Member Benefits

The nonprofit news movement is among the fastest growing sectors in the news industry. INN is unique in its mission to meet the needs of this group. It is the only network, coaching and consulting organization specializing in support for mission-driven news organizations focused on informing the public, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy.

INN membership means joining a community of news organizations facing the same issues that you are. Our membership standards ensure that everyone we serve is equally committed to transparency and serving the public interest.

INN members get access to specialized training in revenue generation, impact measurement and audience engagement. Members also enjoy free and discounted back-office, technology and distribution services and programs. And you add your voice to a force for good journalism. Together, INN members make up the largest network of independent investigative and public service newsrooms in North America.

Revenue & Distribution

INN helps members build the audiences and revenues to support critically important reporting provided by nonprofit newsrooms. To that end, we offer:

  • Seed grants for business innovation: Our three-year INNovation Fund grant program provides opportunities for nonprofit and public-media newsrooms to spur revenue generation and audience engagement. This program has provided $1.1 million in seed funding to 39 nonprofits (members and non-members) and is now in its 4th round. Applications are currently closed; future rounds will be announced online.
  • Revenue diversification strategies: INN provides regular “Office Hours” and individual consultations on revenue strategies and developing the major revenue pillars of nonprofit news organizations.
  • Content sharing & syndication: Our syndication agreements with NewsTex and NewsBank ancillary revenue stream for members at no cost. INN offers best practice consultations and sample contracts for arranging media partnerships. INN members share content with each other to expand the reach and impact of their coverage.
  • Business training: INN brings you deep-dive training in business and fund development strategies and tactics at least twice a year, with topic experts as well as lightning rounds to learn from peers’ successes. We welcome training suggestions from our membership in order to help you find solutions to the problems you’re facing. We can quickly gather experts for “pop-up” sessions to address hot topics.

Cost Savings

INN can help you improve your bottom line. We are constantly expanding our benefits to bring members group discounts and shared services, including:

  • Fiscal sponsorship: At INN, we specialize in helping news projects and organizations start up and grow their impact. One way is by providing financial management through fiscal sponsorship: handling donation processing, charitable registration, audits and paperwork so you can concentrate on building your newsroom, audience and financial support while waiting for your own 501(c)3 certification or even after. INN’s fiscal sponsorship program helps members grow faster and save money in their early years or assist for-profits converting to nonprofit status.  When sponsorship by a community-based organization may pose potential conflicts of interest, INN offers news organizations an independent option.
  • Preferred insurance access: For Errors & Omissions (media), Directors and Officers and other insurance, INN has negotiated preferred terms with insurance providers to help you manage your risk. INN members have preferred access to a broker who specializes in helping media organizations. Members can access INN tip sheets and how-to video online that can help you make your best application -- a factor that can improve  availability and rates.
  • Pro-bono & reduced rate legal advice and representation: INN has established relationships with organizations including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Student Press Law Center to help members get expert legal advice when they need it most, at a price that they can afford. INN advocates for nonprofit news organizations’ legal needs as a member of the Media Law Resource Center.
  • Other discounted services: INN works with many vendors to offer discounts and special program access to nonprofit news members
  • Access to world-class datasets: Provided by INN’s strategic relationship with the Investigative Reporters & Editors and their National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting. INN also can provide members with data application development under our custom tech services.

Training & Education

Part of our mission is to record best practices as they emerge and teach them to our membership. To that end, we offer:

  • Business Training: Our business capacity training sessions teach newsroom and nonprofit business leaders how to sustain their business while fulfilling their stated mission. Deep-dive training conferences at least twice a year, online training sessions every month, and hot-topic sessions as industry changes warrant throughout the year. Subscribe to the INNovation newsletter or keep an eye on the INN training calendar for upcoming events.
  • Learn.INN.org: We add to our repository of courses, best-practice documentation and resources  for nonprofit newsroom staff throughout the year, as new advances in the industry emerge. We currently are updating this site, so watch for added resources in the coming months.
  • Weekly Newsletter: Our weekly INNovation newsletter showcases your best work, brings you member news, job listings, training events  — from both INN and partners such as IRE, ONA and Poynter — and a thoughtfully curated list of don’t-miss industry articles and resources relevant to nonprofit news leaders.
  • Advocacy: INN showcases the impact and importance of nonprofit news organizations throughout the year through presentations at industry events, postings and appearances, and is building added options to showcase member work on our sites. INN members make up the broadest network of independent investigative and public service newsrooms in North America. Together, we have a strong voice for public information and mission-driven journalism.

Technology Services

Regardless of your budget, the age of your organization or editorial focus, INN’s technology and product team builds websites, news apps and provides custom services to keep your technology costs as affordable as possible. Services include:

    • Website design and development: As the only team we know of specifically focused on building websites for nonprofit news organizations, INN has built and launched sites for more than 50 member organizations and other nonprofits. We’ve created Project Largo, a publishing platform that keeps the cost of building new sites highly affordable, while giving you a solid foundation for digital and mobile use.
    • Hosting and support: For sites using Largo, we provide high-end managed hosting that also provides regular backups, security audits and faster load time than many other (particularly cheaper) hosting options. We also handle updates to WordPress, plugins and roll out periodic updates to the Largo platform to make sure your site keeps pace with changing technology. We make all of this available to your organization at a lower cost than you would likely spend just for hosting.
    • Editorial apps: Many organizations want to tell compelling stories, organize, visualize and present data and design and build custom packages for big stories/projects. It can be very difficult to find local help that specializes in building these sorts of projects for news sites. Our team has years of newsroom experience in such projects. We’re happy to offer design and development services to help you tell your stories most effectively.
    • Digital strategy: When you’re starting or growing an organization, it can be difficult to plan and make decisions as technology changes around you. We’re happy to bring our expertise to your organization and offer assistance with planning, budgeting, writing RFPs or job descriptions, evaluating vendors/candidates for technical positions and more.
    • Training: We offer regular online training and some in-person training to help you develop your technology skills. Keep an eye on INN's training calendar for upcoming opportunities.
    • Office hours: Each Friday from 2-3 p.m. ET, our entire tech team holds virtual office hours where you can ask questions, get feedback on projects or discuss anything you need a little help with.
    • Weekly Newsletter: Nerd Alert collects the best things our team has read each week and also includes jobs at member organizations, links to interesting projects and other tidbits we find around the web.

Community

As a member of INN you will be part of a movement that is recognized around the world by fellow journalists and funders alike. As a member, you will be standing with organizations that have been around for more than 30 years and with news entrepreneurs who are just getting started — all of them selected by peers as outstanding providers of original reporting and public service journalism with the highest ethical standards. You will be able to be part of a community that is proving that journalism in the public interest can be sustained and can make a difference to the society, audience and communities that we all serve.

Learn how to become a member today.

Contact INN Executive Director Sue Cross or INN Membership Coordinator Laura Bertocci with questions.