It's Spring! Flowers will bloom, the sun will shine, and BuckeyePlanet is buzzing along on a pair of new servers at warp speeds. It's that time of year when BuckeyePlanet members from across Ohio, the United States, and the world come together and support our community-driven site, keeping it a free resource for the community courtesy of all those who provide the funds, content, games, and sense of community we've been enjoying since 2003. Big shout out to shetuck for getting the grassroots campaign going! :) Quick link to donation page (PayPal account is NOT required for credit cards) Thank You, 2010 Donors! The commitment of the community to keeping BP strong is truly amazing and wonderful to witness. In the 2010 Spring and Fall Drives, 165 members donated $12,641.94 to keep BuckeyePlanet and Clarity financially sound. Donations paid for BP's bandwidth, server maintenance/upgrades, software licenses, and initial funds toward the servers being installed this week. Even more significantly, BP was able to help sustain the Bryant household throughout the year, covering medical and other expenses not covered by disability or other sources. To keep things even from year to year, we're counting March 2011 donations in this drive, giving us a running start of $558! BuckeyePlanet: A Free Community When BP began in 2003, nobody really had in mind that it would be so much at the forefront of the Buckeye community. How can a site committed to staying free grow that big without demanding monthly subscriptions and setting aside information as "premium"? BP is a free community - anyone can stop by and enjoy what is here. But it isn't free to run - it's community-funded. And everything that is available here is community-driven. For every story, game thread, set of updates, analysis, and incredibly in-depth Game Preview, there are people putting in significant amounts of free time to give something to the community. It's a pretty astounding phenomenon when you stop to think about it. For those of you deciding on a first-time donation, please consider that we have many of the same expenses as the pay sites, and yet because the community volunteers its work, we ask for and exist on a much, much smaller budget that covers only direct expenses of the site and a portion of personal expenses of its owner, and the latter only once his medical condition made it absolutely necessary to do so. If you give to those who make you pay for access, won't you please consider a voluntary donation to support a free and open community? Looking Forward: 2011 Drive Goals Our goal for 2011 Spring Drive is to continue paying BP's bandwidth and server fees, put something aside for maintenance, and provide some stabilizing funds for the Bryant household. We are looking at much the same expenses as in the past. The new server arrangement will save money in the long run while ad revenue has leveled off. A change in payment schedule for our largest advertiser has created a bit of an immediate cash flow crunch, as payments expected for the next two months won't be arriving until later in the year. The 2011 goal of $10,000 will cover server fees, maintenance, and bandwidth over the next six months, and some basic expenses for the Bryant household. SPRING DRIVE GOAL: $10,000 Our server situation turned out better than we could have imagined. Through a special arrangement with our server tech, we now have access to two shiny new high-speed servers while only being obligated to pay for one, with an option to purchase the other later on if we desire. Each server is $3,800, and we have $1,200 accounted for out of the 2011 drives, leaving $2,600 for this purpose. The charge for uninstalling and shipping the old server to Ohio was $500, which has been included in this drive goal. SERVER GOAL: $3,100 With access to two new shiny servers, updated server configuration, and upgraded forum software, we're speeding along and ready to take on the football season and beyond. We're now in a good position to look at ways to grow the site to provide new goodies for the board. This will happen over time as we also begin long-term evaluation and planning for our next major upgrade. Big ups to kn1f3party for spearheading the new IRC chat which is now linked from the top menu. Clarity Update If you've been a member here for any length of time, you likely know that BuckeyePlanet's founder has been faced with a host of serious medical issues, for many years without the access to health care necessary to treat his illness or even diagnose it. Due in no small part to the contributions of BuckeyePlanet members, the situation has improved as the disability benefits battle was finally won, and along with it the first real access to health care in many years. This has led to a working diagnosis that will hopefully provide answers and improvement going forward. For those who are not familiar with the situation, Will's immune system is systematically attacking and in some cases severely damaging his lungs, liver, sinuses, central nervous system, and connective tissues. His symptoms make simple activities many of us take for granted extraordinarily difficult, and it is nearly impossible for him to leave the house even for a visit to a nearby doctor save in very carefully controlled, limited circumstances. While his condition keeps him from posting as much as we would all like, he directs most of his available energy into building, updating, and maintaining the site behind the scenes on a daily basis. And Now, Let's Check Out