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NewsMatch 2020 broke records: more newsrooms, donors, dollars and local matches

March 22, 2021

The fifth annual NewsMatch campaign was the most successful ever with a record-breaking $47 million raised by nonprofit newsrooms across the country. In November and December 2020 — at a time when the health and economic impacts of the COVID pandemic and elections made access to reliable news absolutely essential — matching gifts from funders, philanthropists, and local businesses were leveraged to generate this groundswell of support from individual donors.

NewsMatch is a collaborative fundraising initiative that benefits members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) — a nationwide network of 300+ independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. NewsMatch brings together national and community foundations, corporate partners, and small businesses, providing them with multiple opportunities to support independent journalism:

Over the past several years, as many communities have lost their local news sources due to consolidation and closure of daily and weekly newspapers, NewsMatch’s collaborative fundraising model has been one solution toward building enduring and resilient sources of independent news. 

Here are some highlights from the 2020 campaign:

More dollars: newsrooms leveraged a pool of $6.7 million in matching funds to attract more than $47 million from individual donors (compared with $43.5 million in 2019) — the largest amount to date.

More newsrooms: 260 organizations participated in NewsMatch — a 33 percent increase in comparison to 2019. This signals growth in the nonprofit journalism field and reflects INN Index data showing that newsrooms increasingly rely on individual giving as a main revenue source. 

More donors: More than 430,000 people made more than 1 million donations during the NewsMatch campaign — about 65 percent more people than donated last year. These donors will contribute to the ongoing sustainability and growth of participating news organizations.

More local matches: More than 350 local supporters, including community foundations, philanthropists, and small businesses contributed $3.1 million in match funds — double the amount in comparison to 2019.

“NewsMatch has become a powerful and simple way for foundations to support local journalism at scale,” said Josh Stearns, director of the Public Square program at Democracy Fund, which funds NewsMatch. “The past year has shown that quality news and trustworthy information is vital to the communities and causes foundations care about — from healthcare, to racial justice, to fair and safe elections. Democracy Fund is proud to partner with so many other foundations to build the movement for nonprofit news across the country.”

In addition to financial support, NewsMatch also builds the fundraising capacity of participating news organizations with training from INN and its partner, News Revenue Hub. From tips on digital tools like setting up donation pages and running newsletter campaigns to guidance on identifying and engaging with major donors — NewsMatch puts organizations in a stronger position to increase their sustainability year after year.

“The visual resources NewsMatch offered saved us a ton of time during the busiest portion of the fundraising year, and the thorough guides and webinars offered were helpful as we planned our campaign,” said Alyia Paulding, membership and development coordinator for PublicSource, an INN member based in Pittsburgh. “Working with our local supporters to put together a local match pool which built on the financial support offered by NewsMatch was highly rewarding and deepened our relationship with them. Donors at all giving levels were really energized by the opportunity to double their impact.”

NewsMatch is supported through the Fund for Nonprofit News, an open collaborative fund at The Miami Foundation. NewsMatch funders include Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight FoundationFacebook Journalism ProjectGoogle News Initiative, the Abrams Foundation, the Inasmuch FoundationIndependence Public Media Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, the Rita Allen Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, and the Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable, the Walton Family FoundationWilliam and Flora Hewlett FoundationWyncote Foundation, along with individual supporters across the U.S.

For more information and year-over-year data, please visit our online press room:

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