The III Percent Mission Statement: Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will
within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. ~ Thomas Jefferson
In the absence of orders, go find something Evil and kill it!
Monday, March 19, 2012
III: Political Force & Gun Shows - Please Read
I mentioned recently that if NRA chose to underwrite an effort along the lines of our III Pioneer Project, they could do it with the swipe of a debit card. They'd never miss the $4 million bucks to get a company up and running and properly capitalized, build a small village for first employees, et cetera.
Because they have annual memberships.
Money is power in politics. Hate the game, not the player. If you want the III to have any sort of voice, or even if you want the III Community to grow and reach other Americans who think as do we, it takes cash to get there.
Regardless of the means: Buying online ads, magazine ads, radio ads, booths at gun shows, to print business cards and hand them out on street corners...whatever. To reach people takes cash.
As I look at the books for the 527 there is a simple fact: It is a statistically small group of people who have donated or purchased any III Gear. And the bulk of the revenue is from a smaller subset of people who contribute or buy III Gear more than once.
Yes, we are growing at a slow rate. The radio ads are doing a bit. General accretion is in play. Our ROI (Return on Investment) thus far with radio and all the other methods of raising capital are working, but too slowly to make much difference.
But one simple fact is obvious: If we are to be a group that spends money to reach others who think as do we, we need to grow beyond the small group of III Patriots who have thus far filled the coffers. There are only so many times they can swipe the debit card, folks. There are thousands of people who come to our blogs who have never even dropped $10 for a patch.
We simply can not expect to grow based on the cash offered by a small group of Patriots. It is not feasible and it is not fair.
For you folks who are feeling the economic pinch, this has nothing to do with you. Many people carry their weight in many ways, and your patriotism is NOT measured by how many dollars you drop in a bucket. Please don't think I am giving anyone a hard time, I am merely stating reality.
If we want to grow, we need a revenue stream that is broader and deeper than what we have now. We need to reach new Patriots and get them to help carry their fair share of the weight.
I have lived in the DC area my entire life, essentially. I have been involved in DC politics my entire adult life, in one way or another. There is a single common factor to every single successful political organization, regardless of their political goals: They have money, usually generated by donations, promotional sales, and annual memberships. Some even have "Angel" donors - so if anyone in the III wants to cut a check for $100K just let me know and I'll give you the address. ;)
Some of you may find it hard to follow my blog. I tend to keep many plates in the air at once in all aspects of my life. I can multi-task. I am moving forward with SHTF Project, III Pioneer, Radio ads, Magazine ads, PatCom (Birmingham in October), our III Poster guaranteed to offend the Enemies of Liberty, and several other aspects of this online III part of my life.
Now I am going to throw another one in the air, because as a Movement we need a steady stream of revenue and I am sick of asking for money, and feeling guilty when the same people show up every time. You know who you are, and if I can ever do anything for you, let me know. Bad boy dating one of your daughters? I'll bring the shovel. ;)
III Gun Shows.
Even the smaller gun shows in the outskirts of the DC region (like Frederick, Howard County, Calvert County) will draw 4,000+ people over a weekend, even in the summer.
They are not all III. Some would be downright butthurt over our general disposition regarding LEO, for instance. The vast majority are NRA types. But in every crowd there are III folks who do not know we exist.
If we can hit shows routinely, we can reach those people. We can hand them a slick postcard, perhaps with a selection of Zoomie's out-freakin-standing art on one side and a list of our blogs on the other. We can get them to donate $20 and in return they get a copy of III to Liberty and a III Patch, or some other III trinket for supporting us.
I know for a FACT that I can find a professional promotional model in any city with a gun show and she WILL convince throngs of people to linger long enough at our booth to listen to a few local III Patriots. And if she has a clipboard, credit card swiper and the smile of a lovely 20-something, she'll move patches and introduce our Natural Allies to our existing community.
Then they'll go home, drop by our blogs, and our Community has new blood.
Nothing changes about our present "Leaderless" paradigm. We simply make it an expectation to new blood that spreading our message requires a bit of their skin in the game. Printing Zoomie's art on a card with a list of our blogs is not free. Getting a table at a gun show is not free. The model is not free. Nothing is free.
