April 14, 2022
The NewsMatch collaborative fundraising initiative — known since 2016 for providing matching gifts to nonprofit newsrooms from a national pooled fund — in 2021 generated the largest number of local matches in the program’s history, raising more than $4 million from almost 1,000 local businesses, family and community foundations and major donors. This represents a 29% increase in dollars from 2020 and a threefold increase in supporters. More than half of the newsrooms that participated in NewsMatch secured their own matches — averaging more than $26,000 per newsroom, compared with $14,000 from the national fund — and ended up with new lines of support that better position them for long-term sustainability.
One of the new donors is KP Catalysts, a consulting firm that works on issues related to children and youth and has long subscribed to the Center for Sustainable Journalism’s publication Youth Today.
“Our team at KP Catalysts believes that the Center for Sustainable Journalism plays a critical role in ensuring youth development professionals have the information they need to successfully change the odds that all young people will thrive,” said Katherine Plog Martinez, managing partner of KP Catalysts. “We were thrilled to be able to leverage NewsMatch by both offering a business donation and personal donations from our partners, and engaging a range of our partners as donors. It was a great way to know our dollars would not only have impact on the publication, but be stretched further through matching funds.”
To participate in NewsMatch, newsrooms must be members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a national organization that sets standards, builds capacity and works to expand the field of not-for-profit, public service journalism. In the last five years, NewsMatch has helped attract about 300,000 first-time donors to newsrooms across the INN Network.
In 2021, the 17 funding partners* for NewsMatch provided nearly $4.8 million in matching gifts and goal-based bonuses. The 275 participating newsrooms leveraged these matching funds and program resources to raise $46 million from their audiences and supporters during the final two months of 2021.
The Tributary, a nonpartisan newsroom that investigates problems entrenched in Jacksonville, Florida, was able to secure a significant gift from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund as part of their NewsMatch campaign. The Fund has a strategic focus on equity and makes grants primarily in the states where Mrs. duPont lived.
“As the traditional news companies respond to shrinking circulation with reduced support for the newsroom, public and independent news organizations are critical to telling the stories that matter to everybody, including about systemic issues like the flaws in political representation, affordable housing, generational poverty and lack of access to public spaces,” said Mari Kuraishi, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. “We applaud INN and The Tributary for their commitment to illuminating these topics in Jacksonville and for developing an organizational culture and operational policies that prioritize equity.”
Andrew Pantazi, founding editor of The Tributary, explains, “The NewsMatch program makes it possible for organizations like ours to not only raise crucial funds but also advance the community’s understanding of the importance of local news to a strong democracy.”
Participants reported that the national match and partner funds were just part of the benefit of NewsMatch: what they learn through the program about how to conduct fundraising campaigns and how to build relationships with donors strengthens their organizations over time.
“The skills we have learned during NewsMatch and the tools we have used are gains for the whole year and useful for other initiatives,” said Rígel Lugo, director of operations and growth at the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI), an investigative newsroom based in Puerto Rico and publishing primarily in Spanish.
CPI attracted 10 local matches last year.
The rise in matching gifts from businesses, individuals and regional foundations was not a coincidence, said Courtney Hurtt, INN’s chief of growth programs. It was the desired outcome of strategic shifts that INN and its program partners made to NewsMatch in order to drive sustainable growth of the nonprofit news field.
“As the number of INN members has doubled in the past few years, it was no longer practical to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to NewsMatch,” said Hurtt. “It’s our first year of restructuring the program to provide different types of investments to our broad range of newsrooms.”
In 2021, INN made key strategic shifts to the program design of NewsMatch that included pivoting to a multi-year fundraising strategy, expanding newsroom training and resources to attract larger gifts, and concentrating national match funds in smaller organizations and startups while growing investments from funders that have a specific geographic or subject focus to support others.
These strategic shifts resulted in enhanced impact among small newsrooms: the number of participating organizations with budgets under $1 million saw a 32% increase in dollars raised from individuals. And both small and large newsrooms that cover a specific geographic region or go deep into a topic gained access to more than $1.6 million from funding partners that worked with NewsMatch to establish those dedicated funds — nearly double the amount from 2020.
Since the launch of NewsMatch by Knight Foundation in 2016, the program has grown into a multi-partner, tailored fundraising initiative that has generated a $223 million investment in nonprofit news — helping people across North America access credible, fact-based journalism about the communities and issues that matter to them.
Visit the online pressroom to see financial highlights from the 2021 NewsMatch campaign, review year-over-year statistics and to download high-resolution images of newsrooms.
NewsMatch is a unique collaboration between newsrooms, funders, and industry experts that is designed to strengthen the fundraising capabilities of nonprofit newsrooms and promote giving to journalism in the U.S. Through NewsMatch, individual donations made to nonprofit newsrooms between November 1 and December 31 are matched by a coalition of national funders.
Since 2016, the campaign has helped raise over $223 million for nonprofit journalism, helping jumpstart small, emerging newsrooms, supporting newsrooms that serve or are led by underrepresented communities, and strengthening mission-based organizations.
Throughout the year, local and national foundations provide gifts to the Fund for Nonprofit News, hosted at The Miami Foundation. The Fund then matches individual donations made to a select group of nonprofit newsrooms during the year-end NewsMatch campaign, up to a predetermined cap.
The newsrooms that receive matching funds are required to be active members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), a membership organization that supports and advances independent, nonprofit news organizations that do original, fact-based reporting.
INN and News Revenue Hub, an organization that specializes in financial sustainability strategies and implementation for nonprofit news, provide training resources and support in order to expand fundraising capacity and capabilities at participating news organizations.
The Institute for Nonprofit News strengthens and supports more than 360 independent news organizations in a new kind of news network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, INN’s members tell stories that otherwise would go untold — connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy. INN programs help these news organizations develop revenue and business models to support strong reporting, collaborate on editorial and business innovation, share services and advance the diverse leaders who are forging a new future for news. Visit inn.org
* The 2021 funders to NewsMatch were: Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Meta Journalism Project, Google News Initiative, Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Inasmuch Foundation, Independence Public Media Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Kaphan Foundation, Loud Hound, Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable, Sarena Snider, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Wyncote Foundation and two anonymous family foundations.Back to top