Last night we hit and exceeded a pretty big milestone: 5 million absolute unique visitors to our site for the year. We still have about a week to go in 2011, so the final number should be more than a hundred thousand higher — and we'll humblebrag like nobody's business when it's time to record that and other stats officially.
Our success so far — not just in the last 12 months, but in the nearly 26 since we launched — is the result of many things: luck, timing, talent, hard work and any number of forces beyond our control. But at the top of the list is every single one of you out there who has supported us with a few bucks, a few minutes of your time and word of mouth born of your belief in our mission and how we're living up to it.
We are honored by your faith, trust and enthusiasm for everything we do — for our journalism and our data presentations and visualizations and our steady stream of events. We're psyched to hear from you when you're happy and (even) when you're not. We're excited to see a real community coming together around our Facebook and Twitter pages. We love that our expanding band of Trib fans and friends results in sightings of ball caps and bumper magnets in the least likely places. And we're genuinely proud of what we've accomplished thus far. The public conversation we're convening, across platforms and venues, will make Texas a better, smarter, more thoughtful, more productive, more engaged state.
There are many great nonprofit causes out there, and they all want to get your attention right about now. We encourage you to give to them generously. Thanks to budgets cuts here and elsewhere, they and the people they serve need you more than ever.
Of course, we also hope you'll give to the Trib — even if you've donated before or, especially, if you haven't. The cost of serving the public interest with such a high level of ambition is considerable. We'll have spent $4 million on the Trib's operations this year when all is said and done. The good news is that we're on the verge of being break-even, and that we've raised, in total payments and pledges, nearly $10.8 million in a little more than two years' time. The reality, however, is we're not there yet, and even when we get there, the fundraising can't stop. That's how we pay the bills.
A tax-deductible gift of any size will go a long way to ensuring that we can survive and thrive. If you appreciate and respect what we do, and why we do it, please consider supporting us before Dec. 31.
From all of us at the Trib, peace and happiness to you and yours during the holiday season.