New fund to give $1 million in micro-grants to innovative nonprofit news and public media projects

Investigative News Network to manage new INNovation Fund with Knight Foundation support
(ENCINO, Calif.) Jan. 28, 2014—The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced that it will invest $1 million in a fund to encourage innovation and experimentation in nonprofit news and public media organizations. The INNovation Fund is a partnership between Knight Foundation and the Investigative News Network (INN), a nonprofit collaborative organization made up of more than 90 nonprofit investigative journalism outlets. The Investigative News Network will select the recipients and manage the program. The $1 million will support around 30 projects during the next two years with micro-grants of up to $35,000. Continue Reading

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Fiscally-Sponsored Projects Must File Their Own 990s

All nonprofit organizations are required to file an annual tax return with the IRS: Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 990-N. This annual filing obligation includes organizations that have not yet received a determination letter from the IRS that they are tax-exempt, and it also includes organizations that are fiscally sponsored by INN or other fiscal sponsor. Continue Reading

The Elevator Pitch For Mission-Driven News Nonprofits

You’ve heard this premise before: You’re standing in front of an elevator and, as the doors open, in front of you is the key individual that you’ve tried for months to get on the phone. Once you’re in the elevator you realize you have only 30 to 60 seconds to make the right impression and get him or her to take note. While this scenario may not play itself out quite as dramatically in the real world, as nonprofit news executives we often find ourselves in situations where we have to articulate what we do, why we do it, and why anyone else should care – and we have to do it quickly. There are many articles available to business executives, entrepreneurs and sales professionals with tips on how to deliver the perfect elevator pitch (read here, here and here for a few examples). However, a nonprofit leader has the added complexity of having to articulate the unique qualities and value of his or her mission-driven organization to a wider range of constituents including foundations, corporate underwriters, advertisers and, of course, members of the audience that you serve. Continue Reading

Business Tip: Following Up After Making the Deal

We’ve all had them. The kind of uplifting conversations when everything you say, the other person on the end of the line intuitively understands and in return say the one word you wanted to hear: “Yes!” OK, you’ve nailed the deal. Now what? Too often people negotiating with partners, clients, prospective employees and even their landlords do not take the next three simple steps to insure what has been agreed upon – before the details are lost to vagaries of today’s multi-tasking brain. Continue Reading