This is a really important week for Strong Towns and the Strong Towns movement. Today begins our summer member drive, a big test of the theory that we can change our national (and even international) conversation on growth, development and prosperity.
I say this is a big test because we've pinned a lot on it. I'll be frank with everyone: there are some easier, and financially safer, ways for us to run Strong Towns. We've chosen membership -- lots of people making small donations -- because it most closely aligns with our mission.
We believe that we can make the most difference in the world -- we can create the most space for change to flourish -- by creating great content, sharing that content as widely as possible and, while doing that, nudge people to take action. Our message is transformative. We see that and experience it everywhere we go.
In the last year, we've significantly expanded our content and our distribution. We've more than quadrupled our monthly readership. Our podcast audience doubled in the last four months. We're reaching thousands of people with our Curbside Chat program. Our engagement levels are off the charts.
Will it matter? We're betting that it does. We're betting on you.
Our goal is to grow a movement of a million people who care. That's a million people who care enough about the Strong Towns message to share it with others. We know not all of them will become members, but we need the most motivated among them -- those most dedicated to seeing change happen -- to support us financially. That's the only way this works.
We are inundated with consulting requests. These are lucrative opportunities, but we don't do them because they are a distraction from our core mission.
We are also really selective about the foundations we partner with. We've turned down grant opportunities because they didn't align with our mission.
We don't advertise, although we could potentially make a decent amount of revenue doing so. We strongly believe that our message needs to be accessible and uncompromised.
That brings us to you. Our theory -- what we've bet our future on -- is that, if we continue to reach more people, two important things will happen. First, in cities around the country there will be more room in the conversation for Strong Towns thinking and those that want to put a Strong Towns approach into action. Second, there will be more and more people who want to accelerate that change and they will support us financially.
This is how we've aligned the future of the organization with the future of the movement. If we're not compelling, if we don't really matter, we're going to fade away. And we should.
If, on the other hand, we have a powerful message, one that splits through the craziness of our politics and really touches people where they live, a message that aligns our financial strength with our prosperity and happiness, a vision for how we can do so much more, build a strong America full of strong cities, towns and neighborhoods, all with the resources we have on hand, well then....Strong Towns should continue to reach people. And add members.
To quote the immortal Kermit the Frog, Look what it's done so far. I'm absolutely amazed, but we still have a long way to go.
This week we're going to share our successes as well as, in true Strong Towns fashion, our struggles. You're going to hear from some of our members, as well as our team, on what Strong Towns means to them. We're going to share with you our aspirations for the future and our plans to see those dreams come true. This is going to be fun.
Thank you to all of our members and those who have made generous donations to help us grow the Strong Towns movement. If you're not yet among them, please take a moment and start this week off right by becoming a member of Strong Towns or by making a donation of support.