The future of Life After Mormonism hangs in the balance: Feedback Needed

Up until now, my expenses for running Life After Mormonism has been about $5 per month plus domain registration once per year at about $50, totaling about $110 per year.  Starting in July, Ning (networking host) will be raising the monthly cost to $19.95 per month ($199 per year if paid in a lump sum) which will increase my costs to about $250-$290 per year.  While $19.95 isn't that much of a monthly expense for web hosting, it does squeeze this single income family of 5's budget enough to raise the questions below.  So let's get to the feedback portion.

My question to you all is, does "Life After Mormonism" provide a unique enough experience to the Ex-Mormon online world to merit its continuance?  If you answer in the affirmative, is it unique enough that you would be willing to donate $0.50 to $5.00 to help share the load?

Here's an overview of features I believe to be unique to LAM in the Ex-Mormon online world(excluding some of the facebook groups perhaps):
  • Customizable Profiles 
  • Friends list
  • Private (except for the main page)
  • User privacy settings (hide your profile from all users except friends etc)
  • User Search by location, age, name, gender, relationship status (makes finding other exmos in your area easier)
  • Post/embed videos
  • Post photo albums/make slideshows
  • Events Calendar with RSVP
  • 24/7 Live Group and Private Chat
  • Threaded Forum Discussions
  • User Blogs
  • Twitter/Facebook friendly (post to twitter/facebook from LAM)
  • User managed Groups (Exmo & Single, PNW'ers, SLC Postmos etc)
  • Birthdays in Calendar
Aside from these uniquenesses, the increased costs will be beneficial in that the google ads will no longer appear and neither will the Ning branding at the top.  Further enhancements will also likely come about due to these changes at Ning.  You can review the new Ning pricing/plans for services here: http://about.ning.com/announcement/plans.php

Again, please post whether you think LAM fills a unique niche in the Ex-Mormon online world, maybe explain that answer, and whether you think it is unique and worthy of donations (even if you're not currently in a position to donate etc).  The pricing/plan changes don't become available or enforced until July so we have some time to think this through and then raise some money depending on what feedback this discussion results in.

Regardless of where this all ends, I want to thank each of you for your participation and for being a member of this community.

Sincerely,

Micah

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And if you get a couple a Thou -- you can donate to the special fund I'm getting ready to set up for the conference, as we are paying big bucks this year for speakers and travel!! :-) Just kidding, of course, but I am going to be asking for some donations as soon as I can wordsmith my email.

This sounds like you got lots of support. That must feel warm and fuzzy. :-)
I had actually already thought of this that if donations exceeded the $250 or so that I need to run this site per year, I'd gladly send the extra to either the Exmormon Foundation or the Post Mormon advertising fund. For now though I'm hoping to just reach close to the $250 amount. We'll discuss further once/if this hurdle is passed.
You'll get it, I have no fear. We are actually paying a hefty fee to Jeff Sharlet to come (and he even discounted it by 50%!!). And then we are flying Jim Whitefield over from England (and all the regular airfare and hotel stuff we pay for all the speakers). So -- if it turned out that there was something, that would be great. I'm hoping for 3 or 4 BIG contributions -- I think we'll probably get it.
I'll be donating, I think we all appreciate this resource.
Wow. I knew ning was making some changes, but this is kind of a punch to the gut, eh?

Unfortunately, I don't have the means to donate, but I hope you are able to keep this together. I don't actively participate here but I've always appreciated the site.

I do hope this spells doom for SPAMlds.ning.
Indeed, it looks like spamlds.ning is dying with the termination of free services. Greg West is moving on to a new blog, which will make it easier to mess with him...
Keep us posted on how the donations stack up. I could chip in a bit more in a couple weeks if needs be. When do you need to pay by? Is there any kind of deadline on this?
We have until sometime in July to reach $200 and August for the remaining $50. I'll probably enhance the donation process with a dedicated page that keeps track of the total donations.
Thanks Ruthann!
I agree. Keep it up.
We did it!!!

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