I've already had several great folks volunteer to handle things in their part of the world so I would not have to travel to every show. I know we can work out the logistics. If we use the summer as a test period, we could be in a strong position for the fall, when NRA types realize that the hope they've put in Mitt (or whoever) has changed nothing.
When SHTF, does it not benefit you and me to have as many people as possible across this land sporting III Patches on their hats or shoulders or packs?
None of this changes the current cash-flow paradigm, either. All proceeds go into the 527. I do not take a salary, nor does Mrs. Kerodin. (We've put more money into this than I dare count!)
But folks, if we do not commit and find a fresh, strong and growing revenue stream, we'll continue to be stagnant.
If you think this is a good idea, I will make one final plea to our existing audience to raise some seed money so we can do this properly. Then I'll pick a gun show in Virginia, PA or North Carolina for a test run.
What are your thoughts?
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What about a membership fee of $25 a year?ReplyDelete
Brock: What do you think about that idea? I'd never ask people who are already part of our blogs for a formal "Membership", but I think it would be in-bounds to ask new folks to "join" as they do NRA/GOA/JPFO, et cetera.ReplyDelete
I think it only proper that we ("We" is all of us who care to weigh-in over the next few weeks) narrow down our political goal to 1-3 sound-bites so new "Members" know what we are doing to earn their support.
Does that sound fair?
Sounds good to me.ReplyDelete
You mention the NRA. I am a life member. Biggest waste of money ever. I'm disgusted over their constant effort to emphasize the selling of goods with the NRA "endorsement". Their new sales pitch is trying to get members to buy NRA wine. Of course they push NRA endorsed insurance big time. They push members with rewards for membership extensions. Rewards like pocket knives with NRA logos and 2d Amendment wording emblazoned on them, made in Communist China by slave laborers. NRA pays Wayne LaPierre six figures +. NRA provides scumbag Harry Reid NRA political money. But NRA does little to push 2d Amendment and constitutional abise information to it's members. NRA has become nothing but a money-makimg machine using it's facade of protecting the 2A as a vehicle for separating more money from it's well intentioned members.
Please keep your III efforts focused on the mission. I hope you don't start pushing wine with a "III RESIST" logo on it.
Why don't you consider a "Donate" button on the blog site rather than a membership ? Membership, ro me, implies mandatory.
Anyway....just a suggestion.
Dan - There has been a "Donate" button on the right hand side of this blog for months.Delete
That's the problem. Such a very small number of people (by percentage) donate that buying radio ads or any other real efforts to grow our audience just can't reach critical mass.
If we go the Membership route (for new folks only) the entire point will be to keep focused on the goal, rather than pay salaries and for junkets. Our goal will be to grow the III, not neglecting the mission.
Unfortunately I only have my "smartphone" to cruise the net with. It doesn't show the Donate button and othef things like poll questions. Damn alleged smartphone leaves much to be desired.
My apology to you for suggesting that which you already have.
No worries, Dan.Delete
BTW - My smartphone by default turns most websites into "mobile" format, which makes it easier to see and organize. But at the bottom of the .mobi version of IIIPercent (for instance) there is a small text link that says "Clcik for full version of website" which will load the .com version.
It's harder to navigate, but it is an option.
I'll have to try the mobile option if available.
Has T.L. Davis confirmed a Mercer location for his PATCOM ? As an aside, what size boot do you wear ? If you're going to be at Mercer I hope to meet you and present you a gift.
I'll be there one day or the other. No need for any gifts, my friend. I'm a little guy - 7.5 boot.
