. The new version of threading that recently debuted was another milestone. Who knows what will come next in six months.

The site gets closer to true collaborative writing/reporting/whatever than a typical community site. If someone wasn't at the helm to maintain the site with the bigger picture in mind, the site would never move forward.

Yeah, rusty could deem 5 others with the rights to do what he can do, and he could go get a dayjob and neglect the site a bit, but the community would certainly suffer. It really helps out to have one person reading the entire site, emailing people that break rules, thinking of new features for problems that happen day in and day out, etc.

When you spread that out among several people, problems can go unchecked, and without one person having the "grand vision" of where the site should be going, the site doesn't live up to its potential.

In many ways, I think Rusty's simply betting the farm on his site. He could get a job, stop putting so much effort into it, and it'd still be a good site, but in a few years time, the site would be in a much different place from where it could be. Kudos to Rusty for sticking to his guns and following his dreams, it doesn't sound like it has ever been easy, and the road ahead looks darker still.
posted by mathowie at 11:24 AM on June 18, 2002

starvingartist: there differences in terminology because there are 50+ state laws governing the incorporation of non-profits, and differences in practice among types of institutions.

My father, who worked as a non-profit "CEO" for over 30 years, preferred Director and Board of Trustees, partly because it emphasized what he saw as the difference between a professional manager's executive role, and the necessity that board members be selected as much for their fund-raising chops as their desire or ability to manage by proxy. He absolutely hated the terminology he found quite often in the same industry, which was Executive Director and Board of Directors, which by the same language-based reasoning tended to emphasize that the board would micro-manage rather than concern itself with the long-term survival of the institution. In any event, there are few statutory requirements one way or the other, and sometimes they change from one to the other depending on who's running things.

I've always been amused that the Chicago school district change from "Superintendent" to "CEO" when they wished to hire business-like outside management.
posted by dhartung at 11:27 AM on June 18, 2002

To add to what Matt said, I do have volunteer help, and I'd be lost without them. Driph does all our design (or as much as we let him do, anyway! The ugly bits are the programmers fault, as usual), Inoshiro hosts email and DNS, and hurstdog and four or five other people do a ton of work on Scoop development. Help is needed no matter what, and the net's still a generous place.

By the way, they're murdering all my optimistic goals so far. I'm, frankly, astounded.
posted by rusty at 11:30 AM on June 18, 2002

Sorry, maybe I missed it -- is the question whether it's worth $70k to make Kuro5hin go? Am I the only one who thinks the answer is Duh Yes?

Of all the crap that came out of the Dot Coms, and all the millions that were spent on talking sock puppets, here's something that's making a difference. Rusty's talking about taking home something like $32k a year out of this (the 70k figure is total operating expenses). I can't imagine why he's not talking about $70k outright.

Matt either for that matter. I'm very much in favor of the not-for-profit model. But then again, I pledge to KEXP every damn drive too.
posted by daver at 11:32 AM on June 18, 2002

mattpfeff: if k5 becomes a non-profit, i'd be concerned about exactly where my donations went just like when i donate to the red cross, or the GMHC. as the only expense the proposed entity would incur, the size of the salary would directly effect how it "kept going". for someone as obviously talented as rusty not to be able to do a few freelance gigs in order to pay his rent instead of asking for a salary that is almost $10K higher than the average in SF doesn't seem like it's asking too much.

rusty: just to be clear: in no way do i think you're greedy for wanting to have this particular job at that particular salary. i just think you want it both ways: the dream job at a very comforable salary. most of us have to choose between the two.

also, yes, i feel like having a stable online community with full time employees outside of the corporate world is vital. but it seems like the way to create a strong community is not to mimic old-school methods (centralized, for profit company, centralized non-profit organization) but perhaps to utilize the very thing that makes this community worthwhile-- the distributed element (opensource? community co-op?)

with that said, dedicated, centralized control certainly has worked well for MeFi and k5. a single guy runs the infastructure (with suggestions from the community) and the community provides the content.

