Click here to go straight to the fundraising page.
There are times in life when you realise you're in the middle of making an incredibly stupid mistake, and you have to decide whether to see it through or to try to reverse what you've done, no matter how awkward and embarrassing that might be. As regular readers will be aware, I've been trying to fundraise over the last few weeks to help keep this blog going for another year, but I've been doing it in a fairly low-key way as a sort of bolt-on to last year's fundraising page. That was a really daft idea, because the £7000 target on that page was met twelve months ago and the money has since been completely used up, so there was no proper indication of how much I was trying to raise this year or how far away the new target was from being met. A significant amount was raised during July and the first couple of days of August - more than £3000, in fact, and a million thanks to everyone who has contributed. That's not quite halfway towards the rough target, though, and I began to realise that I was potentially going to have to bore people to tears with reminders about the fundraiser for months to come if I didn't bite the bullet and set up a new page with a more meaningful target figure. I was just in the middle of doing that when I suddenly noticed that it was perfectly possible to edit an existing fundraiser and adjust the target! Remind me to actually check these things in future. So I've now adjusted the target to £15,500. For the avoidance of doubt, that does not mean I'm seeking to raise anything like that amount during the current fundraising period - the running total stood at £7,800 after last year, so if/when the £15,500 target is met, that will mean that just over £7,500 has actually been raised this year.
Here are a few questions and answers about the fundraiser...
What's the plan for Scot Goes Pop over the next twelve months?
The mind boggles as to what might happen over that period. A Tory leadership contest? A snap general election? A referendum on the terms of Brexit? The calling of a second independence referendum? Any or all of the above could happen at any time and at very short notice. The beauty of these fundraisers is that it gives me the flexibility to drop everything and provide extensive polling analysis when called for, even if that temporarily becomes a task almost on a par with a full-time job. That was very much the case during the 2014 independence referendum, the 2015 and 2017 general elections, and the 2016 EU referendum. (Oddly enough, there was no spike in visitor numbers during the EU referendum in the way that there was for the other three votes, but I still gave you the round-the-clock polling analysis whether you wanted it or not!)
What gap in the market does Scot Goes Pop fill?
We generally only ever see opinion polls through a unionist filter. The vast majority of Scottish polls are commissioned by anti-independence clients in the media, and even if the results are favourable for the SNP or Yes, that's rarely the story that people actually read about. Scot Goes Pop's polling coverage is a pro-independence corrective to that bias, although I would stress that it isn't about propaganda or wishful thinking - I also spend a fair bit of my time correcting misinformation about polls put about by Yes people.
How many people does Scot Goes Pop reach?
I have to sheepishly admit at this point that I'm not quite sure. I've had Google Analytics installed for years, but it suddenly dawned on me a few months ago that I've had it set up incorrectly all along, and that the figures I was seeing completely excluded visitors to the mobile version of the site. So any traffic/visitor numbers I mentioned until the end of the last year were likely to be a very significant underestimate. According to the latest figures from Traffic Estimate, the blog reached a combined total of 55,400 unique visitors across two domains over the last 30 days (48,400 for scotgoespop.blogspot.com, and 7000 in the early part of the month for the now-defunct scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk domain). I've no idea how accurate that is, but to give you a rough guide, it compares to an estimated 39,500 unique visitors for The Ferret, and 74,100 for Bella Caledonia.
Are the fundraisers your sole income?
No, of course not, and I really must stress that point for the benefit of our resident troll who likes posting comments along the lines of "get out of bed and do a proper job, you Jocknatsis scrounger". I have other writing-related income, and I'm glad to say I also do some work that has absolutely nothing to do with either writing or politics. However, I simply wouldn't be able to devote anything like as much time to the blog if it wasn't for the fundraisers.
Does the fundraiser help towards running costs?
Strictly speaking no, because the blogging platform I currently use is free. However, there are a few miscellaneous expenses that are indirectly associated with blogging - for example travel costs if I'm asked to go somewhere for a podcast or rally or whatever, so the fundraiser does help with that. In the past I've also experimented with using a portion of the funds on Facebook advertising, which is hopefully a win/win for all concerned - promoting this particular blog while also widening the reach of the wider pro-indy alternative media and its message.
Why don't you use the funds to commission an opinion poll?
In an ideal world I'd love to do that (if I can find a polling firm that is still willing to speak to me, that is!). However, polls are expensive and I'd realistically only be able to do it if the target was significantly exceeded. I've found in the past that fundraisers tend to only just about reach their target, so it's probably unlikely that I'd ever be able to take the idea forward, but I'll certainly keep an open mind about it.
What happens to the funds if you can't keep blogging?
That point always troubles me, because fundraisers are effectively there to cover a mountain of work that hasn't actually been done yet, and it's impossible to know when personal circumstances might suddenly change and get in the way. As I've said in past years, if I wasn't able to keep going for any reason I would pass any remaining funds on to other pro-independence alternative media.
If everyone who has read this blog in the last month donated just 50p, would the target be met straight away?
Click here if you'd like to donate.