Year-End Review and a Look Forward

By Doris A. and John S.

In this first Sunday posting of the New Year, we would like to touch base with our subscribers about AA Beyond Belief (AABB), both to inform you about the website, and to find out what you want from our site and how you think we can improve upon what we do. We will spend a little time reviewing the past year and discussing our goals for 2018.  At the end of the article, we pose questions that you can respond to in the comments section. We hope this will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation.

AA Beyond Belief is a collaborative effort. Our Chief Editor is Doris A., Lead Editor Galen T., Proofreading by PJ, Podcasting by John S. and Benn B., Audio Recording by Len R., Art and photography by Cope C., Kathryn F., and Jan A., Public Information by Ritha F., and Edtors at Large: Bob K., John L., and Thomas B.

Sunday Articles  

We posted 46 articles in 2017. Many were written by new authors to the site with an increasing number written by women (yay!). In the fall we had a new type of feature, a beautiful photo essay by Jan A. that was well received. PJ from Sidney is now working with AABB as an eagle eyes proofreader. His involvement has been a wonderful addition.

We would still like to receive submissions from younger adults, telling us about their recovery and their experience in AA. It would also be lovely to have more photo essays, poetry, and art. Let us know if you are interested.

The comment section continues to be a lively “meeting after the meeting.” In 2017, our articles received 1,029 comments from our readers. We welcome diverse views and spirited disagreement while also encouraging civil and open-minded discussion.  We would like to have more people to comment, especially women and people who are new to our community. 

During the last year, our number of article submissions waxed and waned. During our slow periods we fret, and when it is busy we scramble to keep up with the flow of new material. In part to address this unevenness, we plan for the coming year to offer two articles and two podcasts each month, alternating between the two. Articles will be posted every other Sunday and podcasts will be posted every other Wednesday. Later we will ask for feedback on this plan. In the meanwhile, please consider writing for us.

In 2017, AA Beyond Belief received 90,679 unique visitors who viewed a total of 173,104 pages, and they came from a total of 159 countries from every continent on the planet. 

Podcasts

We posted 34 podcasts in 2017 featuring the personal stories of secular people in AA, and interviews with authors and medical professionals. Benn and John also reviewed and discussed recovery related films. Our podcast guests came from countries around the world including Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2017, the podcasts were downloaded a total of 117,603 times by 80,791 unique users. Our podcast listeners come from 123 different countries from around the world. 

In 2018, you can expect more podcast interviews with authors and secular AA members from around the world. Benn and John will team up for more podcasts to discuss books, movies, and topics of interest to people in recovery. Our focus in 2018 will be quality over quantity. Though we would like to post podcasts on a regular schedule, we may need to delay posting if necessary to ensure that we are producing a quality product. Our plan in 2018 is to post a podcast every other Wednesday.

The podcasts are available on every imaginable platform; iTunes, Android, Google Play, Sound Cloud, and YouTube to name a few. If you have an idea for a podcast, please email us at podcast@aabyonebelief.org.

Online Meetings

In 2017, we made our Zoom Conferencing account available to anyone who would like to use it to host a secular AA meeting online. Currently, AA Beyond Belief hosts meetings on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The Secular AA website hosts a meeting on Saturday that we also list on our site. The Zoom Conferencing system is easy to use and these meetings have become quite popular. If you would like to start an online meeting, let us know and we’ll set you up. 

Social Media 

AA Beyond Belief has a social media presence on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Google Plus, Tumblr, Sound Cloud, and YouTube. All of our articles and podcasts are posted on social media.

Our public Facebook page has close to 800 followers and we have a private Facebook group with over 500 members. If you would like to join our Facebook group, you can send a friend request to Hap Destiny, and he will add you to the group. Hap is an avatar that we use to add people to the Facebook group. The Facebook group provides an opportunity to connect with other secularists in AA, to share experience and build community. 

Our YouTube Channel now has 695 subscribers and in 2017 it received 49,504 views. All of our podcasts are posted on YouTube as are the audio version of our stories that were recorded by our friend Len R. There is potential to expand our use of YouTube to post live podcasts and as a medium for reporting news and information of interest to our community.

Finances

AA Beyond Belief is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, and we have met the IRS requirement of filing form 990-N, which is an electronic postcard for nonprofits with revenue under $50,000.  You can confirm our status with the IRS by visiting this link. We are incorporated in the State of Missouri with which we file an annual report and our nonprofit status is in good standing. 

