Standing up for journalism that strengthens democracy
By Jason Alcorn, NewsMatch Project Manager, and Elizabeth Tilis, NewsMatch Communications Consultant
October 29, 2018
Above: Institute for Nonprofit News's Executive Director and CEO Sue Cross addresses NewsMatch participants and funders at the 2018 at The Communications Networks' annual conference in San Francisco. Photo credit: Sabrina Sanchez.
When NewsMatch 2018 opens on Nov. 1, 155 nonprofit news organizations will join in a shared call-to-action: Stand up for journalism that strengthens democracy. Last year, NewsMatch helped to raise nearly $5 million for nonprofit news and this year our sights are set even higher. Now more than ever donors are embracing the idea that giving to journalism can — and should — be a part of their charitable giving.
Before the campaign kicks off, we wanted to share some of the work that’s been happening behind the scenes since the spring to help this year’s campaign be a success. Because while the matching dollars make for a flashy headline, the magic of NewsMatch truly unfolds over weeks and months of fundraising training, one-on-one work with participants, conversations with funders, and cheerleading sessions over email.
More participants than ever before
Across the country, 155 nonprofit news organizations are set to participate in NewsMatch 2018. That represents a 42 percent increase in participation from last year. And more than twice as many newsrooms are participating compared to 2016, the first year NewsMatch took place. The nonprofit news sector is quickly growing and becoming a critical part of how the public gets information about where they live and the issues they care about.
Yet first-time participants come to NewsMatch with a wide range of fundraising experience and capacity. Some, like Block Club Chicago, which was founded this year, will be running their first-ever year-end fundraising campaigns with NewsMatch, Others are using NewsMatch to launch membership programs, support new bureaus, or leverage gifts from local foundations. Several public media organizations are also new participants this year.
Number of NewsMatch 2018 Participants by State
The participating nonprofit news organizations hail from 42 states in all, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. Each one is growing their individual giving programs and will use this year’s campaign as an opportunity to cultivate their growing donor bases and talk to the public about why it’s important to support nonprofit news.
Hands-on support and training
This year’s participants have spent months preparing to launch their year-end campaigns. They have participated in more than a dozen webinars on topics like how to find local matches for year-end fundraising, how to target non-donors on their email lists, and how to get attention for NewsMatch in their local communities.
We provide this support because nearly half of NewsMatch 2018 participants have no fundraising staff apart from their executive director. Another third have just one additional full-time employee dedicated to fundraising. Through NewsMatch, these organizations get invaluable access to fundraising experts and resources, and a community of peers working to implement best practices across the nonprofit news field. It’s this growing capacity to run successful fundraising campaigns that will enable their long-term sustainability and growth.
As we gear up for the launch, we want to thank both the Institute for Nonprofit News, which led an incredible amount of outreach to identify and register this year’s participants, and the News Revenue Hub, especially Christina Shih, who developed this year’s trainings and campaign resources, including an out-of-the-box fundraising toolkit which every organization in NewsMatch can customize to suit their own needs.
Our overarching goal this year is simple and yet ambitious: We aim to use this campaign to raise awareness about journalism’s role in democracy and the need to support nonprofit news. At a time when local nonprofit news are filling information gaps in communities across the country, we know it is paramount to support these efforts and make them sustainable long into the future.
In particular, we’re looking forward to elevating the message of nonprofit news on #GivingNewsDay — Tuesday, Nov. 27, which coincides with #GivingTuesday — and we invite all supporters of quality journalism to join us This day will serve as a national call-to-action for individuals to step up and donate to nonprofit news. A list of trusted nonprofit news organizations participating in NewsMatch 2018 can be found at NewsMatch.org.
The results from last year’s campaign were clear: NewsMatch 2017 was the largest grassroots fundraising campaign for nonprofit journalism. The vast majority of participants raised more money, attracted new donors, and received more donations than the year before. We know that together, we can make NewsMatch 2018 even bigger.
We can’t wait to get started.