NewsMatch Raises $7.6 Million for Nonprofit News Organizations in 2018
Feb. 12, 2019
Credit (clockwise from top left): Oklahoma Watch, PublicSource, ProPublica Illinois, Texas Observer
Online matching-gifts campaign sets record for individual giving to nonprofit newsrooms and engages new donors to invest in high-quality journalism
Washington, D.C.: NewsMatch raised $7.6 million from individual donors and a coalition of major funders for nonprofit news organizations in two months at the end of 2018. During the largest-ever grassroots fundraising campaign to support local news, over 240,000 people gave to 154 newsrooms between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. More than 50,000 new donors supported a nonprofit newsroom for the first time.
NewsMatch is a national campaign that doubles donations at the end of the year and provides expert training, individualized coaching and an everything-included year-end fundraising campaign to newsrooms to foster stronger, more sustainable local news and investigative journalism.
In 2018, the campaign saw a 58 percent jump in total dollars raised from 2017. This momentum was also seen in other areas:
- Nonprofit news organizations are getting more successful at year-end fundraising. The average NewsMatch newsroom raised 11 percent more during the campaign in 2018 vs 2017;
- Donors are embracing giving to nonprofit news. Individuals gave more than $116 million to nonprofit news from January to December last year, a 50 percent increase over 2017.
- Small and medium-sized newsrooms saw the biggest growth in year-end support, with 30-plus percent increases in individual donors, donations, and dollars raised during NewsMatch; and
- NewsMatch was a platform for local philanthropy. Participants secured more than $675,000 in additional matching commitments from major donors and foundations during the campaign.
Participating newsrooms represent 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with two-thirds focused on state or local journalism. Nearly one-third were participating in NewsMatch for the first time.
Increasing the capacity of nonprofit news organizations
Since 2016, NewsMatch has helped participating newsrooms raise more than $14.8 million from local communities and partner foundations.
Working with the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub, two organizations helping build more sustainable models for journalism in the U.S., NewsMatch is pioneering new approaches to supporting and strengthening local news and investigative reporting.
“In an environment where news faces growing threats, these results are a bright spot, showing how individuals from coast to coast are committed to supporting quality news.” said Sue Cross, Executive Director and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News.
“The success of this year’s NewsMatch campaign speaks to the growing sophistication of nonprofit news organizations who have cultivated the trust of their communities,” said Christina Shih, VP of Business Development at the News Revenue Hub, which offered hundreds of hours of training and hands-on support to NewsMatch participants both before and during the campaign.
Galvanizing foundation and corporate support for NewsMatch
NewsMatch was launched in 2016 by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It has since expanded to include additional support from foundations and corporations including Democracy Fund, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, the Colorado Media Project, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable. The Miami Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for the fund.
NewsMatch’s success underscores the rise of nonprofit news, which has faced sustainability challenges. Participating news organizations have helped move the needle on pressing local issues from coastal restoration in New Orleans to uncovering pattern of abuses within New Mexico's foster care system.
“A decade ago, nonprofit news was an emerging niche in the media ecosystem, clouded with uncertainty around sustainability” said Bob Ross, Chairman and CEO of Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. “The outstanding support from individuals and foundations through NewsMatch exemplifies the evolution from uncertainty to enthusiasm for nonprofit news and investigative reporting in communities across the country.”
“Nonprofit journalism has been a driving force for good in our communities and our democracy, and NewsMatch is making it easier than ever for people to stand up for the news and information they need,” said Josh Stearns, Program Director at Democracy Fund. “The health of American journalism is central to the health of our democracy.”
“We are thrilled that more and more people understand the value and importance of supporting journalism, and, in particular, the growing field of local and nonprofit news. These organizations produce terrific stories that hold the powerful accountable and connect people with their communities and each other. It’s clear that people are taking notice and stepping up to help sustain them,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.
“It is so important to us to support this critical segment of the news ecosystem, and to help nonprofit news organizations find a path to sustainability,” said Anne Kornblut, Director of New Initiatives, News Partnerships, Facebook. “We’re honored to partner with others who believe in this work as much as we do.”
NewsMatch has engaged Third Plateau, a social impact strategy firm, as an evaluation partner. A full evaluation of the program will be made available to the public this spring. NewsMatch is currently working with foundations and corporations to build the 2019 fund and invites potential partners to contact Democracy Fund’s Josh Stearns at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Senior Associate for Communications, Democracy Fund
About Democracy Fund:
Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011, Democracy Fund has invested more than $100 million in support of effective governance, modern elections, and a vibrant public square. For more, visit democracyfund.org.
About the Facebook Journalism Project:
The Facebook Journalism Project was created in January 2017 to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. FJP is dedicated to ensuring high quality journalism thrives by delivering value through new products, partnerships with the news industry and programs. FJP works in three ways: collaborative development of new products; providing tools and trainings for journalists; and providing tools and trainings for people.
About the Gates Family Foundation:
The Gates Family Foundation is a place-based philanthropy dedicated since 1946 to advancing long-term quality of life in Colorado, through support for educational equity, vibrant and sustainable communities, and stewardship of the state’s extraordinary natural resources. The Foundation has supported public and independent media for decades, especially as vital issues such as public education, rural issues, and natural resources have faced decreasing media coverage from commercial outlets. Gates also provides underwriting support for the Colorado Media Project, which aims to strengthen and accelerate sustainable, civic-minded journalism that meets the information needs of Coloradans in the digital age.
About the Institute for Nonprofit News:
The Institute for Nonprofit News is a network of more than 200 nonprofit, nonpartisan news media, together strengthening the sources of trusted information for thousands of diverse communities. INN was founded in 2009 to foster a new collective of newsrooms serving the public interest. Today it functions as an innovation network, helping members develop new ways to support journalism and engage communities, providing business, technology and leadership support and a framework for collaboration. INN’s work helps newsrooms bring investigative and civic news to more people, hold the powerful accountable and strengthen democracy.
About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation:
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago. More information is available at macfound.org.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
About the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation:
The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation supports organizations that advance social justice by empowering world-changing work in investigative journalism, arts and culture, and documentary film.
About the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation:
Founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation’s mission is to invest in the future of journalism by building the ethics, skills and opportunities needed to advance principled, probing news and information. For more, visit journalismfoundation.org.
About The Miami Foundation:
Since 1967, The Miami Foundation has used civic leadership, community investment and philanthropy to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Greater Miami home. We partner with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 1,000 personalized, philanthropic Funds. Thanks to them, we have awarded over $250 million in grants and currently manage more than $300 million in assets to build a better Miami. As the Foundation marks our 50th anniversary, we are celebrating great Miamians who have championed what matters to them, encouraging all residents to share their Miami stories and unite around the causes they care about. For more, visit miamifoundation.org.
About the News Revenue Hub:
The News Revenue Hub helps news organizations build the trust and financial support of their audiences by providing customized technology tools and proven strategies to create and sustain successful digital membership programs. For more, visit fundjournalism.org.
About the Rita Allen Foundation:
The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.
About the Wyncote Foundation:
The Wyncote Foundation, based in Philadelphia, was founded in 2009 with funds from the Otto and Phoebe Haas Charitable Trusts, at the direction of John C. Haas. Its mission is to support efforts that strengthen and enrich culture, community and the natural environment. Wyncote’s Public Media & Journalism program works to further a thriving public media ecosystem that is vital to animating and sustaining democracy’s public sphere. Learn more at wyncotefoundation.org/public-media-journalism.