The Mommies Network is hitting the bigtime in a major way. And we have you to thank for it. Our members, our moderators and managers, our Site Administrators, and the numerous TMN Staff volunteers who all help the network run.
We are on a mission. Did you know that? TMN’s mission: To provide a safe, secure, free place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents and community leaders.
Providing this place to all mothers for free is deep in the core of our values. Your site is available to you for free. Think about that for a minute. How many other mom’s clubs are there where you don’t have to pay dues, there are no membership limitations, and the only thing you have to be is a mom? Not many, and certainly not many that have a nationwide network to support them.
But it is not free to run the free nationwide network. Website hosting isn’t free. Bandwidth isn’t free. Disk space isn’t free. Since we charge no membership fees, we operate solely on the money obtained from donations and sponsorships. When we had a handful of sites, this money wasn’t very difficult to raise, and the network wasn’t very difficult to run. Now with over 100 sites and counting, it is more important that we run things in a way that is sustainable and can allow for growth. We are going after major nationwide sponsorships that will allow us to spread the word about our network in a way in which it has never before been possible. And that excites us tremendously! The larger we are, and the more well-known our name is, the more weight it can carry when we seek sponsorships that help us pay to maintain the network
However, just like regular business, sometimes it takes money to make money. We have to be formidable enough to attract the attention that will take us to the big time. The bigger we get, the more each and every site can benefit by better site performance, top quality network staff, improved software, additional opportunities to enjoy the TMN network, and improved ways to promote your own products and services.
Just to give you an idea of some of our 2010 goals:
National Forum: You've been asking for it for a long time and we are nearly ready to launch our National Website and forum. We are currently researching software options and finding cool applications, games and forums for you to enjoy, along with any other TMN member across the country! We are also planning on a national business directory (all you moms with internet businesses -- think of the exposure!) and instant messaging built right into the site. We are hoping this will be a great benefit to our members and look forward to opening it in 2010.
Liability Insurance: We started the Trekaroo fundraiser to raise money for liability insurance, but we didn't get enough :( Because of the complexity of risk involved with our organization (multiple sites, lots of moms and kids, nationwide), we are looking at a minimum premium PER YEAR of $15,000.00! That's a lot of money, but its worth it to protect our members and TMN. We really feel it is important to take care of this pressing issue and are hoping to procure liability insurance in 2010.
Complete Website Redesign: Do you guys even KNOW that we have an entire website outside of the forums? Don't feel bad if you don't. We haven't done a great job of providing good content outside of our forums. We have some fabulous ideas for a new site design that has regularly updated content, fun applications and lots of local information and stuff to do! We want to invest and make our community sites places that you want to go to for all your local mom/family-friendly information!
In addition to that, we want to come back to our mission a little bit and increase focus on charitable giving. After all, women and children who need a little help are part of our communities and membership. In giving to them, we are giving to our membership. In giving to them, we further our mission. An escaped victim of domestic abuse who has no clothes to wear to a job interview, or a mother who doesn’t know how she will be able to afford a coat for her child this year, needs our support and encouragement. Women struggling to survive cannot afford to strive to be better mothers or community leaders. We want our local sites to be giving back to their communities in a MAJOR way and to set the example, TMN is pledging to donate 30% of our funds to partner organizations that assist mothers and children. By partnering with these charities, we further OUR mission by providing support and encouragement to the moms beyond our websites.
For the first time ever, we are directly soliciting you, our membership, for donation to our network. Last year, we received a total of $123,542. Most of this money was raised by individual sites and is used for local events and charitable donations. Of the money designated for TMN nationally, most came from sponsorship space sold on our forums. Only $8,000 total came from contributions from our members and sites.
In 2008, we spent:
$11.8 thousand given to charities by our sites
$28.6 thousand spent by our sites on events for the membership
$18.5 thousand spent on the internet hosting for the sites, promotional printing and postage, etc.
$26 thousand in salary (our lone employee, our Sponsorship Manager, handles national sponsorships for the entire network!)
In 2010, we need to spend much more money on technology in order to keep up with the growing network, as well as plan for the future growth. In 2008 we were caught with our knickers down when the network grew too large for our old equipment, and we had to stop opening new sites for several months while we raised money (the Insider Pages fundraiser) in order to equipment that will perform better and allow us to grow. Unfortunately, during the waiting, we did lose several mommies waiting to open new sites. We do not want to ever be in that position again. TMN is catching on nationwide, and we need to meet our future head-on. Not play catch-up to it.
So, we are asking you to put your money where your mommie is. We are asking you do donate money to TMN. At the top of each forum and on each home page is a place where you can donate. If TMN has made a difference in your life, we ask that you help keep us running so that we can continue to make a difference in the lives of moms across the country.
As a thank you, we have some super-cool, limited edition Fund Drive 2009 Gear! We'll post more about that in the next day or two, but believe me when I tell you -- you are going to LOVE it :D
Additionally, every time you donate $25, you will get an entry into our Fund Drive Raffle, to be in the running to win lots of cool prizes, such as:
An iPod Nano
An iPod Shuffle
Britax (winners choice of any product (limited edition excluded)!)
Nintendo DS My Virtual Tudor Reading
Savings Angel memberships
A $50 Dress Barn Gift Card
A Dress Barn Tote Bag
A Dress Barn Pashmina
A Febreeze Gift Basket
A French Food's Gift Baskets
A Baby Banz Sunscreen Kit
A Six-Month membership to Netflix
A 3-month membership on Care.com
A Manischewitz Kosher food basket
A $10 Papa John's Gift Card
A Clearwater Infant Bath Tub by 4Moms
A Wooden Musical Band Drum Set
A Black Alphabet Zoo ReStik Wall Stickers Set
Please consider donating to TMN this month. We are excited about the coming year and look forward to reaching out to many more moms in 2010 -- and we will have all of YOU to thank for that!