The Road Ahead

by | December 9, 2014, 12:09pm 0

If we’ve been silent the past few days, it’s because we’ve been stunned by your generosity.

With 10 days left to go in our fundraiser, we were only 50% of the way to our goal. We did everything we felt we could to get the word out, pushing the fundraiser constantly on social media and emailing our supporters. Then, something really special happened: a sudden, incredible outpouring of support. Many of our readers and friends that we’ve connected with over the years were faced with the reality that Skyd would go away. You decided that wasn’t what you wanted to happen. You rallied for something you believed in. Skyd will push on into 2015 and will provide the best columns, articles and videos we can produce. I want to thank everyone who lent their voice or their wallets to this project. I’m very honored that you felt Skyd was valuable enough to support, and it is our mission to continue to prove that value to the ultimate community as an entity made by and for the ultimate community.

Skyd’s Future

This year we raised $37,577. After Indiegogo & Paypal fees, shipments and perk fulfillment, we’ll probably end up with our original goal of about $32k. Where does that go to this year? It goes to a number of brand new columns (many which are written by some talented women), the production of new Skyd films, moving our website to a faster server and paying our staff (here’s a full budgetary breakdown for 2015). Skyd 2015 will greatly improve on everything we accomplished in 2014. The Skyd team is taking December to plan and develop, so you’ll begin to see a lot of our new content in January.

We also have a couple new initiatives that we hope to develop in 2015. One of those initiatives is a membership system that will provide more direct benefits to Skyd supporters on a regular basis.

We will continue to drive the structure of our organization to be more process-driven rather than personality-driven to ensure the longevity of this magazine.

Further, we plan to provide increased transparency. This means providing more regular reports on the state of the publication and the business decisions we make.

The mission of Skyd is much clearer to us now. We intend to be an organization that’s focused on quality and not sensationalized minutie. We mean to act as an outlet for the voices of the ultimate community and promote what we perceive as good for ultimate and its growth. Our mission statement remains the same:

Skyd Magazine is dedicated to celebrating the sport of ultimate with honest, original content.

A Long Way To Go

What we saw happen during this year’s fundraiser was a wonderful thing. We’re so honored that our community chose to continue to support continued content production from Skyd. Even so, we’re still a long way from sustainability. I outlined a lot of Skyd’s realities in my article A World Without Skyd, but to reiterate, $32,000 is not enough to run a business like Skyd. In fact, our budget for 2015 is over $52,000. We will work very hard to seek partnerships to fill that gap, but even so, that’s not enough to pay any full time salaries just yet, which means many of us are working overtime and other jobs just to make ends meet. As ultimate grows, so will more lucrative partnerships, but our sport still has a long way to go. Each year, we intend to prove Skyd’s value, but there may come a time again that Skyd will need your help to continue on. We’ll present our reality with openness and honesty. When the time comes to protect a resource that puts our community first, we hope you’ll answer the call.

You Are Powerful

I do believe there is a very important takeaway from this campaign: that this community has power. Many great organizations, teams and individuals became champions of our fundraiser. Frankly, if it were just up to Skyd to raise funds, it would not have been enough. We needed the help of these champions to get the word out and to tell those personal stories of value or we would not have reached our goal. Seeing the community assemble for a cause they believed in was truly tremendous to witness. It goes to show that this community has power to make change. Even if contributing to this campaign wasn’t something you could afford, with your tweets and Facebook posts and personal emails, you were able to create a movement.

We live at an interesting time for ultimate. Rapidly our sport seems to be seeking some sort of mainstream legitimacy through pro leagues, ESPN deals and other forces. None of this is inherently a bad thing — after all, this mainstream legitimacy infuses more funding into things like youth programs and publications like Skyd. But at the same time, our community and its values (which certainly aren’t shared universally) can easily be sacrificed or devalued to allow for something bigger and better. Campaigns like this fundraiser show that this community still has influence. Skyd certainly has a set of values that are instilled by its staff and community-based writers, but in this campaign you chose to support and perpetuate those values. Ultimate is still a small but rapidly growing community. Despite that growth, we have shown here that we can make a change. We can guide ultimate in a direction that we value, so that no matter how large or mainstream or rich it gets, it still reflects many of the values its current participants believe in. Don’t take your power for granted and don’t expect that just because things are how they are that you can’t change them for the better.

Granted, not all of us have the reach of an organization like Skyd, but all movement starts just with an idea. Ultimate is in a renaissance and if you believe enough in your cause or your art, you can rally enough support to make a major change. As long as Skyd is around, we will always be an outlet for your voice (if you’re ever involved in writing or otherwise contributing to Skyd, get in touch).

Again, I sincerely thank you for your support. I believe 2015 will be a landmark year for Skyd, and I invite you along on that journey with us.


Elliot Trotter

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