Phase one: Growth

This article first appeared on jacobfortin.com and I’ve reposted it here so hard-core members who haven’t yet had their accounts activated could keep track of the progress of The 300.

After only a few days and a half-assed attempt on my part to actually sell the idea of “The 300″, I’m happy to say we’ve already reached almost 30 confirmed members in a little over a week. If we manage to keep this pace, we will be turning down members after 6 months.

Now, I realize in order to keep this momentum, we actually need to start making progress, and this is where many of you come in. We need volunteers to start reaching out to existing members and potential new ones in a personal, one to one kind of way. I don’t want this to be spam. Besides, I’m sure many people will have loads of questions, and we will need to address every one of them.

As for me, I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the DVD, fighting off a mild case of exhaustion from trying to adjust to a slightly chaotic new life of couch surfing and trying to not overstay my welcome in any one place.

Where to Start:

I think our goal in the next month is to reach 100 confirmed members. Once we reach the official 1/3 mark, we’ll be able to shift our focus to creating the organization. Keep in mind that roughly 80% of members are funders only (and have expressed a desire to continue to do so). Trust me, that’s a vital part of this plan, but that means until we get to 100, we won’t have enough of a pool of potential volunteers to get anything really rolling off the ground. Small groups can be devastated by the departure of any one member if they have failed to create adequate redundancy.

We already have these numbers in terms of hard-core subscribers, but my fear is that a few of them might not like this bold new idea. That’s OK; in fact, it’s important to encourage anyone who isn’t enthusiastic with the idea to unsubscribe, leaving room for more excited and energetic new members. As I’ve mentioned on the show many times, some listeners tend to be transitional, as they struggle with the conflict non-belief often creates in the outside world. Sometimes these factors go away (like moving to a place not filled with religious nutjobs), and their interest in TGA may wane. The entire purpose of the show is to help non-believers gain confidence, so if I do a good job, they should eventually get over their need to listen. In a way, doing my job right means steadily losing my older audience.

Of course, that’s a gloomy way to look at things. A positive way would be to keep in mind how many atheists out there desperately need a bit of a confidence boost, and a series of powerful and easy to understand arguments they can arm themselves with. The DVD will be an easy way to compensate for member attrition, and keep the flow of new blood steady. It too, will be a part of TGA’s marketing future.

Which is why I must go back and finish slaying this beast while it still breathes. In my spare time, I’ll be continuing to craft out the idea of “The 300″ and creating a FAQ that can be used to help answer member questions. If anyone else has a few ideas or criticisms, don’t feel shy!

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