Fund Drive FAQ


Q: Why does LINGUIST List need a Fund Drive?

The LINGUIST List is an academic service organization, run by linguistics students and faculty, supported primarily by your donations. To fund the students who run the website, mailing list, social media pages, edit the mailing list, answer the phone, and work on our infrastructure projects, we organize an annual Fund Drive.

You are familiar with the basic idea of a Fund Drive -- It is a charity telethon hosted by a B-list celebrity. It is the big banner across the top of Wikipedia. Here at LINGUIST List, we try to put the Fun in Fund Drive (we hear you groaning, but bear with us). We hope you will enjoy the amusements we have devised for you, and we hope you will take the time to donate.


Q: What are the funds used for?

They are used to fund students, the editing and core operations of the LINGUIST List. The students edit and distribute your announcements to the listserv and website, assist in the development of new services for subscribers, and help maintain the day-to-day operations of the LINGUIST List.


Q: Doesn't LINGUIST List get a lot of money from research grants or funding institutions?

LINGUIST List is not a research project and is not as such funded by any research funding agency. It is sustained thanks to the support of its hosting institution; it funds its activities and operations through its basic revenue as well as financial support from donors like you.

Many students working for LINGUIST List are involved in research projects and grant related activities at the institute or in the unit that runs LINGUIST List. They can receive partial support from these and other sources. These research projects have assigned funds for designated tasks and activities, which cannot be used to fund pure LINGUIST List activities that are related to the list server, the website, or social media pages.


Q: Is LINGUIST List not supported by its host university?

LINGUIST List is hosted at Indiana University (IU) in the Department of Linguistics. IU provides space for the LINGUIST List to operate as well as full support for 2 and partial support for another 2 graduate assistants (GAs). It also provides the salary for two faculty members, who manage the LINGUIST List operations at IU. But LINGUIST List still has to pay its bills (including, but not limited to: computers and server hosting, postage, telephone, printing and copying), programmer salaries, and the rest of the student payroll.

Operating LINGUIST List involves many different tasks. Just editing user submissions alone requires at least 6 GAs working 20 hours a week, in addition to one full-time programmer for the maintenance of the servers, site, and technology, and the two managing faculty members. This is the minimum operational personnel to maintain the status quo, which doesn't allow for improvements and new developments of the technologies and services.

The LINGUIST List pays for its web and list servers and the related network traffic entirely on its own. The LINGUIST List hosts not only its own websites and lists, but also many other websites and lists for specialized linguistic sub-disciplines and organizations.


Q: Does it really take $70,000 a year to run LINGUIST List?

It takes much more than that. As you know, the money donated during Fund Drive is used to fund the students who edit the mailing list, social media, and website, and to cover some of the costs for programmers and operations. Here is a brief overview:

During any given semester, LINGUIST List might employ around 10 graduate assistants (GAs) (although this semester, there are only 5 GAs, and operations are relying more heavily on volunteers, with the current faculty working overtime to cope with the most essential operational tasks). To fund one in-state GA for one semester costs roughly $18,000. So during any given year, taking just the minimum of 6 GAs, it takes more than $216,000 per year. With the support from Indiana University we are still left with costs of approx. $140,000 per year for GAs only.

While GAs are the majority of the LINGUIST List staff, this calculation does not even cover the handful of other people who make LINGUIST List possible, for example our programmers and managers, and it does not cover basic office supplies like staplers or printer paper. The money raised during Fund Drive does not cover all of the expenses, but it's a crucial piece of the LINGUIST List funding equation.


Q: Where else does LINGUIST List funding come from?

About 50% of the LINGUIST List funding comes from the jobs and publication announcements that we post.

A tiny part (<1%) comes from the LINGUIST List Amazon store and advertisements on the site. This makes, on average, about $400 per month from both of these revenue sources combined. This is not enough to support one student for one semester. These funds can be used to upgrade student computers periodically, or other technologies.

The rest comes from you, the generous LINGUIST List supporters. Your donations are crucial to the continued operations of LINGUIST List; without you, it would not exist.

You can support LINGUIST List by shopping from Amazon using the LINGUIST List Amazon Store. To visit the Amazon Store, click on one of the following referral links to the store in the country that best suits you:


Q: Why should I support LINGUIST List?

The LINGUIST List is a unique service in the linguistic discipline. It provides a journal-like editing service:

There is a human factor behind LINGUIST List that goes beyond the pure posting on a list and moderated approval of submissions. The editorial process is important:

The LINGUIST List Team works hard to ensure that linguists everywhere have access to important information about the field. LINGUIST keeps you informed about conferences, jobs, publications, academic programs, and much more. All of these resources are provided completely free to the readers and the general public.

LINGUIST List will never charge you to access the information provided via its mailing lists, website, and social media pages. But, it costs a lot to provide this information.

We also take pride in the fact that this is all done by people who are linguists like you: even our programmer has a linguistics degree. We have a unique ability to understand the needs of academic linguists, and a mission -- in fact, a passion -- to support the discipline. LINGUIST List is by linguists, for linguists, supported by linguists.

If you have ever benefited from LINGUIST List, please consider making a donation to help us keep it up and running.