Affording Communities

Posted on March 7, 2013 by

Author: Chris Roth
Published in Communities Magazine Issue #158

It seems appropriate that this issue of Communities is focused on “Affordability and Self-Reliance.” We at the Foundation for Intentional Community have been grappling in recent months with the question of how to “afford” publishing the magazine itself. We believe strongly that keeping the magazine in print is important, but how we go about doing that is still a conundrum. In flush years, the FIC can afford to lose some money with the magazine, as other sources of income compensate. But in years like 2012, when other areas don’t produce surplus, the magazine can present a dangerous drain on meager funds.

We contemplated the option of cutting this issue to 64 pages instead of 80. This would have saved us about $600 to $700. It also would have meant that some of the stories that comprise the “heart” of this new issue, but that are just a little less directly related to the main theme, would not have been able to appear. As you read Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig’s account of grappling with Lyme disease in community, or Diana Leafe Christian’s new installment in the “Busting the Myth” consensus series, or the interview with veteran community activist Ira Wallace, think of how much would have been missing from a shortened issue.

Fortunately, we decided to visualize abundance rather than dwelling on scarcity. We chose to print the full 80-page issue, trusting that readers and potential readers, existing and future advertisers, would continue to see this journal’s value and would provide the financial resources that we need to keep going. We know that Communities is a unique resource internationally as well as nationally, a one-of-a-kind publishing effort ever since its inception in 1972, a “niche” periodical with an increasingly broad appeal, a magazine that certainly deserves to exist.

This means that we really do need your subscriptions, and your gifts of subscriptions to new readers. We need your advertising support, if you’d like to reach the Communities audience. We need your word-of-mouth recommendations to others, your Facebook “likes,” your participation as writers and photographers. We need sponsorships for individual issues—such as that from Paul Born and the Tamarack Institute, who will be providing financial support for our Summer 2013 “Community Wisdom for Everyday Life” issue.

And we also need you to support the FIC’s broader efforts, if you appreciate them and benefit from them. Communities cannot thrive apart from its publisher (the FIC), nor can the FIC thrive unless its flagship publication does. The FIC offers abundant resources, from its online directory to its Community Bookshelf offerings to educational events, gatherings, and other public services. Please consider supporting and participating in its activities (see

This year will see a number of innovations for the magazine, including the availability of digital subscriptions (in addition to the ongoing print edition), and digital back article packets on various themes. We hope these will help improve our bottom line. Whatever our offerings, however, we are depending on you to keep us going. If every Communities reader and Facebook fan diverted the cost of a single tank of gasoline to us rather than to the gas station, our financial worries would be over, at least for now. Please consider doing it!

Our new Advertising Manager, Christopher Kindig, is helping with our movement into the digital age, and bringing new enthusiasm into helping advertisers place ads in print and online. Christopher found us at the 2012 Twin Oaks Communities Conference, where he held a workshop on ways the communities movement can thrive using the power of the internet. He has already been helping turn us toward greater abundance financially. If you’re a potential advertiser with something to share with Communities readers or with FIC website visitors, you will not regret contacting him.

Together (but only together), we can afford Communities. Thanks again for joining us!

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