the Goodies! vCash vCash vCash! Looking for a bigger piece of the action? Ready to join the High Rollers club in the vaunted House Of Bookie, located just off the jagged yet scenic coast of Elitistprickistan? Now you, too, can finally own that vHouseboat of your dreams! Oh yes, it's true! Your investment of US currency has been wisely invested in the trading halls of the RWSF HQ, or would have been if it existed, which of course it does not. Even so, wise investing and a good knowledge of exchange rates have allowed us to offer benefits of 1:10,000! THAT'S RIGHT. TEN FREAKING THOUSAND. For example: $5 real cash = 50,000 vCash $10 real cash = 100,000 vCash $100 real cash = 1,000,000 vCash ... and so forth, without limit. When Joanna (aka Longwoodbuck) receives notice from PayPal of your donation, she will update your vcash amount. BB73 has generously extended his offer to double the vCash out of his personal stash. We'll double the amounts and send him the bill. For this generosity, we say thank you, and make him pay! Thank You List Donors will be recognized on BuckeyePlanet's homepage. All donors will be listed alphabetically by username without amounts, unless you request not to be listed. The list will stay up until the next Spring Drive, at which point it will be available as a link in the next year's list. Donor Badges You know this image. It's spiffy. Chicks dig it. And you can get the newest model for your very own! Chicks REALLY dig it. Collect them all! And rep 'em when you see 'em! Donor badges have already been distributed to our 22 monthly donors as of March. Thank you, and enjoy! How to Donate via PayPal, Snail Mail, or Monthly Donations PayPal Link found on the front page of BuckeyePlanet, or on the black navigation bar at the top of most pages. NOTE: Your username appears on transactions if you use the link here on BP. Otherwise, please be sure to include your BuckeyePlanet username with any donation so we can credit your account with the appropriate reward. Snail Mail Donations Joanna Bryant 669 Sumter Street Galloway, OH 43119-8564 Please add "BuckeyePlanet" to the memo line and make the payment out to Joanna or Will Bryant. NOTE: Please be sure to include your BuckeyePlanet username with any donation so we can credit your account with the appropriate reward. Monthly Donation Program - v1,000,000 Bonus! Do you want to contribute more frequently? Do you want automatic payments like the pay sites have but 100% completely voluntary because BP is 100% FREE? Let the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee grow into a significant contribution by becoming a monthly donor! Please note that it is very important to all of us that we remain a free community based on the freely given support of our members. Signing up for the monthly donation option is simply a way of automating donations, and does not afford access to any "premium" sections of the site - because we don't have any - or want any! We want to encourage monthly donations as a way to stabilize BP's financial future. Monthly donors will be awarded an immediate bonus of v1,000,000 (automated!) upon registration for the program in appreciation of their continued commitment to the site. This is in addition to any other benefits. Eligibility for any giveaways will be calculated based on the full six-month amount. Our current monthly donors will receive the same bonus at the start of this drive. How it Works Click here, or in UserCP, near the bottom of the left menu, click "Paid Subscriptions." Select the amount you would like to donate monthly, and complete the PayPal transaction. Use your own bank account or credit card through PayPal if you wish, or the balance in your PayPal account. NOTE: Your username appears on transactions if you use the link here on BP. Otherwise, please be sure to include your BuckeyePlanet username with any donation so we can credit your account with the appropriate reward. Other Ways to Support BuckeyePlanet Use the Amazon store! This supports BuckeyePlanet at no charge to you. Click the BP Store link on the menu for our affiliate store, click any of the left-side Amazon ads within threads, or simply [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F&tag=buckey09-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325"]bookmark this Amazon link[/ame]. (This won't work by clicking and then bookmarking; you need to right-click and copy the link and actually paste that into your bookmark properties.) There are a bunch of special offers discussed in our BP Amazon thread. Students can get free Prime for a year, and there are special deals for parents as well. Buy even one DRM-free MP3 there and get 20GB free cloud storage this year. Good stuff. Recruit an Advertiser - Know a business owner, or frequent a place that would benefit from some especially loyal new customers? Have them contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for rates. We'd really like to get the same sort of sense of community we have in the forums in the ads, and support Ohio's economy. Poker Party - June 25, 2011 - Gregorylee is hosting a BP get-together! Get your party on and hang out with other BPers! Got goodies? - Sometimes we like to give away a little something as a thank-you for donating. Let us know if you have something to contribute. Others have auctioned items and donated the proceeds. Have a project in mind? Everything on BP is community-driven. Have a great idea for a game, article, activity, etc? This is a great time to try something new! Thank You!