We started the year with just over 500 members. Our goal for the year is to double that. And double again next year. And the next. And the next.
You see, our members have shown us that Strong Towns is a broad social movement, one where change is going to happen through a national consensus of Americans speaking differently about growth, development and what it means to experience prosperity. If we want the change we seek, we need to think big.
Our goal is to find a million people who care. When a million people care enough to share our message with others, we’ll experience the change we seek in the world around us.
That’s a big goal, but we see it happening. We feel the momentum. Our readership on the blog has doubled in just the past few months. And that is after doubling already in the first half of the year. Our stuff is being talked about in city halls and coffee shops all across this country. My inbox is flooded and our audiences are huge. We’re making progress.
This week we turn our hard work from sharing our message to growing our base of support. We are making the push for 1,000 members. We need your support.
You read our content, listen to our podcast and want us to succeed. We can’t do it without you. Please take a moment to become a member today.
It was seven years ago this month that I started writing what has become the Strong Towns blog. For me it was a form a therapy, a way to think through the many conflicting thoughts and understandings I had about America, the places we were building and what it meant to our collective future. I felt like a tiny voice in the wilderness and wondered if I was, as so many in my hometown contended, just plain crazy. As one of my local tormentors was fond of saying, "What makes you think you're right, Chuck, and everyone else is wrong?" I was hoping it really wasn't "everyone else" that I was questioning.
Thankfully, it wasn't, a fact that I was soon to discover as more and more people started reading and sharing my stuff. I have so many people thank me for what I'm doing, the sacrifices I've made of my time and earnings and just the fact that I've stood up and made myself a target delivering an uncomfortable message. It embarrasses me because, if I'm frank with all of you, I can't imagine not doing this. It is me who needs to thank you because, by reading and listening to our stuff and then passing it on to others, you have made these ideas into a movement. A movement that has real meaning, that is growing stronger by the day.
It was a couple of years ago that Andrew Burleson -- our current board chair as well as a good friend, collaborator and intellectual partner -- said we needed a million people who care. It seemed crazy. I don't think it is anymore.
The current system of growth and development is not working. In fact, the system is failing and people intuitively get that. They know something is really wrong, that big changes are needed. Our message -- the core of which is the Curbside Chat -- explains what is going on in a way that is refreshingly divorced from our stale political paradigms. And we don't give easy answers to these complex problems -- that's what a cheap, petty exploiter of others would do. We do something much more empowering: we prompt people to think for themselves. We give them a new way to think about things and then let them know that they have the power, but also the obligation, to take this knowledge and do what they can to build a strong town.
America, and the places around the world that have followed our lead, face huge problems. We need a huge movement of people if we're going to change. We need a million people who care. When we have a million people who care enough about our message to share it with someone else, we're going to see a shift in our national dialog -- our cultural understanding -- that will be impossible for the forces resisting change to withstand.
And we'll get there, I'm confident. Years ago I would drive hours to give a Curbside Chat and two people would show up. Now my schedule is booked well into 2016 and everywhere I go the audiences are large and enthusiastic. Our readership is growing at a rate that is astounding. The number of listeners on our podcast is growing as well. It's all because of you, because you are taking our message and sharing it with others. You are working to make your place stronger.
People often ask me what they can do to help us. There are so many things we need to do and could use help on, but I'll simplify it down to the three most critical.
- Read, listen and watch our stuff.
- Pass it on to others with your passion attached.
- If you have the means, support us in reaching more people.
This week is our membership drive. It's really important for us that we reach our goal of 1,000 members by the end of the week, that we demonstrate that we are able to take our momentum and turn it into the support we need to get us to the next level. Each morning this week I'm going to write about our new strategic plan and how we're positioning this organization to serve a movement that is changing America's dialog on growth, development and what it means to experience prosperity.
Thanks for all you do. Let's make the core of the Strong Towns movement #1000Strong.