Are you a federally recognized nonprofit?

Yes, you can take a look at our 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS here.

Who do you serve?

INN serves over 100 nonprofit public-interest focused newsrooms and data providers across the U.S. Among other things, our members produce independent, investigative journalism that serves the public interest. Learn more about what it takes to be a member in our membership standards.

Do you accept international members?

Unfortunately no, not at this time. Members who are based in the U.S. and have global networks are still eligible, as are members based in U.S. commonwealths.

How much does membership cost?

We adjust membership dues based on what organizations can afford to pay. Currently dues range from $50 to $350. See our membership dues structure.

How do I become a member?

Read the membership standards and make sure you are eligible. Then see the step-by-step process.

I’m don’t have a 501(c)(3) letter yet, but I’d like to become a member. What can I do?

Organizations that are not yet 501(c)3 federally recognized nonprofits can secure the services of a 501(c)3 organization in order to ensure that they are operating within the accepted guidelines for nonprofits and in order to accept grants on behalf of a project. INN offers fiscal sponsorship to a select number of applicants that do not yet have either their own nonprofit determination letter from the IRS or a fiscal sponsor but which otherwise meet the criteria for membership.

How are you funded?

INN is primarily supported by a number of national foundations and has received the support of philanthropists that understand the need for a vibrant and growing nonprofit news sector in service to the public interest. See a complete list of our funders.

INN holds all member organizations and itself to high standards of transparency. You can view a list of all donors who’ve given over $1,000 to our organization, our 990s and our financial audits for previous years here.

Who’s on INN’s board, and how do I become a board member?

INN’s bylaws provide for a board of up to 11 directors, including four from member organizations that are elected by the membership to represent the interests of the community. Individuals that are interested in volunteering for board service or to serve on committees should contact CEO Sue Cross. See our current board.


Regarding INN’s name and mission change:

What, when and why did the decision to change the organization’s name and mission take place?

In November, 2014—five years after the founding of the Investigative News Network—the board of directors met in New York City to revisit and refine the organization’s strategic mission.

While investigative journalism remains at the core of our organizational DNA and is considered the highest form of nonprofit journalism, the board recognizes that not all of the news and information produced by our nonprofit member organizations is purely investigative in nature.

The board decided not only to adopt a new mission but also to change the name to better reflect the work of all our members.

What is the new mission statement of INN?

Based on the response of the membership to the initial announcement, the INN board on January 5, 2015 voted to amend the new mission to read: “To provide education and business support services to our nonprofit member organizations and promote the value and benefits of public service and investigative journalism.”

We will accomplish this by:

  • Identifying operational and revenue-generating best practices and training our members on them.
  • Establishing partnerships, collaborations and strategic alliances to advance our mission.
  • Promoting public-service journalism as a philanthropic investment.
  • Leveraging funding to maximize impact.
  • Developing business leadership among nonprofit news organizations.
  • Offering affordable back-office services to individual organizations.

Why change the name now?

In our organization’s founding document, the Pocantico Declaration, the founders wrote: “Resolved, that we, representatives of nonprofit news organizations, gather at a time when investigative reporting, so crucial to a functioning democracy, is under threat. There is an urgent need to nourish and sustain the emerging investigative journalism ecosystem to better serve the public.”

That statement remains true today, except we now recognize that while all our members are committed to producing public service, mission-driven journalism, their work is not 100% investigative in nature.

Therefore the board made the decision to reposition our organization to recognize that fact and refocus our organization to “nourish and sustain the growing nonprofit journalism ecosystem to better serve the public.”

Why an “Institute?”

An Institute is “an organization for the promotion of a cause.” It also carries an educational connotation including “instruction on selected topics related to a particular field.”

As our new mission goes on to say, INN will accomplish our goals by “Promoting public service journalism as a philanthropic investment” as well as “identifying operational and revenue-generating best practices and training our members on them” and “developing business leadership among nonprofit news organizations.”

It is with these ideals in mind that we are repositioning the organization to focus its mission.

Will INN continue to have member organizations?

As our new mission clearly states, INN will remain primarily focused on delivering tangible and valuable services to our member organizations, including “offering affordable back-office services to individual organizations” and “establishing partnerships, collaborations and strategic alliances to advance our mission.”

The new name and mission not only clarifies what we do, but clearly states that we are here to provide value and services to those nonprofit journalism organizations.

Will INN be changing its standards and requirements for membership?

No. INN will maintain its high and clear standards for membership. As a result, while we are here to promote nonprofit “public service journalism as a philanthropic investment,” not all nonprofit journalism organizations can or will meet the threshold for achieving and maintaining membership in the organization. Transparency on funding will remain paramount.

I work for a for-profit (e.g. C corp, S corp, B corp or LLC) company that produces investigative and public-interest content, can we join?

No, not at this time.  That said, INN may look at adding associate non-voting membership to non-qualifying organizations that are interested in leveraging our work and/or the work of our member organizations in the future.

Does this mean that INN will no longer focus on leveraging the size and network effect of its member organizations?

While we have dropped the word Network from the name, we have not abandoned the principle of looking for collective opportunities to “leverage funding dollars to maximize impact” and “establishing partnerships, collaborations and strategic alliances to advance our mission.”

This means that we will continue to look for business, distribution and revenue opportunities that no one member organization can fulfill or secure by itself.

However, while before INN programs were only focused on collective opportunities, the refined mission now also recognizes INN’s ability to help individual organizations meet specific needs as well.

As a part of its refined focus, INN offering consulting services in the areas of business, strategic, technology and data on a fee basis at a highly preferred rate for member nonprofit organizations, and at market rates for non-member nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Can we expect further changes from INN?

Yes. As with all healthy and growing young organizations, INN has undertaken a review of its current programs and determined that as we increase our focus on training, best-practice sharing and business development, we will need to divest and/or eliminate those programs that are no longer within our focus.

Specifically, as part of INN’s focus on business and education rather than content production (which falls more under the purview of organizations like IRE and Poynter), INN will no longer be programmatically focusing on facilitating editorial collaboration. Instead we are working to create tools and systems by which our community of member organizations can grow collaboration organically without the need for centralized coordination.

Did the INN board conclude that the organization's original mission and focus were not sustainable?

Not necessarily. However, the board did conclude that revisiting the mission and focus after five years was an appropriate and important step in order to ensure that INN was representative and meeting the needs of all its member organizations.

Will the IRS need to review or approve INN's changing name, mission or focus? That is, do the changes raise any potential issues regarding INN's tax status?

INN will file all necessary paperwork with the IRS regarding the name change. We do not anticipate that this will have any impact on our hard-won tax status.

What are you thinking about in terms of being able to meet the needs of organizations with different budgets, from start-ups through more established?

As the results from the recently conducted membership survey show, INN is already providing services to organizations across the spectrum of size, funding and focus. We will continue to develop and measure adoption of programs moving forward to ensure that this continues.

Will INN continue to hold meetings around existing conferences that are already attended by many members, or will it pursue a separate annual membership meeting/conference?

There are no plans at this time to hold a separate meeting just for INN members, and we will continue to leverage existing conferences for the foreseeable future in order to reduce travel costs and time away from the office for our membership.

How will this shift affect INN’s commitment to the Largo Project CMS, which many members are now using?

The Largo Project is one of INN’s most successful projects to date and will remain at the core of our technology services for the foreseeable future.

If I have further questions or concerns about INN, who can I talk to?

Both INN’s board and management team are here to answer your questions and hear what you have to say as we go through this process. Contact CEO Sue Cross or Board Chair Emeritus Brant Houston.