Your nonprofit board of directors can be a dynamic catalyst to bring in new major donations. People who are passionate about what your institution does and have a lifetime of connections can make the difference between “basic survival” fundraising or breaking out into the green fields of major gifts fundraising. Here are three ways to help your board shed their fears of fundraising and find their unique role in this aspect.
The proliferation of nonprofit newsrooms is one of the more promising developments in an industry wracked by a crumbling financial base and sweeping technological change. Since 2000, dozens of nonprofit media groups have sprouted, not only across America but worldwide. Many are deeply committed to investigative and accountability journalism, working to fill a void left by a mainstream media that either can’t or won’t do its job as social watchdogs. In April, the Knight Foundation published the third installment in a series of reports since 2011 tracking the progress of nonprofit news sites as they strive for a sustainable financial base. There are lessons here for media nonprofits worldwide.
One of the most common things you hear people say when you tell them what you do for a living is “Oh, I hate fundraising! I could NEVER do that for living!” Nice. Yes, there are all kinds of fun responses we can think of. But what it tells us over and over again is that fundraising is widely perceived as something dirty, ethically challenged, or at least uncomfortable. People think that talking to someone about their own money is akin to talking to them about sex, politics, or religion. It’s not.
At the Google Investigathon on Nov.12, GIJN premiered its latest project, Investigative Impact: How Investigative Journalism Fights Corruption, Promotes Accountability, and Fosters Transparency around the World. GIJN director David Kaplan and board chair Brant Houston showcased the project before nearly 100 people at the New York event, demonstrating through video, graphics, data, and a new website the extraordinary global impact of investigative reporting. The project includes case studies of high-impact reports, video interviews with journalists in 20 countries, infographics, and a resource library.
When it comes to small and medium organizations I have seen a consistent chronic under investment in fundraising and a consistent lack of understanding of the work. It’s not just about small and medium nonprofits learning key methods and techniques of larger institutions. It’s about changing the culture around fundraising, especially individual major giving. Small and medium nonprofits all rush the same foundation doors year after year. Foundation fundraising is easier to understand and doesn’t involve talking to individuals about their own money. Individual major gifts work is risky, harder to understand and involves talking to individuals about their money. So year after year these same nonprofits stay small.
One of the leading requests GIJN receives is for help with fundraising. With the global spread of nonprofit media, journalists are looking for new ways to raise funds and structure the “business side” of their news organizations. As a starting point, GIJN asked for advice from fundraising expert Bridget Gallagher, who helped launch the GIJN secretariat and has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits.
One of the leading requests GIJN receives is for help with fundraising. With the global spread of nonprofit media, journalists are looking for new ways to raise funds and structure the “business side” of their news organizations. As a starting point, GIJN asked for advice from fundraising expert Bridget Gallagher, who helped launch the GIJN secretariat and has raised millions of dollars for nonprofits. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Hockey great Wayne Gretzky
Growing your fundraising program — or getting one started — can feel like an overwhelming responsibility. The philanthropic landscape is extremely competitive; the prospect of identifying and soliciting prospective donors can seem cumbersome and intimidating.
One of the bright spots in investigative journalism over the past decade has been the rapid spread of nonprofits dedicated to supporting in-depth journalism around the world. A 2012 survey by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) identified 106 investigative journalism nonprofits in nearly 50 countries – with more than half of them founded in the past five years. The list includes nonprofit newsrooms, online publishers, professional associations, grant-making funds, NGOs, training institutes, and academic centers. About half are based in the United States, where the hollowing out of traditional media has sparked the founding of dozens of these nonprofit newsrooms at the state and local level. Moreover, the trend does not appear to be abating.
Seeking a chance to improve your skills and expand your world? Tired of the everyday routine in your newsroom? We regularly update our guide to grants and fellowships. These are programs of special interest to investigative journalists around the world. There are plenty of short-term and long-term opportunities, both for staff and freelance reporters. Follow the links for information on deadlines and background on the various programs.
You might also find useful GIJN’s resource pages on:
Legal Defense and more
Do you know of a great opportunity we haven’t listed?
Welcome to GIJN’s Resource Center. Here are resource pages assembled by our staff and from colleagues around the world on critical topics affecting investigative journalists. There are links to key groups, documents, and people. Let us know if you have additions or if the info and links get out of date! Reporting Tips and Techniques
Awards, Grants, Fundraising, and Sustainability
Safety, Security, and Legal Defense
Reporting Tips and Techniques
Archiving Your Work: How to use the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to preserve web pages and PDFs.