Ok... Here's sort of the deal...
I have been getting e-mail after e-mail on this topic today, and here's basically how it comes down...
While I appreciate all of those who have offered to have the site moved to their space, I really don't see the way the site is hosted as any part of the issue here. Our hosting guys have been more than accomodating to us in terms of bandwidth and space when needed.
This site is loosely based on the "Silent honor system", you know, like those candy boxes that ask you for a quarter for a piece of candy, but they really aren't enforcing it. There has been talk on several occasions about making this site a paid membership site in one way or another. It was also made quite clear that the members did not want it that way, so it was left alone. There were other opportunities to sell ad sponsorships on the site, but the people didn't want that, so it never really happened. The exception was the spam mail eliminator banner that I put at the bottom of the forums, but everyone figured out a way to get around the banner without seeing it. Total funds raised with the banner: 0. It is now gone.
I also created a store at cafepress so that members could get some sort of merchandise for their donations. Problem with that was that once Cafepress took their share, there wasn't much left for the site. People also grumbled about how expensive the merchandise was, and in turn, didn't buy it.
I really don't want to create a dollar figure that we are trying to raise for the following reasons:
1. It has the "Jimmy Swaggert" effect on people. It is a direct turn off to outrightly say "We need 500 dollars to keep the "ministry" going for another year.
2. If we create a dollar amount and then later on something else comes up, then we have to start over at square one. This way, it seems that we are "Needy" or "Greedy"... One or the other.
I like the honor system... Here's how it works:
YOU decide what the club is worth to YOU. You have to place a monetary value on what you get from it. Then, whatever that amount is, donate it. If everyone did this, there would be funds BEARING INTEREST in the pot. These funds could be used for hosting/registration fees, Perhaps prizes for the rallys, site feature additions, and when it comes time to buy new software, then it would be a no-brainer. Pay the people and get it done.
Over the past 4 years, the donations that have come in account for roughly 1/8 of the money that goes out to keep the site online.
I am not really at liberty to put a price tag on this site. It has a different value for each member. I will continue to keep the site online, but I cannot commit to make the upgrade purchases or annual service contracts on my own.
Anyone who would like to contribute can do so by visiting paypal and sending a donation to firstname.lastname@example.org
. You can also visit the main page of the site and click on the make a donation button. Any funds left over after the security and software upgrades will be used to help pay the hosting for the site, and whatever else there is enough left to do.
Perhaps there will be enough left over to do some sort of giveaway on the site.