» Fundraising Covering the Business of Nonprofit and Independent News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:08:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mobile Fundraising: Why aren’t we there yet? Thu, 14 Aug 2014 22:32:58 +0000 It is the year 2014 and mobile technology is already advancing many aspects of journalism including crowdsourcing, geotagging and augmented reality.

For the nonprofits that rely on donations, however, mobile fundraising presents an intriguing opportunity toward sustainability. But how quickly is mobile technology moving into the realm of fundraising?

That’s a question Richard McPherson tackles in this latest piece titled ‘Mobile Fundraising: Why aren’t we there yet?‘.

McPherson, a San Francisco-based fundraising consultant, looks at the challenges of mobile fundraising, why it’s so hard to do, and how it has evolved. For any organization that has considered doing mobile fundraising, he offers this insight:

  • Learn the facts and issues. Your schedule should include at least a quarterly webinar on mobile giving from Heather Mansfield, Darian Rodriguez Heyman, or from one of the mobile campaign companies listed here. Sure they want you to buy their services, but they have the best, most current case studies, and in my experience genuinely want to help you learn.
  • Learn about the tools. A simple search on “mobile devices” on the NTEN site yields data specific tools for mobile optimizing tools for content and secure giving. Go beyond the nonprofit community to publications like GeekWire and Plus, all the credit card sites have clear explanations and current status updates on their wallets. 
  • Be a mobile donor and shopper. Sign up for mobile alerts, and join or give to a charity you like. The Heifer Project is everyone’s favorite example of most digital fundraising, and mobile is no exception. Join any walk-a-thon or other peer-to-peer event offer mobile engagement and giving. Or shop around Kickstarter for projects offering mobile giving. And use a digital wallet at the ball game, coffee shop or department store and compare the experience to giving to your organization.

The full post was originally published on NTEN.

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Types of Revenue for Nonprofit Newsrooms Thu, 23 May 2013 14:45:27 +0000 0 Michael Maness on Knight Foundation’s Priorities and Ensuring Impact Wed, 20 Feb 2013 12:33:51 +0000 In a new Nieman Lab podcast, Joshua Benton interviews Knight Foundation’s Michael Maness. The interview is a must-listen for anyone in the foundation-funded journalism space. From Benton:

If you pay much attention to the journalism innovation world — or if you’ve been reading this site for long — you know that Knight is the biggest of big dogs in the space. They give more than $30 million a year to a mixture of startups, news organizations, coding projects, and other ventures they believe will help support the information needs of communities. Name a prominent nonprofit news outlet or journalism school — or, increasingly, a news-related open source project — and there’s a pretty good shot Knight has either funded it or been asked to fund it. (That includes — disclosure! — this website, which has received Knight funding.) You could get a pretty good idea of the journalism-innovation zeitgeist just by looking at who Knight is funding at any given moment.

Read the full article on Nieman Lab, or download the podcast directly.

Via Nieman Lab.

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Foundation Resources for Nonprofit News Organizations Fri, 25 Jan 2013 15:20:39 +0000 Foundation funding provides vital support to nonprofit news publishers. This week, INN held the first conference call for members to discuss best practices and strategies for seeking foundation funding. Members who would like to join the next funding discussion should email Shelby Ilan.

The calls are led by INN’s development consultant Irma Simpson, a former manager of the Gannett Foundation with years of expertise from the foundation’s perspective. A large majority of private foundations and community foundations do not list journalism or media as a program area, according to Simpson. She said nonprofit publishers should be proactive in making the case for journalism to non-media funders. Funders’ missions often align with nonprofit newsrooms on issues including education, environment, consumer protection and more.

Diminished coverage by mainstream media — on local issues and of long-form investigative reporting — demonstrates a gap in coverage. Nonprofit news organizations should highlight their ability to fill that gap and serve their community. “Journalism and Media Grantmaking: Five Things You Need To Know,” by Eric Newton and Michelle McClellan, has some food for thought on approaching non-media funders. Although the publication targets the funding community, it’s a great resource for media organizations for making the case for why they should be funded. The booklet gives grantseekers perspective on how to present their case for support. One tidbit: In 2008, 41 percent of community and private foundations said local news was drying up, according to a Knight Foundation survey. By 2010, that had increased to 75 percent.

