We just sent this "slightly awkward" email out to about our whole US supporter list — our first ever fundraising appeal, with a taste of plans for the new year. Didn't get it? Get the next one — sign-up here.

Dear Friends,

When we started 350.org three years ago, we decided we didn’t want to ask for money from our supporters: we wanted all of you involved in action, not writing checks.

And you came through. Came through in such a big way that…now we’re asking you for money, because the opportunities that you’ve created are just too big to pass up.

In the past 14 months together we’ve pulled off the two most widespread days of political action in the planet’s history. We’ve got people in every nation but North Korea on board—you’ve seen the videos (or if somehow you haven’t, look here.)

You’ve become the public face of the climate movement—instead of retreating in the shadow of oil companies and climate deniers, you’ve been making enough noise to be heard. Heck, in November many of you organized on such a giant scale that we had to photograph it from outer space.

And it’s working–112 countries have endorsed the 350 target. But the biggest polluters still refuse to budge — the fossil fuel industry is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure that the rich and powerful countries don't take any action. If we’re going to turn this crisis around, we have immense amounts of work to do.

This year we want to:

  • Put field organizers on the ground around the country and around the world, to take the momentum you’ve built and turn it into real political power.
  • Take on dirty energy and work to shut down old, dangerous, polluting coal plants.
  • Implement a 50-state strategy to hold our politicians accountable to us, not big polluters.
  • Escalate the movement where necessary, exploring more and larger forms of peaceful civil disobedience.
  • Organize grassroots trainings and build online tools that can dramatically scale up the scope and effectiveness of this network.

All these things take resources. We’re careful stewards of our limited funds—most of us (me included) are volunteers, and the young people on staff don’t get paid anywhere near what they deserve. Compared with other parts of the environmental movement (not to mention the oil industry) our resources are minimal. We don’t mind—we had more fun staying at the youth hostel downtown during the Cancun conference than with all the delegates out at the big hotels along the strip. The money we do have we pour into organizing—mostly into finding more young people in more places to lead this fight.

The fact that 350.org is youth-powered may be one reason we’ve been better able to harness the new social media than almost any organization out there. We've won awards for our use of YouTube and the web—and more importantly, we've built active communities on sites like Facebook and Twitter that are growing the potential of this movement.

Anyway—here’s the bottom line: we most of all want you to be involved, to be leading actions and organizing events and shaking up the world. That’s far more important to us than money.

But if you also have any money to spare, we could make real use of it. We know it’s been a tough year, so we’re only asking you to give what you can. It’ll be a tax-deductible donation, and every bit helps.

Your support would be an investment in the future—and a chance to stand in real solidarity with organizers in the poorest and most vulnerable spots on earth. Their goodhearted willingness to work side by side with us, even though they haven’t caused this problem, moves me every day—it’s the most hopeful sign I know.

There’s no guarantee we’re going to win this fight, but we’re definitely going to make it interesting.

Here’s the place to donate: www.350.org/donations

Many thanks,

Bill McKibben

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