[bksvol-discuss] Benetech update

  • From: <Jim@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 08:11:31 -0700

I know that there has been a fair amount of angst because we are pretty
transparent on where Benetech is financially: for example, why we didn't
replace Marissa when she left.  We're simply pretty cautious and
responsible when it comes to spending money we don't have.  We also
would rather shrink through attrition when things are tight, than have
less friendly ways of saving money.  

The good news is that our organization's fund raising is going well and
we see Benetech growing in the coming six months.  Our expectation is
that we will reinstitute another Bookshare.org position, and that we
will be able to invest in a significant amount of engineering to enhance
the site next year.  I'm also seeking money or donations for brand new
Bookshare.org server hardware from socially responsible companies like
IBM or HP (hope Guido is listening: grin).  But, I will be honest that
this funding is mainly Benetech general funding rather than
Bookshare.org funding, and so Bookshare.org will only get a piece of
it(probably the biggest piece, but still).  We really need to get donors
and foundations excited about NIMAS and textbooks, collection
development grants, quality improvements and engineering.  And, we
simply need to keep growing our core subscriber base.  I can't believe
we've begun to reach the visually impaired audience that should love
what we do.  And, through our school focus, we'll begin to tap more
students with learning disabilities who also need what we do (and should
have funding to access it).

Our users have already gotten into helping us with case studies and
testimonials, and our new VP of Business Development, Peggy Gibbs, is
working to make these compelling stories that lead to the funding that
bridges the gap until Bookshare.org, like Arkenstone before it, is
completely self-supporting based on our customer revenues.  

So, don't worry, but please continue to help make Bookshare.org better!

Jim Fruchterman

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