Since launching this newsletter in August 2020, we have sent you over 200 editions, all completely free to the public. During that time, we've built a network of nearly 180 financially independent, trustworthy news outlets, and we've delivered their important work to you via our newsletters—which now include separate Climate, LGBTQ+, and New York editions—and our free app for iOS and Android.
The newsletters and app will remain free! But we are excited to announce a suite of original content and perks for recurring donors to the OptOut Media Foundation, our nonprofit charity, as well as an additional member tier.
Why we're doing this
OptOut has a very modest, and tight, budget. We're a distributed group of 25 paid contractors and volunteers. In 2023, we want the OptOut Media Foundation to blossom into a sustainable nonprofit organization with employees and a huge impact on the journalism industry and society as a whole. To do that, we need to raise a lot more money than we're pulling in right now.
We're pursuing foundation grants and large donations, but it's clear that we need to increase our small, recurring donor base. And the people have spoken: From our recent audience survey, we learned that you would be most likely to become recurring donors if we offer you original content. So we're doing this! Plus, we've got a bunch of additional perks for our supporters, including a brand new Discord chat channel.
You now have four fun tiers to choose from:
- 🎟 Member: $5/month or $55/year
- 🏀 Baller: $9/month or $100/year
- 👑 OG: $20/month or $220/year
Here are the new offerings for our supporters!
Gilded Age 🎟 🏀 👑
A podcast about inequality in the second Gilded Age—that is, the present day. It's hosted by OptOut co-founders Walker Bragman and Alex Kotch and OMF board member Mark Colangelo. Guests have included Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Marianne Williamson, and Dave Daley.
All recurring donors have access to all full-length episodes.
And hey, we've got a new one for you right now! For "The Star Wars Holiday Special," Alex and Walker talked with Tom Scocca, the editor-in-chief of POPULA and former editor at Slate, Gawker, and Deadspin, about the new Star Wars series Andor. This "Star Wars for adults" show was surprisingly good, offering complex characters, an eerie look at the banality of evil behind the fascistic Empire, an exploration of class and exploitation, and a lot more.
Here is a public preview of our discussion for non-donors. Please note: there are spoilers! If you're already supporting us financially, you'll see the full episode at the end of this email (or this post on our site, if you're logged in).
OptOutCast 🎟 🏀 👑
A podcast that features our excellent, independent media outlets. In every episode, we interview the dedicated journalists whose outlets we admire so much that we invited them to join our network. Who are these outlets? What's their latest big story, and how did they produce it? Thus far, OptOut Climate Editor Cristian Salazar and I have recorded episodes interviewing POPULA founder Maria Bustillos, MEANS TV co-founder Naomi Burton, CURRENTLY/Project Mushroom founder Eric Holthaus, and OptOut Climate's Brazil correspondent, Amanda Magnani.
Members have access to select full episodes, and Ballers and OGs get 'em all.
Here's our most recent episode, which we offered in full to everyone.
Discord Community 🎟 🏀 👑
OptOut News has a Discord chat community! Recurring donors will have ways to communicate, network, ask us questions, post events and job openings, and help guide our organization as we continue to improve the app and grow our news network. Journalists whose work concerns our three issue-specific programs will join the community in the near future.
All recurring donors have access.
Public Recognition 🎟 🏀 👑
All recurring donors will get recognition of their contribution on our website, and we will personally thank OGs on our podcasts. If you do not want your name listed as a supporter, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that our transparency policy requires us to disclose all donors who give $500 or more in a given year.
Video Chats with OptOut Leaders 🏀 👑
Ballers and OGs will get access to periodic video conversations with OptOut leaders such as myself, our editors, and other folks who make this organization tick.
Merch! 🏀 👑
New annual Ballers and OGs will get some quality OptOut merch (T-shirt, tote bag, hat, or mug), and new monthly donors at those levels will get a brand new OptOut sticker.
And remember: we are a nonprofit charity, so all donations are tax-deductible. See all tiered benefits here and sign up!
If you're already a recurring OptOut donor, expect to get a Discord invite, see your name on our website, and more very soon!
Please Help OptOut Empower Independent News!
It just so happens that we're in the midst of a fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 by the end of this month so we can continue our work on the app, keep up our newsletter programs, and continue growing our news network and our audience through next year. We've made good progress but still have nearly $30,000 to raise over the next 16 days!
🚨 We need to get to $50,000 to hold corporate and legacy media accountable and maintain our free app and newsletters next year! Will you become an OptOut Member, Baller, or OG to help us elevate independent media?
Thanks so much to those who have already supported us in this fundraising drive!
Co-Founder and Executive Director
The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.