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RE: Nominations for the AMSAT Board of Directors - REPLY to the REPLY -



Dan,
A lot of ground to cover....But, here goes.
I understand that attempts to raise outside funds have not done as well
as hoped, but that is not a good reason to not try!
Part of the answer is not what you do, but how you do it. My experience
in the 501(c)3 field has brought me to a number of conclusions: For
instance, the job of raising many millions of dollars for an Endowment
Fund is not done by the volunteers, or even the paid staff, but by paid
professionals who raise hundreds of millions each and every year. There
is a system to it, and trust me, if you don't follow the "system" you
will likely fail. Quite often the big bucks do not come from the
corporations but from their Foundations and significant individual
givers. You would not believe the number of philanthropic foundations
that exist in this country, all waiting to be sold on the idea of giving
to your project. The line is long, and only to truly adept walk away
with the money. To that end, I have already started on the "Case for
Support", the basic instrument upon which all fundraising presentations
and efforts are based. A professional fundraising organization, refines
this document and structures an effort based on a "feasibility study"
that isolates your supporters and likely significant givers. It is a lot
of work but can be very financially rewarding.
Next, is the area of Grants. There are hundreds upon hundreds of
foundations that are grant givers. Again, you can not just scratch up a
letter and hope. There are professional who do nothing all day but write
the very tedious documents that are required for grant submissions. Some
of these pros have unbelievable track records, often with the same
foundations. Again, you just would not believe the number of foundations
who award millions each year (less in these economic times). The trick
is to have a compelling story, and to tell it in a compelling way, to
the right people. I am not suggesting that I have all the answers, but I
do know that there is a way to approach it that has the greatest
potential for success.

Now, about the press coverage of AMSAT activities:
Being in the Television business, I will tell you that we are deluged
with people who want press coverage of their activities. The pile gets
high and it is loaded with junk. Poorly prepared, poorly presented,
poorly thought-out and poorly timed. Like most humans, a reporter will
take the easy road. Have someone come into the newsroom with prepared
text, written and on floppy for easy insertion into the newsroom
computer system, complete with additional resources for reporters to
contact, and an invitation for the reporter to attend events associated
with the cause and, BINGO. It gets on the air. Another issue is the
canned news release from the national headquarters. Booo Hissss. Any
news release should have a: Local connection, and a Human Connection.
Local names, local events, connection to local institutions like the
local ham club, the local AMSAT group. With the national press the job
is a bit different. The perception must be that there is national
interest in the subject, and probably the biggest factor is
RELATIONSHIP. If you know the reporter PERSONALLY, you are much more
likely to get the coverage. For television remember, its about pictures.
There must be an event like a local ARISS at the school down the street.
They need to know well in advance so that videographers and reporters
can be scheduled.
In conclusion: If the press coverage of Amateur Satellite stinks, that
is our problem, not the press. Only we can fix it.
People are not interested? Well that too is our problem. We need to show
them what we do, how much fun it is to do it, and how easily they can do
it. Some of those exposed will yawn and turn away, others will jump on
the boat. You know you only sell things one at a time...
Enough already!!!
73
Gunther Meisse
W8GSM


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-AMSAT-BB@AMSAT.Org [mailto:owner-AMSAT-BB@AMSAT.Org] On
Behalf Of Daniel Schultz
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 5:50 PM
To: amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org
Subject: RE: [amsat-bb] Nominations for the AMSAT Board of Directors -
REPLY -


Paul KB5MU wrote:

>It may not be widely known, but the AMSAT Board has made many 
>behind-the-scenes efforts to match up corporate grants or other 
>philanthropic funding sources with AMSAT needs. A volunteer with 
>experience doing exactly that tackled the job just a couple of years 
>ago.

>My point is just this: if AMSAT hasn't raised a lot of money from 
>outside the amateur radio community, it isn't for lack of trying. It 
>will take more than the establishment of a Foundation and good 
>intentions to change that. A lot more.


Where will this money come from?

Corporations are not interested in Amsat, we have nothing of value to
them. Their business models cannot support the "Amsat way" of doing
things. Businessmen are trained to value things by what they have to pay
for them. Volunteer work is worth nothing in their mind since it pays no
monetary wage. (If you think I'm wrong, try listing your Amsat
activities on your resume and see how many interviews that gets you-
NONE!) To the extent that Amsat can do things with a minimum amount of
bureaucracy and paperwork, we are a threat to the bureaucrats and the
paperwork engineers who run the corporations. They work in a top-down
hierarchical structure where all wisdom flows down from on high and
people do their jobs for fear of losing them. Amsat has a bunch of
highly intelligent, independent minded, prima donnas who are about as
well organized as a heard of cats. 

The News Media is not interested. If a bunch of 20 year old college
students build a 6 inch cube sat, they get written up in the aerospace
trade journals and occasionally in the mass media. Even the amateur
rocket builders are getting some mention for their suborbital launch
efforts (The news media does not understand the difference between
suborbital flights and orbital
launches.) But when Amsat launched AO-40, there was not one peep from
any news media, either the trade press or the mass media. Do a search
for "Amsat" or "AO-40" or "phase 3D" on SPACE.COM and see what comes up-
NOTHING! Apparently nobody but us thinks that it's cool that a rag tag
group of nerds can build and launch a complicated satellite.

Corporations grant money to colleges for student built satellites
because they are good public relations for the corporation and because
this years students are next years entry level engineering employees. If
we were all 20 years old and working for college credit there would be
tons of corporate money available to us, but since we are for the most
part a bunch of elderly white males there is no reason for them to
support our "hobby", a hobby which is perceived by many to be no longer
relevant in the age of cell phones and the internet. 

Philanthropic funding sources are looking for good PR by helping
students and other people in need, and we don't fit their model of
"people in need". Robert Goddard got money from a foundation for his
1930's rocket experiments because Charles Lindbergh took notice of
Goddard's work and used his fame to lobby the wealthy foundations to
support Dr Goddard. We could use a Charles Lindbergh to do the same for
us, if we had one, lacking that we will not get support from private
foundations. 
 
Space Advocacy Groups are not interested, they spend most of their time
lobbying Congress to increase NASA funding toward some day when they
will be able to homestead in space, not understanding that NASA isn't
interested in homesteading in space. The Planetary Society contracted
with a factory in Russia to build their solar sail prototype, which they
are pushing to their 100,000 members as the "first space mission
undertaken by a public membership organization". The other space groupie
organizations are not interested in unmanned spacecraft of any sort. 

Most Hams are not interested in satellites, they just want their HF DX
contests. They would gladly trade away all of the UHF and microwave
bands if they could get another 40 KHz added on to the 20 meter band.

The only people in North America who give a shit about ham satellites
are the 4000 members who joined Amsat. Unless there is a major shift in
the Earth's axis, any new ham satellites will be funded the same way
AO-40 was- from those 4000 members pockets.

Prophets are never appreciated in their own time. Grace Hopper once said
"Don't worry about people stealing your idea, if your idea is that good
you will have to ram it down their throats". Be proud that you are one
of the 4000. If Dr Goddard were alive today I'm sure he would be working
with Amsat.

Dan Schultz N8FGV



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