[on preview i see my points have mostly been addressed by others]

to pick up from matt: i framed it as infrastructure vs content. you add something more: the "vision". i think that's an important point, but i wonder if the "vision" of a community site comes as much from the community as it does the founder?
posted by gwint at 11:34 AM on June 18, 2002

my bad
posted by starvingartist at 11:37 AM on June 18, 2002

Unless I'm misreading, the 70K figure is for all operating expenses. Rusty's proposed salary would be less than half of that. Which is quite low--probably too low, really.
posted by feckless at 11:51 AM on June 18, 2002

i think that's an important point, but i wonder if the "vision" of a community site comes as much from the community as it does the founder?

A quick look at two years of MetaTalk should answer the question of how reliable the community is at forming a vision (the phrase "too many cooks spoil the pot" comes to mind).

I'm simply saying that at some point, one person, or a small group of people have to filter out all the community feedback into where the site should go. On the k5 thread where Rusty announced this, 600 people gave their take on the issue, and figuring out what should be done next isn't easy, and having many admins makes that even more difficult.

Also, trying to run a project with a bunch of people means that each person only has one voice, and may not be able to convince the rest if their idea is unconventional. Old-school methods of having one person in charge are that way because they work. Companies with five co-founders often fail due to communication issues of one form or another, while single founder led companies don't usually have that problem (but they may suffer from a control-freak dictator).

Certainly it can be said that Rusty wanting to make his site both a full-time job for him, and net him a comfortable salary is a bit of wishful thinking, but how else could he keep things up in the long term? He started the site out for fun, and it became more work than fun at one point and he wants to be paid for that difference. When getting paid, you could get little pay for fun work, or lots of pay for drudgery, and no matter how you slice it, keeping a site up day in and day out, with thousands of voices and personalities, for several years is going to eventually approach drudgery (someone could plot fun vs. time for any project of this sort and get the curves I'm talking about). It's pie-in-the-sky time for Rusty, so he might as well dream. Make a fun site your job and make enough money to comfortably pay the bills, maybe save up for a house, and someday have a huge family. We'll see how close he gets to attaining that goal, but there's nothing wrong with having high aspirations.
posted by mathowie at 11:59 AM on June 18, 2002

I think the issue of Rusty's salary is a complete red herring. Once a board is in place, it will be up to them to decide how to deal with staffing.

That's what I see as most interesting thing going on here: Rusty will have to report to a board. And boards have a life of their own. I'm sure any Executive Director would tell you that a significant part of their job is "managing" their board.

Now the board may be happy to simply rubber-stamp Rusty's vision, or it may get feisty and want to develop it's own vision. Either way, there'll be no way to put the genie back in the bottle.

I think it's actually very brave of Rusty to take this step. Obviously, part of his motivation is to be able to make a living doing what he clearly loves doing. I don't see anything wrong with that.

I wish him all the best.
posted by timeistight at 12:05 PM on June 18, 2002

Interesting to see no mention of this at Slashdot. But then again, Slashdot has a long history of pissing off (or maybe on) its community members. It certainly has no interest in sending potential donors to a competing community site.
posted by websavvy at 12:09 PM on June 18, 2002

feckless: Not to get pulled down in technicalities, but the $70k figure includes $12,000 for operating expenses, and then $58k for taxes and "money Rusty takes home". We all pay taxes, well - those who are above the poverty line - so it amounts to a $58,000 salary plus possible miscellanea.

Matt summed up well how I feel. The plan is probably wishful thinking, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I hope it succeeds.
posted by Marquis at 12:18 PM on June 18, 2002

From what I can see, Rusty's vision for the future seems reasonable to me. It's his site and if he wants to make it a full-time and paying job, then by all means he should go ahead. As Matt has said, whether it's a labor of love or just labor, he should be able to at least try to achieve some sort of monetary gain.

If Matt were to make MetaFilter a not-for-profit enterprise, and he got a salary, I wouldn't begrudge him, either. As a matter of fact, I will even suggest that he go that route if it's an option. I know that I would be willing to pay to stay on as a member.

Rusty, I wish you much luck.
posted by ashbury at 12:26 PM on June 18, 2002

I subscribed to kuro5hin for a year, its worth it to me. Rusty's salary is irrelevant, it was worth 50 bucks on my part to keep the site alive. I don't even frequent it that often but I find the articles interesting and the way the community works as a whole amazing. I wouldn't give a nickle to slashdot, it ceased to be relevant quite a long time ago. Their moderation system is broken such that it mostly just promotes the party line. It's the same with most news sites, they either toe the liberal or conservative party lines, and as such are useless. I've paid money to Fark in the past but I've since stopped visiting that site, instead of posting humorous stories they now post stories that will generate flamewars. It's good in terms of burning through ad impressions but I can't be bothered with it.

