Smile Politely

We’re asking for a little help from our friends

Logo with a red semicircle against a black background.

For almost 16 years, we’ve been publishing your work in an effort to better inform one another about what is happening here in Champaign-Urbana. 

We’ve evolved quite a bit in that time. We’ve honed our focus, and added a little polish. Technology has allowed us to improve our look and our photos. Just take a gander at these previous iterations of SP:


Now, with a fresh new website, and an ever-expanding readership, we’re inspired to see how we can continue to grow this magazine. So, we are embarking on our very first donation drive.

From Publisher and Founder Seth Fein:

Smile Politely is a hyper local community magazine, and inside of that idea, there’s both a freedom and a hindrance: 

On one hand, we have the flexibility to allow all people, no matter their experience or expertise, to write for us.

On the other hand, we can’t sell advertising to just anyone, or to huge corporations, because it simply dissolves the idea of what we founded the magazine upon. 

We work with many advertising partners here in Champaign-Urbana and inside of the University of Illinois, and even in Bloomington-Normal. We are proud of those relationships, and will always be transparent with our readership about who advertises with us, because we are, in a word, unashamed. 

But the limits to what we can bring in financially are real. We are seeking to expand upon what we’ve built, and in order to do that, we are going to have to spend more money and that is something we want to do. 

Here’s where you come in. 

For the first time in our history, we are opening up the opportunity for our readership to contribute to our operation on a continual basis. We are also unashamed by this. 

Our goal is to always offer a reward for the gift. Thanks to our friends at Maize, we will offer anyone who gifts us $100 (whether all at once or through monthly increments) a $50 gift card to eat those sweet tacos and drink those amazing margaritas in exchange. This deal will be available now through September 15th.

It’s a win-win as far as we are concerned. We get the benefit of a more robust budget to spend on writers and editors, and you get the warm and fuzzies for pitching in, and you also get tacos and tacos. 

So maybe it’s actually a win-win-win? You get the idea. 

Can’t swing that much? That’s okay. Anyone who donates any amount will still get a tiny bit of SP swag, and our heartfelt thanks.

We’d love your support, truly and graciously. 

If you choose to donate, you can do that below, or go to our donation page. Have questions? We’re happy to answer them. You can reach out to [email protected].

More Articles