7.5 boot. Gotcha.Delete
I like the Gun Show idea and would also gladly pay a membership dues. Don't know how I could help... I live farther out then no-where...but will support as much as I can.ReplyDelete
K I think you have raised some very good points.ReplyDelete
We will have the hurdle of convincing people we are not whacko nut jobs. Also we will be walking a very tight line with the NRA people, simply because while they think they're being all bad ass by belonging to the NRA, they haven't really, really crossed the Rubicon. That, coupled with the fact that as soon as the NRA establishment realizes we're in it for long run they will start bad mouthing us to be sure. They are not going to want to lose any money to us. We are going to have to go in hard and fast, with a take no prisoners mentality. We have to give them our take on what it means to be III, but we also have to show them that we are everyday Americans. From all walks of life, we are,( Now at this point I don't want to scare any of you), going to have to give a damn what others think of us and our message. I know, I'd predict given what we are interested in and how we express it, we, as individuals really don't give a rat's behind what others think of us. But the III movement is our baby and if we want baby to be invited to the cotillion when she grows up we have to make nice to the keepers of polite society. With that being said, I will state that if our movement ever becomes what we are against, I will drop it like a hot potato. Just my 2 cents.
This is from Ursus Minor, submitted by email:ReplyDelete
"Membership implies a list of names in a centralized database ... bad idea.
Gun shows: You should franchise it. Figure out about how much stuff is given out or bought at a few gun shows and then develop a gun show kit that can be purchased by people across the country to set up in their own local gun shows (each person can be responsible for how they get people to stop and they have personally invested money into the cause)."
Thanks to all for your thoughts.ReplyDelete
Miss Violet & Dan: You both hit on my biggest concern. There is a fine line to walk between legitimate political organization (my goal) and what too many organizations become, which is a trough at which hogs feed (NRA).
And Miss V. you are also dead-on about NRA trying to crush us the moment they perceive us to be any sort of threat to their membership dollars. I already suspect their attack against us would be: Those guys are radicals, extremists and dangerous.
My personal experiences with facing big, powerful, ruthless organizations informs me that they would not hesitate to point LEO at us to get us off the field.
Here's another issue with the gun show concept: It is very difficult to get into a gun show as a vendor as a political organization. In some cases the promoters are rightly concerned about groups that advocate bad things. In other cases NRA has closed the doors to competition.
But, I already have a work-around in place for that problem. I'll explain it in a post.
Next concern: Ursus Minor suggests franchising it out. Build a kit of basics needed for a gun show and sell it to local Patriots who will book their own space and handle the details on-site.
This is a proven business model - think Mary Kay, Amway, et cetera.
The problem: First, we need a template/formula that we know works. That means I need to do a few, tweak the process, develop a "Gun Show Kit" that covers the basics, and a profile that we can give to local Patriots that says Here is the formula, implement it and adapt as proper for your circumstances.
This brings us up to another hurdle: While many Patriots would love to do it, a "Basic Kit" would probably cost $1k minimum. Then they'd use the revenue to re-supply. I'm not sure how many Patriots are able and/or willing to drop a thousand bucks for a gun show franchise.
Benefit: Such a business model does allow for Patriots to earn an income. Example: If the Basic Kit comes with patches that cost $5 each (wholesale) and they sell at $10 each, the difference is used to re-supply, cover expenses, and if done properly, at the end of a show the Patriot has more in his pocket than he needs to re-supply and book another show.
If the 527 is making its profit in wholesale sales, everyone walks away with a few bucks at the end of the day, and the III Brand grows.
But this business model only works for Patriots who want to build a "side-business" (or make a serious run as a gun show vendor full-time. Many families feed themselves doing nothing but gun shows. But it is a constant go-go-go lifestyle).
An alternative is to build a Basic Kit here at the 527 (in a foot locker/steamer trunk setup) and ship it UPS Ground to a Patriot who can commit to run a local show in his hometown.
After the show he puts the remaining merchandise & cash/checks/CC receipts into the foot locker/trunk and ships it back to the 527.
Both models can work. Indeed, we could offer both.
But the start-up costs are not insignificant.
The 527 (and I could pick up some of the slack to get started, and I'd ask for help from our community) could put a "Basic Show Kit" together and test the concept at a few summer shows to refine the process. We could use the shows, also, as informal gathering points for local Patriots to meet for mini PatComs.
But doing this properly is more than throwing an old bed sheet on the table at the gun show and throwing a few stacks of patches/books/t-shirts out, then raking in a mountain of money. It simply doesn't work that way. Most people at gun shows know what they want and impulse purchase are not the norm.
