Supporters of LkldNow invested in community journalism to the tune of $27,012 in two months at the end of 2018 as the national NewsMatch campaign raised $7.6 million from individual donors and a coalition of major funders for nonprofit news organizations.
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. In Lakeland, 68 of 111 NewsMatch donors to LkldNow were first-time supporters.
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 Lakeland, NewsMatch dollars will be used to expand local news coverage by engaging more free-lance journalists and laying the groundwork to eventually hire full-time staff.
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, including LkldNow, 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 [email protected] to learn more.