Why We Love Our POCA Tech Sustainers (and Answers to Other Important Questions)

How many monthly sustainers does POCA Tech have?

At this moment, 111.

And why do we love them?

Actually, to answer this question I’m going to suggest that you watch this video which is actually one of our POCA Tech students, Lauren, talking about why she loves POCA Tech. Go on, go watch it! It’s only 1:37 long. You’ll be glad you did.

The reasons that Lauren gives for loving POCA Tech are the same reasons that we love our sustainers: connection, community, personal relationships. As far as we know, our sustainers program is unique among acupuncture schools. I spent last weekend checking out all 54 websites of the acupuncture schools that belong to CCAOM.  (Don’t ask.) We’ve got the only website with a scrolling list of people who make monthly contributions and get a newsletter with “baby pictures of the revolution”.

The office staff at POCA Tech works hard to find funding streams for the school: Amazon Smile, Bluefin, Fred Meyer Rewards, and of course foundation grants. The thing about all of those, though, is that they’re not people. We’re grateful for all the revenue we receive from them but the feeling is completely different. With our sustainers, it’s like we make a personal connection with them every month and we love that. We know that $5 a month is potentially a lot,  and if people are giving it means that they are personally invested in POCA Tech.  I love writing them letters and I love sending them videos that Jade made and edited. POCA Tech truly depends on a lot of people and the sustainers program really makes it feel like a shared creative project. I’ve had lots of interesting experiences in my life but seriously, nothing ever quite like this.

Is the sustainers program a short term or a long term strategy? Will POCA Tech always need sustainers?

POCA Tech has both short term and long term goals/burning desires. Our biggest short term goal/burning desire is to get accredited by ACAOM. Once that one is met, we have another one right behind it in the queue: open another campus. This particular desire is aflame in the hearts of certain New England punks, who are already having meetings about it. We won’t need as much money to open POCA Tech #2 as we did to open POCA Tech #1 (See, such a bargain! We can’t afford not to do it!) but we will need our sustainers. Sustainers can start and stop their monthly contributions at any time, so we welcome anyone who wants to support accreditation or opening a new campus or both.

Will POCA Tech ever raise tuition to the point that it won’t need to fundraise?

This is a tricky question, because there are a lot of variables.  If you’re really intrigued by the variables, you should probably dig into the new Department of Education regulations  about what programs should cost relative to what their graduates can earn. All of us who have started a brand-new clinic know what the risks are. We know the first couple of years can be hard. And the thing is, POCA has a list a mile long of requests for clinics in underserved areas. We’re excited for our POCA Tech graduates to get jobs in existing clinics (and we know that POCA employers will be excited to hire them!) but we can’t forget the part of our mission that has to do with starting new clinics, because our patient members especially are counting on us to do that. Because of that mission, POCA Tech’s budget isn’t the only budget we have to think about when we’re setting the cost of tuition.

Speaking of the POCA Tech budget, can I see it?

Of course. Scroll down to the end of this thread.

How can I become a POCA Tech Sustainer?

Commit to making a recurring donation of $5 or more on our website.

Thank you to every one of our sustainers, from the bottom of POCA Tech's collective heart.

Author: lisafer

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  1. You don’t need me to tell you how smart it is to have a large base of small continuing supporters, but I can add that when the recession began in ’08 several wealthy donors who had been giving annually to the acu skool I was attending had to pull their donations and it had a devastating impact on the financial health of the place. Small and steady really wins the race in so many ways. 🙂

  2. Thanks, Kim, I meant to add that somewhere and totally forgot. It’s just like the model for our clinics: if you have only a handful of people giving you large amounts of money, your cash flow can get VERY uneven and VERY scary because inevitably, life happens and some of those people will come and go. If you have lots of people contributing small amounts, it’s not a crisis when life happens and people come and go. I’m so grateful we have such a big community and so many people want to help. Small and steady, that’s us!

  3. My acu school never got accredited. It limped along thanks to a small board of wealthy people who occasionally had to bank roll the school in order for the teachers to get paid and for the lights to stay on.

    all of these $5 and $10 donations are proving to be Tungsten.

  4. Need any help becoming a sustainer or maintaining your donation? Did your credit card get caught in some of 2014s the huge data breaches – the bank issued you a new card and number, and now you need to update your donation info? Email me at carmend at pocatech dot org