Friday, April 09, 2021

Getting donations to help local news media works in small, places as well as big, rich ones, Report for America says

Elementary students in Ouray, Colo., chose Report for America at the Ouray County Plaindealer as the charity to benefit from their 2020 read-a-thon. Proceeds supported the family-owned newspaper's funding campaign for a reporter focused on affordable housing. (Photo provided by Plaindealer Publisher Erin McIntyre)

A community's size and its poverty rate don’t seem to matter when it comes to philanthropic support of local news organizations, Lauren McKown and Jimmy Martinez of the journalism philanthropy GroundTruth Project and its Report for America write for The Poynter Institute. In other words, raising money from your audience may work as well in Appalachia as the suburbs.

"Our local newsroom partners fundraising in communities that score at the top of the national poverty index performed virtually the same as those fundraising at the bottom of the index," they report. "In other words, there was no discernable difference in fundraising success between news organizations based in under-resourced communities versus those in wealthier areas."

Another encouraging sign: "We saw that individual donors made up nearly half of all dollars raised; the vast majority of those grassroots donors gave under $100," they report. "This is a promising trend in local news, especially for a cause that has been primarily funded by national foundations. . . . Although most communities don’t have a wealthy foundation to count on, charitable people live everywhere and they give most to those they know and trust. . . . Studies show that local journalists are trusted more than their national counterparts."

No comments: