Illuminating the 10% Theory

National Co-Convener
Movement to Bring Back Black (BBB)
NATIONALIST Black Leadership Coalition (NBLC)

My “ten percent (10%) theory” contends that we BBB activists and NBLC organizers should be able to attract ten percent of the total Black population reportedly in America to join our organization (NBLC). It therefore follows that if there are in the vicinity of forty million (40 million) of us in America, we should be able to garner four million of that total into the NBLC. I contended further that at least one-half of whatever number of members we have should be “responders,” meaning they would respond when called upon to take a particular course of action on behalf of the organization, its members, and other interests. This responsiveness is key to the success of any organization because without it nothing of substance gets done.

It appeared that nearly everyone thought I must have taken leave of my senses or was on the verge of senility for even thinking on such a scale, much less proposing that Black folks could pull off something that big. But if ten percent is unrealistic, someone please tell me why it is not realistic, and what is or would be a “realistic” figure for us to pursue? One thing is for certain, no one has been foolish enough to claim the 4 million would be an unprecedented number, because after all, there is a precedent: Marcus Garvey organized between four (4) and sixteen (16) million members back in the 1920’s, and he did it without benefit of any of the technology available to us today! Furthermore, there were far fewer than 40 million Black folks in America at that time in history, so his batting average far exceeded my paltry 10%!!

Even though I have espoused the 10% theory, I have actually done most of my financial projections for our organization using only a five percent (5%) projection, or two (2) million members, and one million responders. I anticipated that the 4 million figure would scare hell out of most of y’all, so I had a “fall-back” position calling for half the bigger number. In the e-mail I sent out on February 16, 2007 I attempted to illustrate why 2 million members was achievable, and how we could go about getting them on board. I referred to the 20 million Black folks who Roger Madison estimated were attuned to the Internet, 10% of which number alone would give us our two million members.

On August 11, 2007, I sent out another e-mail message with the subject: “The Numbers Game,” in which I illustrated how much money we could expect to gain from membership dues alone. My formula projected annual revenue of $126,600,000.00. Now folks knew for certain I was crazy! In fact, their reaction had less to do with my mental state than it did the extremely low expectations even Nationalists have of Black people. We talk about Blacks being a “nation-within-a-nation” rhetorically, but no nation can operate without nation-scale money! And we don’t believe our people can or will give up any substantial amount of money for a Black cause. I have pointed out that the Black Church defies this defeatist allegation. The amount of money Black folks give to their preachers and churches (in that order) every week is legendary! Except for Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad, Nationalists have failed to take advantage of this proven method of raising money for organizational purposes.

I still believe we can and should focus on recruiting two million members and bringing in annual membership revenue of $126 million, but since those lofty numbers scare the pants off my “troops,” I will reluctantly make a strategic withdrawal from those figures, and offer a scaled-down set of numbers which the rest of you can more readily warm up to.

I have taken a modified version of the organization chart I proposed early last year and applied some numbers to it. The result is a budget outline consisting of the following:

Personnel

Low                            Median                       High

Council Of Elders                   28,000                         n/a                               n/a

Advisory Council                    12,000                         n/a                               n/a

Spiritual Life & Assis.           60,000                         78,000                         96,000

Chairman & CEO                   52,000                         n/a                               n/a

Chief Financial Officer           60,000                         78,000                         96,000

Chief Legal Officer                60,000                         78,000                         96,000

Chief Operating Officer         72,000                         96,000                         120,000

Mgmt. Info. Sys. Mgr.            48,000                         60,000                         72,000

Administrative Ass’t.              36,000                         48,000                         60,000

Division Director (10)             600,000                       780,000                       960,000

Executive Secretary                36,000                         48,000                         60,000

Clerk-Typist                            24,000                         30,000                         36,000

Total Salaries:              1,088,000                    1,296,000                    1,596,000

Fringe Benefits @ 20%          217,600                       259,200                       319,200

Total Personnel Costs             1,305,600                    1,555,200                    1,915,200

 

Space Costs

12,000 Square Feet @ $15 per                       180,000

Consumable Supplies

$1,000 per employee station X 20                  20,000

Mileage & Travel

$1,800 per employee station X 20                  36,000

Insurance & Bonding

$2,000 per month X 12                                   24,000

Rent/Lease/Purchase of Equipment

$3,800 per employee station X 20                  76,000

Telephone & Internet Service

$4,000 per month X 12                                   48,000

Conferences & Training

$1,000 per year X 20 employees                     20,000

Office Furnishings

$3,000 per employee station X 20                  60,000

Computer Software

$2,000 per month X 12                                   24,000

Consultants & Contracted Services

$4,000 per month X 12                                   48,000

Advertising, Marketing & Promotion

$10,000 per month X 12                                 120,000

Total Non-Personnel Costs                                                   656,000
Total Personnel and Non-Personnel Costs :
Low                1,961,600             Median           2,211,200                  High                2,571,200

 

I will use the “high” figure for further discussion, because we can always scale it back if circumstances make doing so necessary. In my “Numbers Game” e-mail I used a formula showing the following breakdown of each membership category’s contribution to the proposed budget:

DECLARED Members                                  50%

PARTICIPATING Members                         40%

COMMITTED Members                                10%

Using this formula, fifty percent (50%) of the proposed $2,571,200 annual budget would come from dues paid by “Declared” members: $1,285,600 divided by $12.00 equals 107,133 members in this base category to generate the amount needed.

Forty percent (40%) of the total budget would come from dues paid by “Participating” members: $1,028,480 divided by $52.00 equals 19,778 members in this category to give us the proposed amount of revenue.

Ten percent (10%) of the total budget would come from dues paid by “Committed” members: $257,120 divided by $365.00 equals 704 members in this category to produce their proportionate share of the revenues needed.

Using this schematic then, we need only 127,615 total members comprising the foregoing percentages by membership category to generate revenues sufficient to fund operation of our organization! 127,615 is only six percent (6%) of the two million number I would prefer to work with; and only three percent (3%) of the four million we should pursue if we embraced my “ten percent theory.” Is this enough of a concession for you all? What excuses do we have left? Any number above the 127,615 would be “gravy,” and would produce a budget surplus! Imagine that, a Black Nationalist organization that not only has funds to operate an organization nation-wide; employ our people and provide them the wherewithal to feed, clothe, and shelter their families; begin to solve the problems which deny our people the ability to enjoy a better quality of life; and have some money left over at the end of the fiscal year!!! Try that on for size, y’all!

By the way, I still want us to set a target of two million members, but it’s good to know that if we fail to reach that lofty plateau, we will still ‘land’ in a quite comfortable place!!

Membership recruitment and chapter development must be the all-consuming focus of our organizational efforts for the balance of this calendar year! The “Campaign to Establish a President Of Black America” (POBA) is the tool we can use to recruit those members and start NBLC chapters around the country. An aggressive, well-thought-out campaign to make use of existing and emerging computer and Internet technologies is the means by which we can market our POBA campaign, and make the BBB and NBLC “household names” among our conscious Black constituent base! There’s really nothing to it, but to DO it!!!

Y’all with me?                                     

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