C’mon, Paul, What Do You Do With the Money?

With the rumor mill turning these days, I felt it was a good time to make a statement about AVFM finances. It will be easier to link to this than to answer individual questions all over the internet that are popping up.

I am going to cover two areas. One, the finances of the conference (in particular the fundraiser for security), and two, a general overview of AVFM finances.

Regarding the conference, as most know we originally scheduled to have the event at the Downtown Doubletree Detroit Hilton, but were hit with an irrational, unsupported and malicious demand for additional security coverage shortly prior to the event.

Read about it here.

A subplot to this story is that during the lead-up to the event we discovered that Hilton had severely misrepresented the seating capacity of their conference room, resulting in further problems for us.

We had a crowd source fundraiser to cover the security costs, and also engaged simultaneously in exploring other venues because of capacity issues.

At the time we did the fundraiser (with the idea in mind that it was likely going to be at Hilton) we asked for funds and promised donors that it would be spent on police, additional legal costs and that any amount raised above that would be set aside for the next conference.

Many of you reading this made that fundraiser a smashing success.

Ultimately, we ended up at the VFW Hall in St. Clair Shores, where we hired four police officials (three officers and one supervisor) for coverage of the entire event and also hired a local attorney, paying his retainer in advance.  We also had to engage our regular attorney, and have not yet been billed for their services.

In effect, we spent the money raised on precisely what we said we would spend it on, and have set aside what little remained for the next conference.

It turned out to be a good choice. We wanted a venue that would meet our seating requirements and that would not run the games on us that Hilton ran, and we got great police protection as well as legal representation locally.

We had a wonderful and successful conference, even though it required additional expenses like all the transportation we ran around the clock from airport to hotel to venue to back.

So where did the money go? Right where I said it would.

Now, speaking to the issue of AVFM finances generally (got your miner’s light switched on, David?).

I am the sole proprietor of A Voice for Men. It is my intellectual as well as personal property. Every dollar donated goes right into my pocket. I spend that money on this website and on activist efforts at my own discretion, considering the opinions of the AVFM management team that volunteers to help run this place.

The way I look at it is that the donations are given freely by people who get a really great website (that they could just get for free) and who believe that I use this operation to further issues that they think are important to them.

It is a strictly voluntary arrangement. I don’t accept paid advertising (so I never have to worry about depending on sponsors). I depend on the site for my living, and to do as much FTSU as possible while I am at it.

So far, it has worked very well. The generous donors to the site have believed in me enough to support this place into becoming a major online publication as well as an arm of activism unlike anything ever seen before.

The only suggestion I can make for those who do not find that to be an acceptable arrangement is to not donate. And still I hope they feel free to benefit from the site content as well as our collective work as activists.

But I do not, nor will I ever, make my personal finances a matter of public record.

I have that policy for a number of reasons. One good example is going on right now. I have recently encountered about 10 “MHRAs” most all with new accounts, who are “concerned” about the “lack of financial transparency” about the conference and about AVFM in general.

I know if I put all my personal accounts online, you could multiply those “concerned MHRAs” by a hundred. Hell, an act that stupid on my part might cause Manboobz himself to become an instant concerned MHRA.

And then there is the media. Consider the following exchange I had with one of the dumpster divers from MSNBC.

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There is a message about all of this in my blunt response.

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So here is the rub, folks. At the end of each day, even with the incredible levels of help I get from people like Dean Esmay, David King, Al Martin and every one of the incredible people who work at AVFM, I am still target number one. I am a target for feminists posing as concerned MHRAs, yellow hacks like David Futrelle, and a target for many in the media who would love nothing better than to publish my personal financial information after putting their disgusting spin on it.

I have to bear the brunt of this stuff, so I am going to be the one who makes the calls on what personal information, including income from this website, is divulged to the public.

I have to count on the complete trust of people who support AVFM financially, and I don’t hesitate to say that I know I have earned it a few times over.

Again, if anyone feels like I am a bad investment, then I certainly respect that choice. I don’t seek to change anyone’s mind.

I do think, however, that my financial supporters, especially those who are new and may have questions, do deserve to hear directly from me precisely why I run things the way I do. I will leave it up to them to decide if what I and the rest of the AVFM team provide is worth it.

That is my last word on AVFM and money.

Well, except to say we have still a couple of days left in the current quarterly fundraiser and have not quite made goal yet. Your help, should you decide to give it, is greatly appreciated.

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