Having funded more than 200 local news and information experiments, Knight Foundation is invested in helping to ensure nonprofit news sites become sustainable after our financial support ends.
Knight is not endorsing these companies. However, we do believe they provide interesting ways to experiment with generating revenue. To that end, we have given the two some support to let grantees learn more and test them out.
Press Plus is a flexible, web-based payment platform that enables publishers to charge for content or ask for donations in a variety of ways, including metering based on volume of content accessed, segmented content and reader's geographical location'. It is currently being used by Global Post, Commercial Dispatch, Chico Enterprise Record and Lancaster Online among others. Press+ accounts are universal, which mean that readers who come to a site and already have a Press+ account are able to buy or donate without re-entering their payment information. Also, publishers can present readers with custom pop up messages as they navigate a site and can tailor messages to their specific interest.
Knight's support will allow up to 10 grantees 'to install and test the Press Plus service 'at no cost for 12 months, and pay a reduced rate thereafter.
Kachingle aims to make it easy to give small donations online. Users, or Kachinglers, make a fixed donation of $5/month. Publishers who want access to these donations need to incorporate a Kachingle medallion on their site. When Kachinglers visit a site they want to support that is part of the Kachingle network, they click once to turn 'on' the medallion.' Kachingle then distributes users' monthly contribution across the sites that they have selected based on daily usage.' Kachinglers can share organizations that they support through Twitter and Facebook, spurring more donations. Publishers already using this format include Center for Investigative Reporting, Chicago Talks and DailyCamera.
Knight's support will allow Kachingle to make tailored webinar presentations for Knight grantees interested in learning more.
There are plenty of other payment systems out there, including Media Pass, SubHub, Flattr, PayPal and Razoo. Google is developing its own payment systems, and Spot.Us is a proven, innovative model for funding investigative pieces (and a Knight grantee!). Grantees may benefit from all, or none of these ideas. But we'd like to facilitate learning about and experimenting with as many as possible to see if there is a fit.
Part of my role at Knight is to help develop and hone these types of initiatives. If you'd like to share your experience with the payment systems mentioned here (or others), please feel free to leave a comment.
Director of Business Consulting