A Light Shining in the Darkness

January-February 2011

It is with great pleasure, and no small amount of relief, that we announce that we have reached — and slightly exceeded — our fundraising goal of $165,000, which we have been trying to raise since November 2009. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who contributed to our cause with donations, prayers, gift subscriptions, and renewals (yes, those count too!). Your outpouring of generosity has been a beacon of light for us in these dark days that have befallen the Catholic publishing industry. (See our Nov. 2009 editorial “How Many Victims Will the Revolution Claim?” for an overview of the problems we and our colleagues are facing.)

As we explained in that editorial, we needed to raise these funds to make up for the budget shortfall we suffered in 2009 and in anticipation of the deficit we would incur in 2010. These funds would also allow us to resume advertising in print and via direct mail. As we noted in our most recent editorial (Oct. 2010), we embarked upon several new advertising campaigns once we started closing in on our goal.

Of course, that leaves us to deal with the annual budget shortfall this year, 2011. You see, independent Catholic magazines — especially those like the NOR that do not receive diocesan, foundational, or other institutional support — will always incur a deficit. That’s simply the name of the game. Several of our colleagues have responded to this reality by cutting back the number of issues they publish; some have ceased publication altogether. Last year we undertook a small cutback ourselves, going from eleven issues per year to ten with a combined Jan­uary-February issue (such as the one you hold in your hands right now) to go with our customary July-August issue.

We don’t want to cut back any further. And we don’t want to have to beg for money year-round, every year. What options, then, are left to us, given the inevitable — and increasing — deficits we face? Compounding our problems is that the United States Postal Service, in what seems like a biennial ritual, is planning yet another rate hike this year (not for first-class mail but for virtually all other classes, including periodical postage).

The only reasonable alternative at this point is to raise our subscription rates. This is something we have not wanted to do — we don’t want to shut out any portion of our readership. On the other hand, we haven’t raised our rates since the 1980s, though when we did we lost over thirty percent of our subscribers. That would be a fatal blow at this point in time, as it nearly was then.

For now, the decision is not urgent — at least not yet. We have been heartened to have heard from a great many of you that we indeed should raise our rates. This has gone a way toward reassuring us that we won’t lose as many subscribers as we did the last time around, should we be forced to raise our rates.

But for the time being, we can focus on the tasks at hand — building up the Body of Christ, promoting the spread of orthodox Catholicism, fighting for the faith — while knowing full well that the darkness that shrouds our future persists. Yet we work by the beacon of light that you, our gracious readers, have cast before us, trusting in the Lord and confident that we are under His watch and care, each and every one of us who believes.

We thank you again for your continued support of the NOR. We would not be here without it.

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