On behalf of the OSF board and staff, I also want to personally thank you for your generous support in 2018, and share with you a few of the highlights that you made possible with your donations. 2018 OSF highlights include the following:
Podcast Downloads/Views: The OSF obtained 6.6 million podcast downloads/views in 2018 (compared with 6.2 million in 2017). This is particularly stunning to me, since Libsyn (our MP3 host) changed the way it counted downloads for 2018, estimating that it would reduce download counts by as much as 30%. In short, we had a phenomenal year of growth in terms of podcast listenership and viewership, and it is amazing to me that for as successful as we have been historically, we are still in “growth mode” and are now reaching hundreds of thousands of people each year. THANK YOU, DEAR DONORS FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE!
YouTube/Facebook Live Views and Watch Time: We dramatically increased our presence on both YouTube and Facebook live in 2018, with 2.4 million video views in 2018, totaling a whopping 39.2 million minutes viewed of Mormon Stories Podcast video content. This represents a 139% increase of Facebook Live video views, and a 27.3% increase in YouTube video views.
Podcast Episodes: 375 OSF podcast episodes were delivered across our active podcasts: Mormon Stories, Mormon Matters , A Thoughtful Faith, and Mormon Mental Health (vs. 343 in 2017). This included Mormon Stories Podcast surpassing the 1,000th episode mark! All of our OSF podcasts delivered amazing content this year. In case you missed them, some of the most popular OSF podcast episodes of 2018 were:
Faith Crisis Support Events: Several successful, life-changing faith crisis/transition workshops were held across the U.S. in 2018, including St. George, Sacramento, Idaho Falls, Houston, Portland, Park City, Boise, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and the Bahamas. We were also extra-grateful to extend our events reach to Switzerland and Sweden in 2018, providing much needed support to our European listeners and supporters.
OSF Sexual Harassment Policy Implemented: We were very happy to hire a professional human resources consultant in 2018 to design and implement a Sexual Harassment policy for the OSF, which can be located here.
Mormon Stories 2018 Billboard Campaign: For the first time in history, we were able to generate enough financial support to launch a billboard campaign along I-15 in downtown Salt Lake City for Mormon Stories Podcast. This campaign resulted in an 18% increase in new visitors to mormonstories.org over the previous year (same time period), and my web administrator attributes this increase largely to the successful billboard campaign. So thank you!
Media Recognition: We were thrilled to have our work featured in the HBO Documentary “Believer,” which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2018.
Staff and Board Changes:
We were saddened to lose OSF staff members Amy Grubbs, Tim Coray, and Sharon Price in 2018. We are incredibly grateful for their contributions to the OSF in 2018. Additional details about the restructuring can be found here.
We are also deeply grateful to Lee Stowell, Roger McOmber, and Craig Woodfield who transitioned off of the OSF Board this year after several years of dedicated service. We are incredibly thankful for all they have done to make the OSF what it is today.
Current OSF board members are as follows: Jeremy Macdonald, Kim Turner, Nadine Hansen, and Steve Holbrook, with Craig Woodfield remaining advisor to the board as head of the Finance Committee. For any board questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We remain deeply grateful to OSF Staff member Cody Layton for his continued support as podcast producer (video/audio production) for Mormon Stories Podcast. Cody does amazing work.
2019 Initiatives: As always, we are super excited for what lies ahead. In addition to many new OSF podcast episodes in 2019, we are excited to announce the following:
Examining Mormon Truth Claims Initiative: Recently, a set of essays were donated to the Mormon Stories web site to provide text-based historical information regarding central Mormon truth claims. These essays were designed to tell the story of various Mormon Truth Claims in a way that many hoped the LDS Church’s “Gospel Topics Essays” would have. Some of the topics covered in this project include:
Expanded Billboard Campaign: The monthly cost for running a billboard in its current location is $5,800/month. We have already raised $21,420 for this initiative in 2019 (which will carry us at least through March, 2019), and are hoping to raise the remainder to allow this campaign to continue for the full year. If you are interested in donating to this project, you can do so here. Please know that 100% of donations to the billboard campaign will go directly to fund the billboards.
In conclusion, we want to thank you so sincerely for all you have done to help us fulfill the OSF mission: “To promote understanding, healing, growth, and community for people experiencing or impacted by religious transition.” We continue to consider this work to be sacred.
I would love to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a phone chat with as many of you as I can in 2019 to thank you for your ongoing support – so please reach out if and when you have time and/or are in the Salt Lake City area. Also, if you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or suggestions for me, our podcasts, or for the OSF, I hope that you will not hesitate to reach out at: email@example.com. There is little that I love more professionally than interacting with you, our amazing donors.
We look forward to a fantastic 2019 and beyond. Please stay tuned for more good things!