It has been almost a year since we launched Anabaptist World Inc. last September. Perhaps some of you are wondering how this new independent media company is working out. I’m glad to report we have had an expectation-surpassing year.
When we began budgeting and planning, there were a lot of uncertainties. Our staff would be larger than either of our predecessors, and some of our expenses would be higher. But our subscription list would be larger, our digital presence more expansive and our fundraising more frequent.
Generally, I’m a cautiously optimistic person. Over the past year, I’ve become more confidently optimistic.
As editor Paul Schrag likes to say, “We’re proving this works.”
Here are some of the things we have learned this year:
- Our donors are amazing. You’ve heard me say this before, but it bears repeating: Subscriptions and advertising are not enough to maintain our work. We depend on faithful donors to keep the presses running and ink wells full. You have come through in a big way, and we are grateful.
- Subscriptions have held strong. We have about 8,100 print subscribers, very close to the number we started with. Our goal is to grow the subscription list, and even holding steady is good news at a time when many periodicals are declining in print.
- Our digital and print audiences are mostly different people. Some of you receive the print issues and our email newsletters and follow us on social media. If you do, you are a rock star, and you should email me so I can get you some special AW swag. But mostly, print subscribers are not digital readers, and with this knowledge we are building our membership program, which consists of individuals who give $5 or more a month to support the digital content they love.
- The work is just beginning. We’re still growing into our identity of Anabaptist World — as a staff, board and community of readers. When I feel overwhelmed with the work that remains, I remind myself that even when steps feel small or slow, movement is what counts.
- Beginning our second year, we hope we’ll continue to hear from you. We love receiving your letters and connecting with you at events. It’s encouraging to hear that you are using AW in Sunday schools and sharing print issues with families and friends.
Here’s my confidently optimistic prediction: Anabaptist World Inc. has a great future.