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Posted by on Nov 22, 2012 in News | 4 comments

Thanksgiving message and call for help

On Thanksgiving Day, we’re so very thankful for how far our community has come over the last seven years.

Let’s review.

After years of being a bootstrapped effort, ScienceOnline is now an official, tax-exempt nonprofit organization with an executive director (Karyn Traphagen). Our organization is dedicated to supporting the global ScienceOnline community through activities and initiatives that promote connections, conversations, collaborations and creativity. Our signature event returns soon – ScienceOnline2013 will be our seventh annual gathering. And because the community has grown ever larger, more diverse and better connected, there are now ScienceOnline satellite groups meeting monthly. ScienceSeeker, our online window in online science news, got a sleek and powerful upgrade. ScienceOnlineTEEN will be a fun event for high school students.

And there’s more coming.

Thank you

As always, Karyn and Bora and I are deeply grateful for the many ways that you all have helped ScienceOnline coalesce and grow. We strive to be good stewards of this organization, responsive to your ideas and needs, and aware of the opportunities ahead. Thank you for inspiring us through all of this, and telling us along the way about how this community has inspired or supported you. Seeing you connect with each other, and then take those connections to new heights, is very satisfying to us.

We created ScienceOnline the organization in order to sustain the momentum of the activities of the community. Nonprofit organizations, of course, need funding in order to sustain their activities. We’re new to running an organization of this size, and we need your help.

Here’s how you can assist:

  • Identify and alert us to any and all grants, requests for proposals (RFPs) and applications (RFAs), and other funding opportunities that look like a good fit for ScienceOnline and the type of programming we do.
  • Introduce us to foundation program officers, agency leads or other business executives who might respond well to the ScienceOnline story and our shared mission.
  • If you oversee a budget at work, consider appropriate ways that you might be able to support ScienceOnline, perhaps through a marketing or sponsorship contribution.
  • Make a personal (tax-deductible) donation, or mention our organization to a rich relative or neighbor who wins the Lotto (no need to forward us the widow-of-a-dictator-with-millions messages – we get plenty of those ourselves).
  • Send us ideas for ways small or grand that ScienceOnline can build revenue streams (yes, we’ll have a T-shirt for you to buy!).
  • Be an example of what makes ScienceOnline special: attend a satellite meetup, connect and share on social media, mentor a student, celebrate science and learning and life.

Wherever you are today, we wish you the best. We know we are better for connecting with you all, and we’re excited to see how ScienceOnline grows in 2013.



  1. Ideas for revenue stream (caveat: revenue not so much my thing, but worthy cause, so here goes…)
    1) Logo brand stuff, of course – but may need to think about values/impact of items from eco, fair trade, etc. perspective. Minimum 16oz sizes of: Mugs/travel mugs/stainless steel water bottles (does KleanKanteen do special orders?), iphone/ipad (and other brand device) covers or cases w/ logo. For other items, what does the community use a lot, and use in public (expand awareness)? Bags perhaps? 2) An affiliate store on Amazon with books, e-books, audiobooks by SciO folks and recommended by SciO folks (keep bar high, have only the really good stuff to maintain the trust ppl have in SciO) – could do weekly/monthly book review roundups to feature new additions, drive sales.
    3) Partnerships w/ local (Triangle) small businesses where SciO gets part of profit – like a special coffee or tea blend from Counter Culture (this coffee blend will keep you awake through the next SciO!) or local tea shop (@mistersugar might know). Items should be avail for ordering online/shipping since so many folks are non-local.
    4) Online auctions of special items (donated)
    5) This isn’t revenue, but: since ScioO is a 501c3, can you take monthly recurring donations from a cc, bank acct or paypal acct? Sometimes folks can mange $5/mo but not $50 in one drop.

    So thrilled to be part of this community. Thanks to you all for being the very special individuals you are, and for coming together in the extraordinary ways you do.

  2. I don’t think that amazon will do affiliates in North Carolina anymore due to the state tax issues, but that may have changed.

  3. Karyn, Anton, and Bora, you’re doing a great job. Keep up the good work. This is the best advice I can give you for most effectively managing your costs and revenue (maybe you’re already aware):

    Move at a pace you feel comfortable with.

    Growth is good, very good, but it increases your costs. And growing too fast will overwhelm you and create many inefficiencies within the organization, along with instability, unhappy employees, and a disorganized product. Be careful. :)

    Tom Ruginis

  4. Another thought…grocery stores out here in CA allow shoppers to register their club/frequent shopper cards for a charity or non-profit org, and then every time they shop, a small percentage is donated to the organization. Here’s a link to how the Ralphs store does it with my theater company. Perhaps there’s a grocery chain in NC that has a similar program? It’s small amounts, but they add up over time to keep the lights on…

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