May 5 has been designated as #GivingTuesdayNow by GivingTuesday.org. This global day of giving will rally philanthropic support in an effort to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already proven to be particularly costly for local news organizations. Many in the journalism industry will change the name of #GivingTuesdayNow to #GivingNewsday in an effort to attract new subscribers, donors and financial supporters of local news.
Whether you’re a nonprofit newsroom with an established development team or a for-profit organization looking to appeal to new subscribers, here’s a list of tips and resources that can help you make the most of the momentum of generosity created on May 5:
If you’re a nonprofit newsroom:
- Review this toolkit for nonprofits from Giving Tuesday Now and use this toolkit provided by the Knight Foundation taking the Giving Tuesday Now resources and customizing them for newsrooms.
- Here’s a specific toolkit for public media organizations.
- Engage your supporters and board members with specific expectations. Ask them to forward your appeal to their own networks with a personal note to encourage them to support you on May 5.
- Seek opportunities to match gifts. Ask one or more of your major supporters to consider making a large enough gift to match enough donations to reach your goal. Be as specific as possible with your supporters regarding the match details. It provides a great incentive for them to donate.
- Plan for a daylong campaign by having social media messages cued up and assigning someone to monitor traffic and share/respond that day.
If you’re a for-profit newsroom:
- Consider joining the Local Media Association’s COVID-19 Local News Fund or finding a local fiscal sponsor so that donations can be charitable contributions.
- Publish a letter from the editor about the importance of subscribing to support coronavirus coverage, using GivingDayNOW as the news peg.
- Be transparent with your readers about the cost of coverage.
- Identify influencers in your community to help spread the word about the importance of supporting your work.
- Encourage local employers to purchase subscriptions for their staff and give the benefit of fact-based information.
- Launch a subscription campaign where a portion of the proceeds are reinvested in small businesses in the communities you serve.
Fundraising best practices:
- Share “good news” stories to inspire donors. Stories about people helping other people are particularly meaningful in today’s environment.
- Focus on the impact of your work.
- Show tangible examples.
- Be concise.
- Send a timely “thank you” note.
- Keep donors engaged with your work year round.
More resource and tips:
From the Knight Foundation
- Knight Foundation Toolkit – A turnkey resource guide including logos, a press release and social media messaging all designed for use by newsrooms.
- Tiered participation guide to select the right campaign for your news organization.
From Institute for Nonprofit News (INN)
- The INN launched https://www.newsforgood.org/ as a place to give citizens an easy way to explore and support nonprofit newsrooms.
- For free tech help for members from INN Labs about #GivingTuesdayNow, sign up here.
- Also for members, watch this webinar replay to learn how to engage your most loyal supporters.
From the Lenfest Institute
- Instead of general messaging about the journalism on GivingTuesday, use messaging around the work and lives of the individual journalists themselves. Stories of their work, what it’s like covering this story, etc. are resonant.
From News Revenue Hub
- Check out these fundraising emails to view best practices: Example 1 from the Cap Times and Example 2 from the Noozhawk A.M. Report.
From the Local Media Association
- Case study: The Anchorage Daily News’ first direct email appeal
- Case study: The Houston Defender’s successful text message campaign
- Case study: The Afro’s strategy to raise funds to cover COVID-19 in their community
- The complete guide to #GivingTuesdayNow.
On May 5, follow activities around the world using #GivingTuesdayNow and #GivingNewsday.