Two days into this blogging experience (which is semi-new to me), I already feel like a slacker. I haven't posted anything since 9/11 - mostly because I'm fighting off a terrible head cold that couldn't have come at a worse time. On top of a very busy week at Modest Needs, I'm prepping to go to LA this Saturday to shoot our upcoming Public Service Announcement- and I'm doing everything I can just to feel a little better.
Anyway, if you've discovered Modest Needs within the past year or two (and that's most of you), you don't remember that when Modest Needs first launched, we had a newsletter that was really more of a pseudo-blog than it was a proper newsletter. Needless to say, over the years, I've pared down the news mailings. I mean, can you imagine what it'd be like to get a full-text email of every blog entry that posted to every site you read?
These days, we have what we really should've had all along - a proper monthly newsletter, with 'just the facts.' Still, as much as I appreciate the need not to clog in-boxes, there was something unique about those early newsletters that I miss (they're all archived at Modest Needs, if you want to take a look at some of these.) They offered a real moment-to-moment account of the ups and downs of a start-up non-profit. They offer my take on issues I don't think I ever dreamed I'd encounter as a result of Modest Needs. And in re-reading some of the oldest news posts today, I've been reminded of something I'd nearly forgotten: How far Modest Needs really *has* come over the years.
The people who work with me at Modest Needs will tell you that my greatest strength / biggest downfall is my inability to sit still. I'm always on the lookout for ways that we can improve Modest Needs - and because this is my focus, I sometimes miss 'the forest for the trees,' as they say.
No matter how far Modest Needs comes, I am never content just to 'spike the ball' and say, "Ok, we've taken this as far as we can take it." That's the writer in the me talking. Any writer will tell you that no piece is ever actually finished - and that's how I feel about the work we're doing at Modest Needs.
Anyway, I just found the following stats about Modest Needs in a newsletter that I published in August 2002:
Since 1 June 2002, when Modest Needs v.2.0 launched, site
traffic has increased from an average of 600 people per day to an
average of 1700 per day.
Requests for help from the site now average 1800 a month, up from an average of 750 per month in April and May.
April 2002, nearly 130,000 unique visitors have come to Modest Needs; a
full half of those visitors have come to the site in the past six weeks
Sometime this week, the site will log its one MILLIONTH page view. Yes, folks, that's right. One MILLION page views.
I remember writing this article with something like ecstatic glee - just unable to fathom that, for example, Modest Needs had served up a million page views in just over six months, or that we had an average of 1700 visitors per day.
Today, if you asked me whether Modest Needs had 'a lot of traffic,' I'd probably say, 'Eh - we could do better.' But here are the very same stats for Modest Needs, as of September 2006:
We're now building version 7.0 of Modest Needs - and the site itself now has an average of 46,000 unique visitors per week.
Requests for Help average just over 2,500 per month.
Since April 2002, Modest Needs has logged over 16,900,000 unique visitors.
Since August 2005, we've consistently served up about a million page views per month.
And we're growing in other important ways as well. For example, in August 2002 (when I wrote the post above), we were able to make about $15,000 worth of grants to our qualified applicants. This represented our helping about 3% of the people who qualified to receive help from Modest Needs in that month.
Today - in our second of four rounds of funding scheduled for September 2006 - Modest Needs made $14,900 worth of grants. So far in 2006, we've been able to reach 60.1% of the people who qualified to receive help from Modest Needs - and this doesn't even count the number of referrals we've made on behalf of people who didn't qualify to receive assistance from Modest Needs, but did qualify to receive help from another, more conventional source.
I have to say, looking back, I'm pretty proud of how far we've come. And I'm excited to see where we'll be going next.
Now, if I could just shake this stupid cold. Argh.