“Why Don’t You Just Charge for the Beacon?”

Is subscription-only the solution?

By Charlie Darling, Beacon Board of Directors

We’ve been very open with the community about how challenging it is to deliver our community newspaper to every Andover mailbox all year long. Paying for the printing, mailing, and staff is one of the biggest challenges, of course.

People often ask, “Why don’t you just send the Beacon to subscribers only? Why should everyone in the community get a copy?” The answer isn’t obvious, but it’s very important because it flows directly from why the Beacon exists in the first place.

The board has discussed this issue (repeatedly!) since its first meeting in 2003, and the answer always comes down to this:

  • The Andover Beacon is a non-profit organization whose only reason to exist is to serve the community.
  • Now, think of two different measures of the Beacon’s value to the community: In the first, the Beacon is delivered to every mailbox. In the other, it is delivered only to subscribers. (Our best guess: maybe 200 or 300 households.)

Every time we do that thought experiment, we decide that the first scenario serves the community vastly better than the second.

Both scenarios reach devoted Beacon readers who would happily pay a subscription fee. Check!

Our Welcoming Community

But only the first scenario also creates a virtual “front door” to the Andover community, welcoming every Andover resident to enter. 

Thanks to the generous support of the Beacon’s advertisers, donors, and volunteers, every Andover resident has the opportunity – if and when they’re ready, and in whatever way they see fit – to open the Beacon and learn about the community they reside in:

  • our vibrant community organizations that do so much and offer so much
  • the important and challenging issues we face in running the Town and the School District
  • the fascinating history of Andover
  • the many opportunities to get outside and enjoy Andover’s natural beauty
  • plus news, events, arts, opinions, people, local businesses, and much more

What a powerful statement this monthly “front door” makes about the kind of community Andover is. We’re here, we’ve got tons to offer, and we want you to join in!

If someday an Andover resident – new to town, or lived here for generations – picks up their copy of the Beacon and decides to learn more about their community and maybe finds a way they’d like to participate, what a wonderful thing that is!

The Beacon is uniquely positioned to serve Andover in this way. That’s why every year we ask for the community’s support, through donations, ads, or volunteering, so that we can meet our financial challenges and keep putting the Beacon in every mailbox all year long.

Two Donation Matches This Year!

In support of the Beacon’s commitment to delivering every issue to every mailbox, generous community members have created two funds to make your donation to the Beacon even more impactful this year. The New Donor Match Fund of $2,200 will match the donations of anyone who donates to the Beacon for the first time this year. And the Increase Match Fund of $2,000 will match however much a donor increases their 2021 donation over their most recent past donation.

See the form on page 4 to send your donation right away, before the match funds are used up. Thanks!