How much money do we need?
This varies from month-to-month. Our expenses every month will be at a minimum, several hundred dollars. There have been times where we have needed to hire special support services, etc., and those things have cost extra money. In a good month we squeak by for under $500.
How do we raise money?
There are presently three ways in which money finds us:
First, advertising. There are banner ads on the site and we receive payment from the advertisers that you see listed. We try to keep the cost of ads reasonable so that our advertisers benefit from the money spent. We are always looking for new advertisers.
Second, donations. For the first several years that TrainBoard was in existence we actually turned down offers of donations. With the advent of the first generation of RailImages (meaning that we started hosting images), a lot more money was needed and we started accepting donations. Most donations were $2 per month. This is still one of the top ways that we raise money. A cup of coffee in most places now costs more than $2. For this small amount of money you can help TrainBoard greatly. All of these $2 monthly donations add up on our end. Several members said that they liked this program but would like to give a little bit more than $2 per month and suggested that we offer a $5 monthly donation - so, we did. We also offer a one-time (recurring and non-recurring) $24 donation which some folks do annually rather than the monthly method. We have, on occasion, received large donations of anywhere up to $1000. Regardless of how one makes a donation, any and every donation is appreciated. We normally receive donations through PayPal but some people don't like PayPal and we do accept checks through the mail as well. We have considered using other online payment systems in addition to PayPal so input is welcome.
Third, affiliate links. We are part of an affiliate program whereby we are paid a small commission for clickouts from this site to other sites (such as eBay). If you click from TrainBoard to eBay (or a number of other sites), and buy something there, we get a few cents. It may not sound like much but $20 or $30 here and there helps a lot.
If we made only $1 annually from every person that uses this site, we would never have to ask anyone for money!
Also, we do not want people who cannot afford to donate to give any money. If you are out of work or retired and on a fixed income, etc., please enjoy the site and do not contribute. There are enough people who can afford to give to keep the site going.
We do offer enhancements for those that donate:
The most popular enhancement is the custom avatar. We have to set the avatar for you but you can provide artwork, ideas, etc., and our graphic artist will work up what you want in a 125 X 125 format and we'll upload your avatar. We have a private forum where this work takex place and we'll let you in while your avatar is being constructed.
On the forums themselves,
- Your private messaging will be enhanced to allow you to store 100 messages.
- You will be able to send messages to up to 5 people at one time.
- Your attachment storage capacity will be unlimited (as long as not abused).
- You will be listed as a Supporter.
- Your username becomes orange, is bolded, and you are marked as a Supporter.
- You will be able to create sub-albums inside your main album.
- Your RailImages capacity will be increased by five times.
- You may request additional space if needed. In some cases we may be able to offer more storage.
- You will be able to BOLD, HIGHLIGHT, and ITALICIZE your listings. This helps draw attention to your listings.
- You will be able to submit a premium listing at no cost.
On TrainBoard Groups,
- You may create and manage up to 3 groups (rather than one)
If you would like to become a supporter during 2012, click here. Keep in mind that if you use PayPal, we do not receive any personal information or your credit card number during the process.