Income

In 2017, we received $2,602.00 net in PayPal donations and $209.00 in checks received from secular AA groups. We also enrolled in the Amazon Affiliate Program which allows us to earn 4.5% from Amazon when a visitor purchases a book by clicking on one of our links. We have only been participating since December 1, 2017, and have thus far earned $20.00.  

Expenses

Our greatest expense is for the web hosting with Go Daddy, but this is paid annually every March. On March 6th, we will pay $795 for the web hosting and domain renewals. We also pay for podcast hosting, Mail Chimp, software, and bank fees. In 2017, our total annual expenditure was $2,841.13. 

Please consider making a contribution to help with our expenses in 2018. In the interest of transparency, we post our financial statements on the financial information page of our website.

Support AA Beyond Belief on Patreon

For 2018, we’re introducing a new way to contribute to AA Beyond Belief. Patreon is a crowd funding site that gives people a way to support the websites, blogs and podcasts they enjoy. We have an ambitious goal this year to raise $1,000 per month in recurring contributions, and we could easily surpass this goal if every subscriber to our website and podcast would contribute as little as $1 per month. 

What will we do with this money? We will use it to pay for podcast transcripts for every episode and for services that will edit the podcasts for us. This will save hours of time spent editing so we can instead use the time to create content. Every podcast easily takes at least eight full hours of work and most take more time than that. There is the time to prepare for the podcast, time to conduct the interview, and then time to edit the podcast for sound and quality. The same applies with the articles we publish. It takes a great deal of time and effort to prepare an article for publication. If we could pay for editing services, all of us would have more time to devote to creating content and improving the quality of our end product. 

Please take the time to visit our Patreon page and consider becoming a patron. We will provide rewards for monthly subscribers whether paid through PayPal or Patreon. 

  • Donate $1.00 or more per month and you will become a Grateful Heathen, just happy to help out the site.
  • Donate $5.00 or more per month and you will become a Friend of Jim B. and receive monthly updates and behind the scenes information about our podcast.
  •  Donate $10.00 or more per month, and you will achieve Godless Serenity and receive all the benefits of the previous levels, and access to an exclusive podcast episode every month.
  • Donate $25 or more per month, and you will receive all the benefits from the previous levels, plus we will celebrate your sobriety anniversary by posting a congratulatory message on our site, and mailing you a card and sobriety coin. 

Become a Patron!

Survey

Thank you so much for giving us the amazing opportunity to serve. We are grateful to all of you who read our stories, listen to the podcasts, write articles and comment on the site, and also to those who make financial contributions.

We would appreciate it, if you could take the time to complete this short survey and also leave feedback for us in the comments section. 

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  1. Joe C January 15, 2018 at 12:55 am - Reply

    best dang hang out on the Internet for atheists and agnostics in 12-step recovery.

     

  2. John S January 14, 2018 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Thanks, Life. I appreciate the comments and all that you have done to support AA Beyond Belief since we started on this venture. You are family for sure!

    • Joanna K. January 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm Reply

      Hello there, John S.!

      I just made a donation to both to AA beyond Belief and Patreon. One of them asked me to “remember to include my sobriety anniversary date”. I looked for a way to include the date but was unable to. What do you suggest I do to inform the site of this date?

      Thanks,

      • John S January 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm Reply

        Hi Joanna,

        First of all, thank you for your incredible generosity. I’ll add a message to email me at john@aabeyondbelief.org.

        I’m grateful more than you know for the help that you and others have provided. It’s really just very nice and all of us here are very thankful.

  3. life-j January 14, 2018 at 11:29 am - Reply

    just one of the little annoyances: after making a contribution being routed to a thank you page, so I had to close out and find my way back here instead of just being taken back here. OK, I’m grouchy this morning. Would caution against a tiered reward system according to ability to pay donations as you are introducing toward the end of this article. Seems rather un-AA-like.

    Other than that: Thank you!

    I will confess I often don’t listen to the podcasts, but hope you will get enough donations to have them transcribed, because I would almost always read them when you did that.

    But it is of course great to have it in sound for those who prefer that, including when Len was reading out written articles.

    Will have to go back over it, there were a few things I wasn’t aware of I will have to look into.

    thanks again

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