The Knight Foundation has a number of valuable publications on their website, and Simpson said publishers should take advantage of them. She also said organizations with a community foundation in their city should reach out directly, if they haven’t already.

Simpson put together this list of resources for nonprofits:
Primo site for resources, foundation search database, philanthropy news, RFPs (database requires subscription, can be done month-to-month.)
This is the Foundation Center’s learning community for nonprofits.
List of all nonprofits, including foundations, with 990s. More resources are available with a premium membership.
The Grantsmanship Center has a yearly subscription option, or proposal writing guides are available for a small fee. There are also free state-by-state lists of foundations.
Tools, blogs, ideas, and an interactive community.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals has resources, philanthropy news.
Network for Good’s resource center has hundreds of topics on fundraising, website dveelopment, social marketing, event planning, and free webinars.
Free guides for grant writing, including sample grants and templates.
A must for nonprofit and independent newsrooms. Aggregates and curates knowledge, tactics, questions, resources, reviews, ideas, cautions, use case and community.
Excellent publications on resources for nonprofit journalism.

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Funding Opportunities for News Ventures Mon, 12 Nov 2012 04:17:13 +0000 Nowadays, nonprofit news organizations and news ventures must seek a variety of funding sources in order to be sustainable. Funding sources can include sponsorships, subscriptions, donations and grants. Knowing how to find these funding sources is the first step.

There are several foundations that offer grants for a variety of journalistic projects and initiatives. The Hub has compiled the following list of funding sources to help you get started. Note: Some of these grants have application deadlines this week – don’t miss the opportunity to apply!

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism
The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation seeks to fund projects that fit within four key areas: professional development, investigative reporting, youth education and special opportunities.
Deadline: Letters of inquiry due Nov. 15 and May 15 yearly
Funding: Depends on the project.

Fund for Environmental Journalism
The Fund for Environmental Journalism, created by the Society of Environmental Journalists, seeks to fund and support environmental journalism projects and entrepreneurial ventures.
Deadline: November 15 (winter application); July 15 (summer application)
Funding: Up to $3,500

McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, in partnership with The Poynter Institute, is currently accepting applications for a Specialized Reporting Institute (SRI) in 2013. The SRI allows grantees to bring together journalists, news organizations, and educators to receive training and education over a two-day timeframe on specific subject area (e.g. covering war/conflict, covering youth violence, elections, etc.).
Deadline: November 16
Funding: SRI hosts can receive between $30,000-$50,000

New Media Women Entrepreneurs
J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and the McCormick Foundation are funding four women-led news ventures. Funding is given to projects in early beta.
Deadline: January 23, 2013
Funding: $12,000 for first year; additional $2,000 provided in second year if the entrepreneur can raise $2,000 of their own

Additional lists for funding opportunities:

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Innovative Membership Program Launches at Voice of San Diego Mon, 14 May 2012 00:10:47 +0000 This week the Hub takes an inside look at the innovative membership program the Voice of San Diego launched in April (previously launched in a different form in 2011) called Raise Your Voice.

It’s a unique model that raises community engagement to a new level while helping to bring in a different revenue source to the news organization.

“The more we involve people in what we are trying to achieve, the more clear we are about the struggles we have, the more they will be engaged in helping us solve those struggles,” Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego said.

The program is now entering its fifth week. According to Mary Walter-Brown, vice president of advancement and engagement at Voice of San Diego, as of May 10, they had 1,172 members signed up. They aim to reach 5,000 members by the end of the year.

The membership program provides the opportunity for the community to donate money to the organization based on four different levels: Conversation Starter ($35-$100), Inside Voice ($101-$500), Speaking Up ($501-$1,000) and Loud & Clear ($1,001-$5,000). They also have a $20 level for students or those with financial hardships.

