Late last month, we launched our new membership program, Friends of TheBurg, and had no idea what to expect.
We had done some informal polling and even hosted a focus group. Nonetheless, around the office, I began referring to this as our big “experiment.”
A month in, I’m delighted to report that our big experiment has met with big success.
Since our formal launch on April 24, more than 160 people and businesses have become members, with more joining each day.
All I can say is–wow. We’re stunned and humbled by your support, kindness and generosity.
Truly, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response and by the incredible love that we’ve been shown in the process. Many of you included such kind and warm words as you signed up for membership. A few have even written us long notes, telling us how much TheBurg means to you.
“My wife and I are relatively new to Harrisburg (moved here mid-2015), and TheBurg has been indispensable to us in learning about and appreciating our city and the region,” wrote Kent Hurst of Harrisburg.
“I’m a Lancaster resident, but my partner, Anne, and I come to Harrisburg at least a few times a month for dinner and other cultural events,” said Jason Mundok of Lancaster. “We both believe that TheBurg is the best local news/cultural events info source in the region, and we’re jealous that our community doesn’t have anything that even comes close.”
“I think I’m your biggest fan,” said Renee Cronister of Susquehanna Township. “I just love TheBurg, from the paper it’s printed on to the goodness that flows forth.”
“I appreciate reading TheBurg even though I’m displaced from living in the city and working downtown,” wrote Carl Hursh of Mechanicsburg. “I especially enjoy the tone of each month’s editorial.”
Well, I could go on and on. There are dozens of examples.
I also wanted to share a few fun tidbits from the first month of “Friends of TheBurg.”
- Our very first friend wasn’t even from the Harrisburg area, but from Gaithersburg, Md. In addition, she joined before we even officially announced the program—just after our “Friends of TheBurg” page went live on our website.
- As of this writing, Friends of TheBurg includes 77 people at the “member” level, 63 households, 17 small businesses and six “community pillars”—all joining within less than a month.
- Our membership seems about equally split between people who live in Harrisburg city, who live on the west shore and who live on the east shore outside of the city. This aligns almost perfectly with our magazine readership.
- We’ve received several suggestions on how to improve the program, including having a “sustaining” monthly level and being clearer about being able to sign up through the regular mail. These are great ideas, and we appreciate the feedback.
- Many people complimented our print publication, which we often hear. But many also said that they appreciate our daily, online-only news coverage, especially during the pandemic. Despite our very limited resources, we’ve been working hard to increase our online content, so we enjoyed hearing that we’re making progress.
In the end, hearing from you—getting to know our readers, friends and fans better—may be the greatest benefit that has come from launching Friends of TheBurg. Your wonderful words and your support have helped us get through this very difficult time, since like many small businesses, the revenue side of TheBurg is suffering tremendously due to the pandemic.
From the staff of TheBurg to you—THANK YOU!
Visit the Friends of TheBurg page to learn more about the program, which includes some great benefits for members.