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May 14, 2019, 12:24 p.m.
Business Models
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   May 14, 2019

In the last two months of 2018, more than 240,000 people gave money to nonprofit news organizations with help from NewsMatch — and 52,000 of them were donating to a nonprofit news organization for the first time. That’s according to NewsMatch’s annual report, released Tuesday.

In a recent feature about NewsMatch’s work with four news organizations, my colleague Christine Schmidt explained what it does:

NewsMatch started at the Knight Foundation in 2016 as a “call to action for everyone who believes in quality, trustworthy, in-depth journalism and the role nonprofit news organizations play in building strong communities.” But in an area of the industry that now generates nearly $350 million in annual revenue, the effort has also helped train everyone from editors to interns on how to actually fundraise, with guidance from the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub. (NewsMatch participants must also be INN members.)

In its 2018 campaign, NewsMatch helped raise more than $7.6 million in funding for 154 U.S. newsrooms.

Here are some of the changes NewsMatch made for its 2018 campaign:

1. The match period was shortened to two months, instead of three. Condensing the timeframe created more urgency and allowed more time for training and preparation.

2. Small and medium organizations (defined as participants with a budget of $2 million or less) were eligible for bonuses based on meeting any of three goals during the campaign: securing 100 new individual donors; receiving donations from more individual donors in 2018 than in 2017; and raising more dollars year over year. These bonuses rewarded newsrooms who were growing their fundraising capacity.

3. In an effort to better support memberships and sustaining donor programs in 2018, we matched new recurring donations at a full-year value, providing a unique incentive for people to sign up for recurring donations.

4. Donations made by individuals through a small business, family foundation, or donor advised fund were eligible for the match, enabling individuals to give through a diverse set of vehicles.

5. We lowered the total amount we would match to $25,000 per organization to account for the increased number of participants and to maximize the bonuses.

NewsMatch is also doing more to support underserved communities and newsrooms led by people of color. “NewsMatch 2017 only included nine such newsrooms. For NewsMatch 2018, that number increased to 17, and we began to offer more support, training, and resources for those newsrooms,” the report notes.

Ten of the 17 newsrooms had more individual donors in 2018 than 2017, and many of the newsrooms who earned bonuses in 2018 were focused on underserved communities or led by people of color. However, these newsrooms raised less money than many of their counterparts, and these overall results reinforce what we know: these critical news outlets face large structural challenges. NewsMatch is only a partial answer, but we have to continue to improve access and support full participation for these outlets in particular. We must do more to engage, listen, and serve these newsrooms, especially in light of longstanding inequities in how philanthropy has funded these organizations and communities historically.

You can read the full thing here.

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