A project of Democracy Fund

December 3, 2021

Local Fix: Creative end-of-year fundraising for news


Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key questions in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. But first, we always begin with one good idea…

One Good Idea: Bookmark the Solutions Journalism Revenue Playbook

Hot off the presses, the Solutions Journalism Network has shared a resource that goes beyond earning trust and loyalty and goes into people’s wallets. This guide, building off of lessons learned from a pilot group of a dozen local and regional news outlets (both for-profits and nonprofits), digs into details like the best way to explain solutions journalism when asking for support and 22 different ways to track the reporting’s impact. Get started here.  

Creative fundraising, inspired by NewsMatch

End-of-year fundraising is in full swing, and many nonprofit newsrooms are deep in the 2021 NewsMatch campaign. NewsMatch’s team, including folks from the Institute for Nonprofit News and News Revenue Hub, are equipping nonprofit news organizations with the tools and training to recruit local donors and build more financial support, while a collaborative of donors (including Democracy Fund) provide up to $10,000 in matching funds to hundreds of outlets. While participants get templates and best practices, each outlet’s fundraising campaign is different, and many have been really creative and fun. Here are a few examples of news outlets leveraging the NewsMatch campaign to the max (reply to this email with others that caught your eye!). These can serve as inspiration for anyone raising funds, NewsMatch or not. And don’t forget to support your own local nonprofit news before the year ends!

  • Matching the match: Gig Harbor Now in Washington secured two local matches from family foundations to triple their total donations, and a group of local businesses in Massachusetts is topping up the match for the Bedford Citizen. Bringing the end-of-year momentum of NewsMatch to big supporters can encourage them to double down. 
  • Social storytelling: El Paso MattersBoyle Heights Beat, and Cicero Independiente are using social media to introduce their reporters and show their community connections. Sahan Journal’s Mukhtar Ibrahim broke out the whiteboard (and added a second one!) to track donors and share updates on Twitter. And Border Belt started a state-vs.-state competition to recruit more members across the Rust Belt. 
  • Making the case: Civil Eats collected 30 of their best stories in 2021 with an explainer of how they’re centering their audience as they grow, the editor of the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network amplified reporting the team has done this year in a thread, and Matter News pulled out the research to show the need for supporting local news

Reads on Our Radar

Opportunities On Our Radar 

Wishing you a cozy weekend,

Christine and Teresa
@heres_christine and @gteresa