LIKE YOU, I receive a copy of the Presbyterian Record each month in the mail. Among other things, it helps me assess how it stands out in the mail pile. We are a magazine-reading family, with several periodicals arriving every week.
I am often struck by how well the Record stands out against magazines with budgets and staff that far exceed ours. That pride in the magazine continues when I open it. The content and the design easily hold their own.
Of course, I'm biased. But it's not that I'm thinking highly of myself. Rather, it's the amazing team I've been blessed to work with at the Record over the years. And it's astonishing how small that team is!
When I came to the magazine in 2002, there were four full- and one part-time employees, including me. Salaries consumed just over half our revenue--and that's remained pretty much the same throughout my time.
For several years, we reduced the staff to just four full-time positions. It wasn't until 2008 that we added another full-time writer, bringing our complement to five. Five full-time people--that's completely amazing when you consider the product and what we achieved.
The two other big changes that happened during my time at the magazine were the development of technology and wholesale changes in the printing industry. Technology meant one person could manage both circulation and fundraising, and provide administrative support.
Changes in printing meant we could publish a glossy magazine on recycled paper in full colour--a luxury we couldn't dream of when I arrived in 2002. Back then, printing (on newsprint) and postage consumed more than 40 per cent of our budget. Today, it costs less than half that.
Finally, we've gone from being nearly insolvent in 2005 to having published for more than another decade and being able to meet our legal obligations while properly winding up the corporation.
How did we do it? Well, there are two groups of people I want to thank from the bottom of my heart.
First, you, dear readers. So very many of you--half of you at one time or another--supported the magazine generously with donations. Since 2005, you've given almost $1.5 million to the Record. Without that support, we would have folded years ago. So thank you, thank you, thank you!
Secondly, there's the Record team. I have worked with many wonderful and talented people in my nearly 30 years as a journalist, but I have never worked with such a remarkable group of colleagues as I have at this magazine....