This is why I took a risky leap of faith

Leap of faith

I took a risky leap of faith this week. I have no idea where I’m going to land.

It was several leaps, actually. I removed every last ad from my consumer advocacy site. I filed paperwork with the IRS for nonprofit status. And, most important of all, I put my faith in you, my readers, who have carried me this far.

OK, Søren Kierkegaard might say, intet problem — no problem! — to the first two leaps of faith. I mean, they’re hardly theological. But the Danish philosopher might nod approvingly at the third leap. This is a risk, but I feel the love and support from you, and I’m doing it.

Ads and the leap of faith

I have more details on the ad removal on my consumer advocacy site.

I took this leap of faith for three reasons. As a nonprofit organization, ads don’t belong on the site, no matter how much money they bring in. Also, some of the banners served by our ad company were not legit, and in the last few weeks, the quality of ads and the amount they paid us has dropped dramatically. As I noted in the post, you deserve better.

I know this is the right decision for you and for the site, but I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to pay for everything. It’s a little scary. Our next fundraiser starts May 21, so I guess we’re about to find out if an ad-free site is sustainable.

I believe it is.

Another leap of faith: We’re a nonprofit!

Last week was filled with another kind of excitement. We registered as a Delaware nonprofit and finished the paperwork to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The approval process will take a few months.

When the dust settles, we’ll be in a better position to become a force for good. This allows us to declare our intention to work for the public benefit through direct advocacy, journalism on an ad-free website and maintaining the largest database of executive contact information on the Internet.

I’ve always known that we were meant to be a nonprofit organization. I’ve dedicated my entire career to helping people, and this also fits my mission in life. I know that my fellow advocates feel the same way, too. We want to make a difference.

A leap of faith — in you

Most of all, I put my faith in you.

If you’re reading this, it means you’re a valued friend and supporter. Many of you have been with me for a long time. Some remember me as far back as the ’80s, when I wan intern at the Los Angeles Times or a cub reporter at Dow Jones & Co. Others started following me when I worked at Travel Weekly and ABCNews.com in the 90s. Still others joined me during my CNN or New York Times days in the ’00s or after my stints at MSNBC and Money.

Here we are. It all comes down to this. Long after my current media outlets fade away, this site and organization will still be here, and something tells me you will be here, too.

This week, I affirmed my faith in you, my readers. Not in my current media markets; not in a social medium or platform — in you.

We’ve come this far together. Let’s do what we know we have to do. Let’s create an organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t.

Here are this week’s stories

Please like and share this week’s columns if you have a moment.

Remember, these columns are here because of you. You read them and your support keeps them in your favorite publication. Without you, I would not be writing them.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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