I'm not ready to pay metafilter yet because I don't know how important it is to me yet.
posted by substrate at 12:29 PM on June 18, 2002

Folks, even if Rusty does get the whole $70K as salary, that's not even close to being unreasonable. I know people who make more than that doing jobs a lot less stressful than his must be.
posted by kindall at 12:51 PM on June 18, 2002

websavvy: Actually I know the guys at Slashdot very well, and they've always been really supportive. I suspect they're not running a story about this because either they have a lot of stuff queued up already, or they're just being nice to me. MeFi and Fark both linking to a story with over 700 comments on the same day is wreaking havoc on our database as it is. Slashdotting it right now would just put us down for the rest of the night.

PS, and OT: It's probably pointless to post this down in an unrelated thread, but linking to K5 style guide: please use the /story/ or /displaystory/ links, not the old style "/?op=story blah blah" links. I have no way to protect against those. I already moved the main URL of that great big unwieldy first article to a static file, but the MeFi link (in the first comment of this thread) is, as far as I can figure out, un-rewritable.

Where do you get those links from? I thought I had expunged them all from the site, but they still keep showing up.
posted by rusty at 1:17 PM on June 18, 2002

The issue of salary is bullshit.

gwint, you're comparing Rusty's proposed salary to the average for the area for all jobs. You've given no thought to the fact that you're comparing him to janitors, McDonald's burger-flippers and gas-pumpers.

Regarding operating expenses, there's a lot more than Rusty's salary. Legal bills, accounting, tax filings, hosting, postage, long distance calls, travel, lodging...all of these things happen with a business, much as they've happened already, only out of Rusty's pocket. Rusty will finally get to chalk them up as business expenses, and have them paid by the business, as they should be. I think that's great.

I've started two 501(c)3s, and I still run one of them. It is, in fact, a popular and vibrant on-line community, nancies.org. The incorporation was easy, and getting that tax status, though it takes a bit, was snap. It cost us about $2,000 all told. We're already operating as a 501(c)3, though we don't get have the final approval from the IRS. (It takes about 18 months, but you can start as soon asyou file.) We make money via advertising and selling schwag, but I certainly wouldn't be beneath having a fun drive at some point. (Though I hope it's never necessary.)

The big difference is that we are a non-stock corporation with no paid employees. That's a good set up now, but it may not always be. There will come a time when I'm sick of running nancies.org, because it's a lot of work. (~20 hours a week. On top of a full-time job and another part-time job.) At that time, I'll realize that I need to start getting paid, and attempt to coordinate that with the rest of the gang that runs the site and figure out how to make it work. Why? For the same reasons that Rusty decided. Running a site like nancies.org or kuro5hin.org isn't all the fun part that you volunteered to do: moderating boards, writing stories, hacking at code, etc. 50% of what I do is bullshit: paying bills, ordering and shipping merchandise, balancing the checkbook, paying taxes, billing customers, etc., etc. That sucks. And it's not what I volunteered to do, any more than Rusty knew that he was volunteering to do that when he started k5.

So I gave my $10 this afternoon. And I hope that all other right-minded k5ers will do the same.
posted by waldo at 1:29 PM on June 18, 2002

boing boing reports: Carl "Plastic" Steadman's posted a long, hilarious counterpoint to Kuro5hin Rusty's plea to K5 users. Carl's going to be selling Plastic webmail accounts to Plastic users to underwrite the cost of running the system. In his fine satirical style, Carl introduces the idea:

i was just thinking maybe k5 needs a sponsor? like boing boing sort of has the EFF and slashdot has VA (and plastic has carl :) if you already have a grass-roots organization, instead of creating a not-for profit from scratch it might be easier to "find and align" so to speak!

also thinking along the lines of merging community sites with RL communities (there was a slashdot post about this recently) and the recent proliferation of mefi-tech/type sites, what if every city/town set up a community discussion board. municipal sponsers seem like a great idea to me [along with munipal ISPs] and licensing the code and service could potentially be very lucrative. like there are already a bunch of http://www.ci.[city].[state].us/ sites out there that i think are underpromoted. having proven discussion space technology made available on them could rectify the situation.
posted by kliuless at 1:40 PM on June 18, 2002

Running a community oriented site that gets a lot of traffic burns a lot of cash. At least that's my experience (self link -- cope)

Bandwidth and maintenance are recurring costs that can kill you if you don't have a steady source of income. The idea of taking the site non-profit seems to be an excellent way to provide this income stream with tax benefits for contributors.

