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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Help Keep Seattle's Richard Hugo House Solvent

This just in from Brian McGuigan, one of my favorite supporters and promoters of cool venues for poets and writers, including the best poetry reading series in town (Cheap Wine and Poetry!). The key thing you need to know (if you don't have time to read his entire letter, posted below) is that it doesn't matter how much you give but that you give something, even if it's only $5 or $10. They need your small bills!! So think hard about what RHH has given you over the years, and donate what you can.

Dear Writer I Know and Love:

As you know, I work at Richard Hugo House, and we’re in the midst of our end-of-year fundraising campaign where we are trying to raise $92,000 by December 31, which, if you haven’t noticed the eggnog lattes at your local coffee shop and Christmas Muzak in damn near every office building, is in just a few days.

I’m writing you now because I hope you can make a donation to help us meet our goal because, well, I need to continue having a job, which, I will point out, serves YOU in some way, great or small, since I like you and your work and I’m a firm believer in coattails—at some point you’ve had a grip on my coat, and I on yours.

Our development manager Rebecca wrote up a handy-dandy set of statistics and percentages, which you can read below in the p.s. line, but I’m going to give it to you straight since you’re a writer and most likely A) you don’t have a lot of money to give and/or B) numbers make your brain hurt. For the record, I fall into both camps.

Hugo House had wealthy founders who supported us through good times (our opening in 1997, the launch of our Literary Series, the renovation of our building, the expansion of staff) and bad times (two executive director transitions, a few years of finishing in the hole, etc.), and now these founders have told us they’d like to become “normal” donors—ones whose checks don’t have multiple zeroes and commas on them. So that means we need to find new people to support us—to support YOU—and hopefully far more people with far less zeroes and commas individually that equal the same zeroes and commas collectively. Stay with me here.

Since you’re a writer, I know you probably aren’t flush with cash, but I also know you believe in what we—what I—do here. I know you’ve taken a class and written something that still impresses you—and I’m sure a bunch of stuff you hate, too. (Self-loathing is part of the writing game, after all.) Or I know you’ve attended an event here and shuddered at a juicy line of poetry or prose that made the hair on your neck perk up. Or I know you may have read here, or want to read here, or will read here, or have organized your own events here, and will write and read and organize here, if, that is, we continue receiving your support.

Don’t worry if you can’t muster up the zeroes and commas that our founding donors have—we’ll take a zero, as long as there’s a number before that zero (and it better not be another 0, buster!), or even just single digit above zero. I won’t dare ask for a single comma, but if you have some zeroes and commas to offer, we won’t say no. We’ll take the change under your couch cushions. Hell, we’ll take the couch, too, as long as it doesn’t have bed bugs.

So I hope you’ll consider making a donation to Hugo House this year. We need your support, big or small, comma or no comma, couch or no couch. A part of your gift will keep me employed, and honestly, not only is there nothing else in this world I’d rather be doing than working here, there’s nothing else I’m all that great at. So…

Thanks, in advance, for whatever you can offer. And if you’ve already replied to one of our “more official” asks this year, I’m sorry to pester you. At least, this email gave you a chuckle. I hope.

Happy holidays! I look forward to working with and/or reading each of you in the New Year.


P.S. Here are those percentages courtesy of Rebecca:

“A gift to Hugo House now will help us meet our 2010 budget and set us up for a strong start in 2011. We’re efficient with our resources—we put 72% of the money we spend directly into programming (as opposed to overhead)—but we’re a nonprofit and only 28% of our expenses are covered by earned income (like ticket sales and class tuition). Writing and reading classes for youth and adults, events like our Literary Series and resources like ZAPP (our zine archive) and our writers-in-residence make Hugo House one of the best places in the region for new literary work to be created and supported.”

P.P.S. Does your brain hurt yet? Mine does. So, yeah, just make a donation! And, again, truly, thank you for a great year. I respect each of you and your work and hope 2011 brings you many more words and ideas. :) -B

Brian McGuigan

Marketing and Events Director

Richard Hugo House

1634 11th Ave.

Seattle, WA 98122

(p): (206) 322-7030 ext. 112

(f): (206) 320-8767

(w): | |

Become a member of Richard Hugo House.

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