Drip, drip, drip

Who do you subscribe to?

And who subscribes to you?

Those simple questions determine what you know and what you learn. And they influence whether a business or a charity will succeed, and whether or not lives will be changed.

Newspapers are discovering that without subscribers, they can’t do their work. Online voices that were seduced by the promise of a mass audience are coming back to the realization that the ability to deliver their message to people who want to get it is actually the core of their model.

Big hits are thrilling. Launch days, deadlines, the big win… That’s easy to sign up for as a creator or marketer. But subscriptions are what work.

Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime… subscriptions. This blog wouldn’t exist without the people who trust me enough to read it every day.

Consider the case of charities. If they raise money from consumers, they get almost their entire budget in the last month of the year, or related to some sort of external event. And most people who donate never do so again. Out of sight, out of mind.

Who do you subscribe to?

Who subscribes to you?

Seven years ago, I dedicated my annual birthday post to raising money for charity:water. 665 generous readers like you ended up contributing more than $39,000. Enough water to impact the lives of 3,000 people. On their behalf, thank you.

Five years after that, we did it again, but this time I encouraged my readers (people like you) to donate their birthdays to charity:water. 204 of you raised more than $50,000 and saved even more lives. And again, thank you.

This year, I’m hoping 1,000 people will subscribe to charity:water today. A monthly drip, the best possible pun, drip, drip, drip in a way that not only becomes a habit but gives the organization a chance to plan, because thirst doesn’t have a season. Every month becomes your birthday, because you’re giving a magical present, paying it forward. I just subscribed for $4,000 a month. If more than 500 of you subscribe at any amount (even $6), I’ll double my monthly commitment.

Scott and his team made a film and built a site. You can skip the film if you’re busy, but don’t skip the box at the bottom of the page.

This is how we change the world.

Literally with a drip, drip, drip.