Another approach is to write off the hosting costs as corporate advertising. For us, this was the best approach since we receive a lot of great PR and exposure from giving away free stuff.

In both cases, the community benefits because of tax avoidance.

P.S. For those of you complaining about the $70k figure, go cost out a 150+ GB account with database connectivity. And then find someone to run it.
posted by Chief Typist at 2:26 PM on June 18, 2002

I wish Rusty alot of luck...

That said - seems like he has jumped the gun with his all-out pledge drive. He has raised close to $20,000 in just over a day, for a non-profit enterprise that doesn't yet exist and lacks a clear mission.

Running a company is alot of work. Running a non-profit company is more work than being the sole proprietor of seat-of-the-pants enterprise. If it takes "playing house" with some official documents, bloated governance structure, and legal fees to make Rusty feel justified in writing himself a paycheck from this new loot, then more power to him. But I don't think this is necessarily a tenable model for every such cottage enterprise.

Rusty is suggesting that the hypothetical K5 non-profit could be used to fund similar ventures. I think thats a fine goal, but should be coupled with an understanding that keeping things lean and uncomplicated is often the better model. I have been involved with activist groups, non-profits, and start-ups that devoted unnecessary amounts of energy to their own governance at the expense of their real goals. Its often a tragic waste of energy.

In any event, the real beauty of this is that there is enough transparency that we'll all be along for the ride, hopefully to see it succeed.
posted by mantid at 3:03 PM on June 18, 2002

1. Starting a non-profit isn't that difficult. There are some good books on it. Check out the gates money floating around; it could be used.

2. There are plenty of people who are being paid more than either 35k or 70k to do almost nothing, and even though I don't read k5 unless mefi is down, people have to be paid for the work they do. Maybe it's just me, but I hope when I finally do something cool with my life people who benefit will support me. I believe in buying music and books and supporting artists that I like. Purchasing dollars are equivalent to votes. I'd rather mine go to some individual who had a vision, and also had the wherewithal to follow it. Matt is inspiring to me, and I'm sure that Rusty is to his community members. Good luck to both of you.
posted by goneill at 3:17 PM on June 18, 2002

I agree with time is tight - I think serious consideration needs to be given the composition of any board, they can be hugely difficult, often interfering on the basis of partial knowledge, i.e. they read something about what you do in the in-flight magazine on the plane up to the monthly board meeting. Dealing with a board is the last thing I'd want to do.

I'd keep it private and any extra I made I'd donate to whoever, I'd publish accounts and generally not be a capiatalist pig dog, but I wouldn't get a board in.
posted by johnny novak at 3:31 PM on June 18, 2002

I was about to point to the same commentary kliuless does and suggest that maybe offering email accounts could be a viable solution. $5/month or $50/year for folks who want k5 email accounts to flaunt to their friends and such might not be a bad idea. At the very least you might get some folks who want email accounts that can't justify the cost of a premium membership that gets them some features they can live without.

Reguardless, I'm working for a company that's hit a bit of a rough patch as of late. I know how scary and horrible not knowing if you'll still be able to do the thing you love for a living is. Even tho I'm not a k5 user I'll sure as hell skip them a couple bucks that're floating around in my paypal account. Hope you pull out of your problems rusty.
posted by boogah at 4:24 PM on June 18, 2002

What he said.
posted by kchristidis at 5:16 PM on June 18, 2002

What he said

Perfect, he's wagging his finger at k5 and other communities, for begging for cash from it's readers... with a paypal donation button on the sidebar of his site.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 5:44 PM on June 18, 2002

A paypal.com button is a pretty common thing to find on many a weblog these days, and doesn't even come close in comparison. I doubt any of us would be talking about this if Rusty simply put a paypal button on K5.

