Patriots of a Different Color
Politics, money—neither is high on the list of dinner-party conversation fodder. In fact, nothing can bring an exchange to a screeching halt faster. But, then again, not many would expect the likes of The Nation to tread lightly on subjects that leave slightly uncomfortable silences in their wake. And in its latest fundraising mailing, it’s those two mentions—the state of our government affairs and the extra funds a person might want to generously appropriate to a worthy cause—that this journal takes to task (Archive code #602-171640-0706).
No, you did not read that wrong. As an invitation for readers to become members of the publication’s donating community, The Nation Associates, the package indeed is designed to raise funds, rather than subscriptions. Because, well, the hard-hitting weekly certainly isn’t of the Republican persuasion, and despite popular belief, it doesn’t align itself with Democrats, either. So with an editorial policy that forbids its writings to be “the organ of any party, sect, or body,” it really only can amount to one thing: no advertising.
“About 20 percent of their budget comes from The Nation Associates, which is essentially their fundraising arm,” says Lea Pierce, of Wine Country Wordsmiths and the copywriter charged with refreshing a two-year control. Her challenge? Find a new way to convince an audience of readers to give above and beyond the subscription price to keep The Nation in print. Luckily, its audience’s collective political ideologies are not that far off from her own, as she’s a reader herself.
“In a sense, this was a real no-brainer for me,” Pierce says of the #10 envelope package that invites donations from $25 up, with the top three rungs delineated as Activist ($75), Mentor ($250) and Loyalist ($500). “All I had to do was reach into my gut. … In a lot of ways, I was talking to my friend,” she goes on to reveal. This “no-brainer” effort shaped up to be a revamp of its predecessor, based on instructions from The Nation’s Associate Publisher Peggy Randall, who wanted to test into the control rather than come up with entirely new creative.