In another sign the public will support quality journalism, nonprofit news organizations raised more than $1.2 million in just a few weeks with Knight Foundation’s News Match program.
Now, Knight will double the donations made to the 57 participating nonprofit news outlets. That will put at least $2.4 million more into strengthening local coverage, beat reporting and investigative reporting around the country in 2017.
We launched the Knight News Match on Dec. 19 to help nonprofit news organizations use their end-of-the-year fundraising to leverage public concern over fake news drowning out real news. By all accounts, it was an enormously useful fundraising lever for organizations, big and small, from ProPublica to the Voice of San Diego, an early pioneer in local online news.
We could not be more thrilled. This project is at the heart of Knight Foundation’s commitment to foster informed and engaged communities.
John S. and James L. Knight, the brothers who created Knight Foundation, believed that independent, quality journalism was essential to a healthy democracy and best served the cities and towns around the country where they published newspapers. They believed a well-informed community could best determine its own true interests.
In this tradition, Knight began investing in nonprofit news organizations more than a decade ago. On many beats and in many communities today, nonprofit news organizations are filling gaps left by local newspapers that have sharply cut coverage as the digital disruption upended the traditional business model.
While many nonprofit news organizations have achieved editorial success, most struggle with sustainability. Many rely on their readers and the people in the communities they cover for support. Learning how to build a donor base is vital to success. Raising public awareness about the important role that nonprofit news organizations play is also an important goal.
That’s why the Knight News Match turned out to be more than just about matching contributions. Nonprofit news organizations used it as an opportunity to create videos, purchase Facebook ads, and take to Twitter and Facebook to show the impact of their work. Our partners at the Institute for Nonprofit News jumped into action and provided marketing and fundraising expertise to help organizations succeed. Knight’s communications team assembled toolkits and supported a marketing and public relations campaign. The result was one organization after another told us they used the Knight News Match to find and identify new donors and to increase support from existing donors. Thanks to each of them for participating and to everyone who made a donation.
We are committed to using this program to learn from the experiences of nonprofit news organizations, and to listen and develop a set of best practices to help them succeed in building a robust community committed to supporting and sustaining journalism in the public interest.
Because it is in everyone’s interest.
Jennifer Preston is vice president for journalism at Knight Foundation. Email her via [email protected], and follow her on Twitter @jenniferpreston and at facebook.com/ jennifermpreston. Follow @knightfdn and #newsmatch for the latest on the Knight News Match.