Each level provides a different set of benefits ranging from Member Reports to invitations to events such as Member Coffees or Brews & News. Depending on the level, members can also receive a one-year subscription to their new print on-demand magazine, Voice of San Diego Monthly. The Voice of San Diego Monthly magazine is the first print product created by the news organization with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Q&A with the Hub

The Hub spoke with Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego and Mary Walter-Brown, vice president of advancement and engagement, to find out more information about how this program was created and where they will take it next.

Amy: When was the official launch of the Raise Your Voice membership program in 2011?

Scott: “We have always had something called members but that was ill defined. I wrote a column about a year ago about how we were going to start professionalizing our membership system.”

In October 2011, Lewis hired former NBC-San Diego Producer, Mary Walter-Brown to become the vice president of advancement and engagement at Voice of San Diego.

“She immediately began an investigation into our community, our branding, our messaging, our membership system and our revenue programs with the goal being to bring us into a more sophisticated system that we were doing things right and we were communicating who we were better and doing everything possible to get memberships, donations and to formalize all of our revenue programs,” Lewis said.

The Voice of San Diego had a two-prong research strategy over a four-month timeframe: they examined the national and local media landscape, and conducted online surveys and focus groups with their readers to find out their perceptions of the news organization and their news consumption habits.

“She (Walter-Brown) discovered that people didn’t even know we were a nonprofit, and people didn’t even know that we had a website,” Lewis said. “Our website was unclear about how they (the public) could support us. Our whole system was not clear about vital information about our programs and what we do and how we do it. We went through that process and then started to build a separation statement of why we are valuable, what our service is, and how we are going to go about communicating that to the public.”

Amy: What is your most popular membership level so far?

Scott: “Overwhelmingly people are giving at the $101 level. It’s cool. We are getting a lot of people who are asking us questions – am I member? I thought I was a member. It shows it is working. It shows the program is being well communicated.”

Amy: How does this model differ from other membership programs?

Scott: “It’s a little bit more aggressive than traditional public radio’s definition of members. Except at the higher levels – they (public radio) have rarely outlined the kind of events and benefits that come from being a member other than the producer’s club level. I think our model is similar to a museum or zoo in the sense that it’s a more formal relationship with members. It’s something I have been working on for years where membership is a mission-based curriculum as opposed to benefits being ancillary or not associated to the membership like a tote bag.”

Amy: Do you think more news organizations need to start implementing community engagement models like this?

Scott: “I don’t know if it’s this direction or something like it. It drives me nuts that all of these big organizations are struggling and getting rid of staff and shutting down –they have never given their community a chance to step up and support them and make sure they are strong. If you are a big media company and you are starting to see the precipice closer, if you are as much a value to that community as you say you are – you owe it to the community to ask them in whatever form – to make sure you are strong. It drives me nuts when they say people won’t pay for journalism when they never have even asked.”

Amy: If another news organization wants to implement a similar model/initiative, what advice would you give?

Scott: “You need to start working with consultants and people like Mary – who can analyze their market for them, help them hone their messages for them, help them become more sophisticated with it all. It’s not something where you can just put out emails for money – you have to manage members like businesses manage clients – by keeping track of them, cultivating them. This is not stuff that a journalist can do while they are doing what they want to do with journalism. It needs to be treated like a professional effort.”

According to Walter-Brown, the news organization should start day one with being clear in what they need from the public and what they can provide them.

“Condition people from the beginning,” Walter-Brown said. “As the public becomes fans of your work, you need to see how they can become involved. Be very clear who you are and what your expectations are.”

News organizations may need to take a step away from the journalistic mindset to gain new insight to an old problem.

“Every museum, theater company all have something similar – if we are going to live along side them, we need to do what they do well – market, brand ourselves well, Lewis said. “Treat our members well. Give them benefits and experiences. Keep track of them and make sure they renew annually.”

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