That was written before I found out about the NFP plans too. Although I'm not a K5 subscriber, frequent reader, or contributor, I think it's interesting no one has really asked for details on a proposed NFP plan. Nothing against Rusty for going at it 'guns-a-blazin' to save K5, but how does he plan to fit K5 into one of the accepted NFP categories (scientific, literary, charitable, testing for public safety,
religious, educational, or prevention of cruelty to children or animals)?

And while everyone has mentioned the interesting situation a Board would be(if it pans out), I think the really interesting thing will be the membership of the proposed Corporation, how it will be comprised and who it will be comprised of.

Attempting to invalidate 'what I said' with a comment about the (ir)relevance of a paypal button on my site really doesn't provide a valid counter-point to my position either.
posted by djc at 8:56 PM on June 18, 2002

I'm not trying to invalidate your position. I'm not saying you have no place making comments with a paypal button on your site. It's your site, your right. I had no intention of discrediting your remarks, only pointing out a small, and yes... probably insignificant, piece of irony.

Which speaks to the larger issue of the fact that k5 is his site and it's his right to do with it and his personal life that he wishes.

That is, unless they form a non-profit.

Speaking to your remark of details... I'm sure those will be addressed properly, they have to in order to receive NPF status. However, if they choose a non-profit direction, then a great deal about the site will be determined by the board of directors and it's charter as a non-profit. Meaning, what the site will endow... I feel this is a premature goal, self-preservation should be primary at first. If elected president by the Board, Rusty will have a heavy hand in executing his own wishes, but his responsibilities (as well as his salary) will be determined by the board. How the board gets chosen will probably be by invitation to run for an election voted upon by the users. I doubt the positions would be permanent.... like all non-profit corporations, they would be terms.

Having served on many boards of non-profits myself and watching my wife serve as a director, then president of a non-profit for quite a few years makes me feel qualified to speak on the topic... please feel free to invalidate me right back ;)
posted by Dean_Paxton at 12:12 AM on June 19, 2002

A question... Many of us listen to NPR. Every so often NPR has a fund drive for "member supported" radio. Why should it be different for web sites? After all, we all get some value from the different online communities we join. If we can get even more by contributing, why not.

I really like the concept of what Rusty is trying. I think it could be a good development for the blogging community. He's not saying "hey, pay up or you can't get in." He's saying "here are the costs of running this thing, now will you help." From my standpoint, it's not a bad thing.

Anyone who's been involved in running a site of moderate to large popularity is well aware with the costs associated (TNL.net, my own site, for example, is barely breaking even from the advertising, serving an average of 3 million ads a month) but let's face it, while we do it for love, it should not bankrupt us.

So, good luck to Rusty and much hope for reaching your fund drive goal.
posted by TNLNYC at 2:54 PM on June 19, 2002

mantid (and others) about nonprofit plans: I am totally aware that forming and operating a nonprofit is not like running a sole proprietorship (whch K5 isn't). It is currently a C-corp, and I've been running it for two years now, so I'm not totally unfamiliar with the concept of operating a real business. Nevertheless, I have a lot to learn, and a lot of work to do.

Yes, I wish I had just done this months ago and we were a non-profit already for this funding effort, but unfortunately, I didn't. So for now, the deal is that whatever comes in pays my salary while I wade through the work of forming this thing. I completely realize that there's no way for me to guarantee to everyone that what they're contributing to is what will happen, other than giving them my word. Luckily, I've been doing this for a (relatively) long time, and people do trust me, because I've repeatedly not screwed them.

About details, my rough plan is to form a member-elected board, which will either be relatively large and select an executive Board and a Director, or will be smaller, and just be the executive board itself. Exactly how that works is not clear yet, but is one of the big things to design. The site's assets will be owned by the foundation, and running K5 will be its major project. The idea being to leave room in the structure for other projects in the future, if that becomes possible.

For what "category" we fit in, I would say whichever one NPR and PBS fit in. "Literary"? I don't know yet. I can't see how we could be considerd drastically different from them though.

Basically, I know there's a lot of work ahead. I'm scared out of my mind. But I'm going to do it anyway, and everyone's invited to watch. :-)
posted by rusty at 3:12 PM on June 19, 2002

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