Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

From the Editor

Once again, I come to you with greetings, good cheer, and to beg for money. This time, however, I'll show you the PLN budget in black and white. But before I do that, let me give you the bottom line and let you know what you can do to help turn things around.

PLN 's expenses currently run $1,000/month higher than our subscription income. Our full-time staff person, Fred Markham, gave up a $30,000/year job (with full benefits) to put in 60-70 hour weeks at PLN for $24,000/year (with zero benefits). But because of PLN 's budget deficit, Fred has been drawing only half his salary (and depleting his savings to live on). This can't go on.

Paul and I also work 50-70 hour weeks, and we draw NO salary. We're literally "Slaves of PLN !" Our part-time free-world staffer, Matt, draws $550/month for transforming hand-typed articles into a professionally typeset zine. Matt also puts in countless unpaid volunteer hours to update and maintain PLN 's web site.

Here's what you can do to help: Do you have any contacts with foundations or other funding sources? Think about it. Because if you do, I'd like you to "drop a dime on PLN " and let those people know that we're a struggling non-profit that performs a vital function for an increasingly incarcerated society, and we need grant money to fund outreach sample mailings in order to boost circulation.

PLN currently has 2,500 subscribers, who pay varying amounts (anywhere from $7.50 to $50/year). The average annual income per subscriber is $18.84, giving PLN an average monthly subscription income of $3,925.

Monthly expenses are: Salaries, $2,550; Payroll taxes, $400; Printing, $900; Bulk mail postage, $330; Misc. 1st Class postage, $150; Phone, office space and mailbox rent, $520; Misc. fees, office supplies, etc., $75; for a total monthly expense budget of $4,925.

So there it is. In order for the $1,000/month deficit to disappear, PLN needs 1,000 more paying subscribers. In the past we have found the most effective way to increase circulation is with targeted direct-mail sample issue outreach mailings. But those cost money. Hence the need for grants.

I have lost count of the number of query letters and grant proposals I've mailed to foundations (A LOT of 'em!). But get this: The ONLY way PLN has EVER landed a grant is by somebody "out there" in PLN Reader-Land hooking us up through connections they have with funding sources. I've concluded the obvious: writing "cold" letters to foundations is a one-way ticket to the round file. But in those rare and wondrous instances when a Friend of PLN "drops a dime" on us... Bingo. We're in business.

And what if you don't have contacts with philanthropists? You can still help. It's simple. Just hustle up one new subscriber for PLN . Inside each PLN is a subscription order card. Hang onto it. Think of one person you know who would subscribe, give 'em the card and say, "Here, I think you'd like this zine, why don't you subscribe?"

That's all for this month. Thanks again for your help. Publishing PLN is a never-ending struggle, but somehow with more of your help we'll keep this thing going.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login