Since 2018, bUneke (be unique) has shined the spotlight on more than 3,000 other charities, not-for-profit organizations, philanthropic for profit businesses such as Conquest Graphics, authors, artists, musicians, performers, film makers, podcasters, and regular people who are all working today to change tomorrow. We do this with award-winning documentary films, our award-winning bUneke Magazine, podcasts that haven't yet been submitted to any contests, our blog, and community events. Since October 2022, bUneke has worked with authors to help them publish their debut books and currently has three titles available, with at least three more closing upon their launch dates. The authors of these books donate a portion of their book sales not only to bUneke, but to other charities that are important to them. Our MetaFest event is a table-top vendor fundraiser, since we're not the glitz and glamour gala type of people. This free public community event is the most efficient and productive way for us to distribute bUneke to 1,000 people every four months.
The cost to print bUneke Magazine has forced us to change how we do business over the past five years. For our first 18 months, we printed monthly. Then, we moved to printing quarterly, and at one point in time, we were printing 78 full-color, high res pages. After receiving a small grant, we created a regional version of the magazine, and another grant led to the creation of a version of bUneke that was geared toward young students. Our digital version has traditionally been interactive, with live links going to sponsors' and advertisers' websites, in addition providing an easy way for fans of our volunteer writers from around the world to reach them. We also provided, for a while, an audio version of our stories and essays. When the founding vice president's son was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma, she took a leave of absence, and as our only volunteer creative director and graphic designer, we stopped producing the magazines. We hope to resume printing updated copies and sharing them with our community in addition to mailing copies to schools and libraries across the country.
All of our documentaries that held in-person premiers used a variety of print materials for promotion, from flyers to event cards and even movie posters that we displayed during the showings. These films have been used by several other charities as fundraisers, including our first one that helped generate nearly a quarter of a million dollars for a local historic home that had been slated for demolition until community members rallied to save it - including bUneke volunteers. Today, that organization held a ceremony where they cut the ribbon declaring that the charity owned the home, which will be renovated and turned into a museum and community hub.
We print event flyers to hand out prior to our MetaFest and would love to be able to afford to use a direct mail service to announce MetaFest, rather than relying on social media and word of mouth advertising.
As an educational charity, bUneke works with college interns and people who appreciate how we involve the entire global community to help teach about many worthy causes. We mentor those with little or no experience and welcome experts in their fields to share their experiences. Our goal is to be able to resume printing the magazine and sustainably mail the physical copies to each of our contributors, rather than emailing them digital tear sheets.
When we first established our charity, one of the first things we did was to secure a bulk mailing permit from the USPS, but we've never been able to afford to mail 200 pieces at the same time. Likewise, we cannot yet afford to use a direct mail service, because it's simply cost prohibitive. We'd certainly like to do that.
How has bUneke used print and direct mail? We have printed 26 issues that ranged from 8 pages to 78 pages and have returned to the 8-page format, to be able to afford it. Issue 26 had all its stories posted on our blog, with the 8 page print version as a representation of what we would have liked to have printed. Unfortunately, we have not been able to afford direct mail and look forward to crossing the cost barrier with your grant.
How do we plan to use print and direct mail? We would love to increase the number of contributors to our magazine and include them, along with subscribers who want to receive printed copies of the magazine every three months. Our overall goal is to use direct mail to send free copies to schools in underprivileged areas and to be able to resume regional versions of the magazine, to increase its relevance to those students.
How has print and direct mail helped to promote the valuable message and great things that bUneke does? When we can hand out full sized copies of bUneke, instead of business cards, it makes a powerful impression. Our highest reviewed magazines have been 6.5 X 9, full-color, literary works of art.
Still run by just one of three founders, nobody at bUneke has ever received a salary and we rely on the generosity of dedicated volunteers and donors to share bUneke with others. With a print and direct mail grant, we will move our mission into the future. We are working today to change tomorrow through digital and print storytelling and look forward to welcoming Conquest Graphics to our family of honored philanthropists.
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