OK, let’s just be honest – that sound you can hear is the first rattle of a collecting jar as MyFootballWriter this week embarks on a new fund-raising drive.
With the local advertising market proving a tough nut to crack, we have taken a leaf out of the Guardian’s book and today launch a membership model in a bid to secure a sustainable future for the platform and its 12,000-plus loyal City readers.
“Connor’s recent video interview with the club’s sporting director Stuart Webber is very much the way we want the platform to grow, ” said the site’s publisher Rick Waghorn, as he unveiled the new, fund-raising partnership with the US-based Patreon operation.
“Embracing new formats such as video whilst dominating the week’s news agenda in a way that Connor’s exclusive, sit down chat with Stuart did is exactly where I want MyFoootballWriter to be going forward.
“But we have to match such ambition with funds and for as long as the local ad market remains as challenging as it does, so we have little alternative but to turn to our readers and let a membership model underpin our commercial future.”
So for as little as the price of half a pint of beer, readers will be asked to dip into their pockets and support MyFootballWriter directly.
Four monthly membership tiers will allow people to contribute as little or as much as they see fit. If just one reader in 20 went for the lowest -priced model – the $3 a month Patron option – so MyFootballWriter would be £1,000 better off and in a far better position to pursue its many ambitions after 13 successful years reporting on all things Norwich City.
“This is not a paywall,” Rick explained. Nor is it about to line the contributors’ pockets with anyone’s hard-earned silver – their ‘payment’ remains a slap-up breakfast at Bills before the final home game of the season.
This is about helping to cover running costs and to fuel a few ambitions of what might be possible with an extra dime or two.
“All the content and the comments will still be free to view as they are now,” he added. “It is just an opportunity for our readers to help towards our running costs as well as securing a rich and vibrant future for the platform at a time when the club itself looks Premier League-bound.
“Hopefully over the course of the last 13 years people have grown to appreciate the product that MyFootballWriter offers and this way rather than watch it wither on the vine funds-wise, together we can push on and embrace a new, ambitious future to the benefit of all parties.”.
Site editor Gary Gowers added: “We’ve thought long and hard about this and in an ideal world, like our football club, we’d have become ‘self-funding’, with advertising revenue being our gate receipts, TV money and player sales. Alas, despite our best efforts, our Christmas advertising push didn’t have the desired effect and no-one else would take me even on a free.
“But we don’t feel ready to call it a day – not even close – especially at a time when numbers and engagement are soaring again, and the likes of Connor and Ben are taking us into new, hitherto unexplored areas – new for us at least. We now have a YouTube channel for god’s sake!
“So, yes, that is the sound of loose change rattling in the bottom of our collection tin but, we’d like to think, for the right reasons. For our part, if any of you out there are good enough to help us, we’ll not only vow to deliver more of the same but also look to bring even more to the MFW party to keep you, our readers, informed and entertained.
“We’ve been telling you for years that we couldn’t do it without you, and now that’s true more than ever”.
For those who may be able to help us, our Patron page is here
We’d be eternally grateful.