Your tax-deductible donation will help EC
to continue supporting LGBT people everywhere!

Empty Closets is asking for your help.

 


A Brief History

Many of you who have been part of the EmptyClosets.com online community have heard or read about our organizational history: The community was started in 2004 by three individuals (Bryce, John, and Shannon) who, remembering their own struggles coming out, were seeking to provide a safe online community in the hopes of making the process easier for others.

For the first seven years of its existence, EmptyClosets was simply a website, owned by the media company run by its founders, and run by a loosely structured group of people who shared a common interest in helping others to get information and support on coming out and other LGBT-related issues.

In 2011, the three founders and several of the current volunteers at EmptyClosets started discussing creating a more formal organizational structure to support the continued growth of the site and the community that had grown up around it. The founders generously agreed to fund the creation of a nonprofit public charity, and to donate the site, domain, and all of the other assets that made up the EmptyClosets online community to the charity, once created.

Empty Closets Community Services was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in September of 2011. In July of 2014, we received official recognition of our charitable status as a 501(c)(3) public charity from the IRS. We received formal recognition from the State of California in October, 2015. (You can verify here by choosing "Corporation" and entering "Empty Closets Community Services").

Current donations and operating budget

2014 was the first year we accepted public donations. We are pleased to say that we've been extremely fiscally conservative and all of the cash donations received in 2014 and 2015 to-date were held to cover expenses we anticipated in 2016.

The costs of maintaining Empty Closets thus far have been extremely low; the site lives on servers donated to us by the founders that have served our needs longer than expected. In 2017, we will be moving to our own dedicated servers to handle the increased load.

We've secured donations of the new platform software and the support services to install and update it from the software vendor. Our minimal expenses (filing fees and mailing costs to complete our registration) have been donated by the founders and staff, and the expense in terms of time spent moderating and maintaining the site and community is donated by the twenty-some volunteers that comprise our staff, admin team, and Board of Directors.

Our sole expenditures in 2016 (under $1000 in total) paid for custom coding of the new software platform, purchase of some plug-ins and other functionality needed for the platform, and other expenses associated with preparing the new platform for conversion.

Our all-volunteer staff donates over 1,000 hours of time each month keeping the community a safe and welcoming place. In short, we've operated on a budget very close to zero for many years. But continued growth and demand for our services is making that more difficult.

What we Accomplished in 2016, and Our Growth and Future

Even thought we've (intentionally, so far) done no advertising and no outreach to speak of, EmptyClosets is growing at a pretty large rate. In December 2009, 37,000 users viewed 752,000 pages; in November, 2015, 540,000 visitors viewed some 3.3 million pages. Much of that growth has taken place over the past year and a half, mostly from word-of-mouth. Some 65% of our visitors are from the US; the rest are spread throughout the world. In 2016 alone, we added more than 11,000 new members to our community, and we now have over 3 *million* posts to the community!

We continued working on the conversion to our new platform, developed a number of new strategic connections, added new volunteer staff,
and supported an ever-increasing number of community members. We further developed our staffing structure to better support increased volunteer participation in multiple areas (outreach, development, fundraising, member support). We've begun creating clearer and more formal policy and procedure to better support our community. And we did this all with volunteers, and without spending any of the cash donated to us!

We need your help to continue to support the growth we're experiencing. And so we're asking those of you that might be able to help to consider giving back. In 2017, here are some of our renewed goals :

  • Continue adding additional volunteer staffing
  • Improve staff training and skill sets through better training and mentoring
  • Complete launch of a modern, feature-rich, and mobile-friendly version of EC
  • Replace the existing chat system with a more modern platform that supports mobile devices
  • Start work on a new content side to the site, comprising more articles and resources
  • Possibly bring on a part-time paid staff member to support our volunteer staff
  • Locate additional professional consultation staff (medical, psychological) to support and consult with our volunteer staff
  • Continue developing partnerships with bricks-and-mortar organizations to provide more resources and options for our members

By making a year-end, tax-deductible gift to Empty Closets Community Services, you will be supporting the valuable services the Empty Closets online community provides to individuals all over the world. Your donation will go directly to paying for the services, expertise, and other expenses necessary to carry out our charitable mission that we cannot otherwise get from our existing staff members or in-kind donations.

Any donation at all is welcomed and appreciated. If you need a last-minute, year-end tax deduction, we would be honored to be the recipient of your generosity!

Whether or not you are able to donate, the entire staff and Board of Empty Closets Community Services thanks you for your continued suppolrt of our community. It is the messages, advice, support, and other contributions that our almost 77,000 members make to our community every day that have made EmptyClosets what it is.

For ECCS,

Administrators:

Mirko
Martin
Gravity
Chip

Board of Directors:

Bryce
BlairSW
TyRawr
Martin
Chip

You can donate via PayPal below. If you prefer to donate via check, please email adminteam@emptyclosets.com and we'll be happy to arrange that. We can provide receipts for your tax records if needed.