First, you need to give the river of people walking the aisle a reason to pause. Then you've got to explain what you are about in 3 seconds or fewer (by a poster, or video running on a screen, or some other means) and then you've got their attention and can, perhaps keep their interest long enough to get them to accept a free piece of Zoomie's art with a list of blogs on the reverse side.
Many of you probably recognize this behavior in yourself: A person standing outside the grocery store or Wal-Mart offers you a free brochure. How many people politely wave and shake their head "no". How many just walk by? How many walk by, pretending they don't even see the person trying to give them a FREE brochure?!
That's human nature, and it is a series of innate defenses that need to be overcome just to get the guy at the gun show to slow down long enough to look at your table.
So, doing it right is different, very different, from just "doing it".
We have books, radio, blogs, and many other means of outreach. Do you think this method (which I would classify as "Grass-Roots and personal) is worth investing our limited resources?
If I, not being already familiar with these places, was presented withReplyDelete
"one saucy lass with a clip board ... if they give up $20 they'll be helping the fight for Liberty and they'd get a patch and an "Official" III membership for a year, along with a list of III sites to visit when they get home."
my reaction would be, who the hell are these people - multiple random-dudes-with-a-website? Why should I give them money? What am I buying? What's the product? Why not just give her money for having a pretty face and be honest about it? SCAM! and walk away.
As it happens, I-in-reality, being fully familiar with these sites, do not see what I would be purchasing, or why, or what would be accomplished, or what results could be pointed to in a few months' time to say to the members "Your money's being spent wisely, please renew".
I know what you've been talking about spending money on - the radio ads, the book, and so on. What I don't get is what specific, constructive, investment-grade opportunity can be created in this manner, to actually put the money to use and be able to point to it and say "see? impressive, yes?" and thereby encourage further money to come in.
But I'm a pessimist. I may be entirely wrong.
Rollory: Your point is on-target. I discussed recently that to justify ourselves as an organization, we'd need to laser-focus on 1-3 issues in sound-bite sized portions and then hit those issues relentlessly.ReplyDelete
I think Restore the Constitution, 2A (repeal of NFA and GCA '68) and...
I think a 2A angle that focuses on repealing NFA and GCA is an angle that will peel away many NRA folks who are tired of paying their dues for no results. GOA and JPFO are not as hardcore as they'd like to advertise.
I think "Restoration as Ratified" has a resonance that no one else is chasing. 3rd item?
Our marketing will be in good ol' III style: In-your-face, as un-PC as we can be, and unapologetic. See Zoomie & Kenny for examples.
Does that sort of organization earn a renewal?
Please weigh-in with suggestions.
Having reread the preceding post and thinking about this more, setting up a table with (for example) posters and/or signs that can be pinned to telephone poles or walls or such things, with things like Zoomie's images for content - that would work. People look at them and chuckle and impulse buy. It's the membership / donation thing that seems off-key - better to mention it after a sale, as an entirely optional donation that would help the business to expand, same way grocery stores ask if you want to donate a dollar to a local charity. But even better if you can specify a particular project that the money is going towards (and can prove that the money actually does go there, if required). The less vagueness, the better.ReplyDelete
Well, I didn't do the $10, but I did $15 (don't think that I go the patch), $30 for a shirt, and $56 for the flag (flag not here yet either ), but I understand you had some shipping issues.ReplyDelete
RGranger: You should have all of the above in your package, including at least one patch. If not, let me know and I'll ship you one. But because shipping costs turnd out to be less than I expected, I told my staff to add patches to all orders to compensate. Let me know if you don't get one.ReplyDelete
I mentioned in a spcial post for everyone to give USPS until Saturday for deliveries - they should all be in your hands by then.
A buxom blond in a nice snug III T-shirt would certainly draw folks over for a look-see. I haven't been to a gun show in years, but I've watched those type folks at local conservation association banquets buy plenty of raffle tickets from sweet young things in tight dresses and high heels. It's worth a shot.ReplyDelete
Someone said something bout action speaking.ReplyDelete