News Match 2017

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FAQ for Nonprofits

What is News Match?

News Match is a matching gifts program designed to strengthen nonprofit newsrooms by building their donor base and the field’s overall fundraising capacity. With an initial $2 million investment from Democracy Fund and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, News Match’s goal is to increase the long term sustainability of the sector. It is an expansion of Knight Foundation’s December 2016 matching gifts effort to help nonprofit news organizations with their end of the year fundraising campaigns.

With this 2017 challenge, Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation are doubling the number of nonprofit news organizations involved and will be working to enlist other funders to join a Fund for Nonprofit News. They will also work closely with the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) and the News Revenue Hub to support nonprofit newsrooms in expanding their small donor base, building their membership program, and providing avenues for communities to support their work.

Which organizations are eligible to participate in this fund?

Publishers that are full members of INN in good standing by September 15, 2017, and regularly publish original news reporting are eligible to participate in News Match.

Where do I register for News Match?

You may register for News Match at the top of this page. Registration will remain open through September 30 and is being managed by The Miami Foundation, where the joint fund is being set up by Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation.

What is the timeline and key dates?

  • Aug-December 2017 – Prep, Training and Capacity Building
  • Sept. 5-30 – News Match registration is open
  • Oct. 1 – The national News Match campaign launches. Participating news organizations can begin collecting donations towards their match.  
  • Dec. 31 – End of Matching period
  • Jan. 31, 2018 – Deadline to submit match documentation to The Miami Foundation
  • February/March 2018 – Matching-fund payments sent to organizations

When should I start my end of year campaign?

While eligible newsrooms will be able to collect donations towards their match starting Oct. 1, news organizations should plan their end of year campaigns based on their unique capacity and community. Some will take three months while others will focus on a shorter window. The News Revenue Hub plans to offer three different campaign strategy options with staggering start times in October, November and December to accommodate different newsrooms’ needs.

How much will be matched?

News Match will match donations from individual donors up to a total of $1,000 during the matching period. There will be a cap on the total dollars each newsroom will be able to have matched but it will depend on the total News Match fund and the number of participating newsrooms. We will announce the cap by October 1, when we know the final number of participants.

What is the eligible donation time period for the match?

Donations from individual donors up to $1,000 that are received from Oct. 1 - Dec. 31. Not pledges. Donations. So during the eligible period be sure to follow up on any unfulfilled pledges.

What if I receive donations after the deadline?

Donations received after Dec. 31, 2017 will not be part of the match.

What determines the date of donation?

Either the date on the check or the date of the online donation as time stamped by your system.

In the event someone makes a donation larger than $1,000, can we can count the first $1,000 toward News Match?


What are the requirements and expectations for participating organizations?

News organizations are expected to draw on the training and other resources made available to help them increase their donor base and the organization’s overall fundraising capability. Participants will be required to participate in a few surveys and  report back on key data to understand the impact of News Match. In addition, newsrooms will have to participate in the American Society of News Editors’ annual diversity survey.

Would admission fees for an event count as a donation?

No, earned revenue, such as admission fees from events, do not count toward donations. The purpose of the matching gifts program is to provide an incentive to expand your base of donors and build relationships with diverse funders.

What donations count?

Donations from individuals up to a total of $1,000 will be matched (including donations made through family or donor-advised funds at community foundations).

How can nonprofit newsrooms work with community and place-based funders through News Match?

We encourage nonprofit newsrooms to use News Match as a chance to engage current funders or open up conversations with other foundations. Both Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation work closely with community foundations and are interested in helping nonprofit newsrooms make those connections. We can assist with strategy and help newsrooms make the case. The News Match program will encourage local and regional foundations to join the program by offering to double or even triple matches during your campaign. More information will be made available on this possible approach.

What documentation is required to prove the match?

Supporting documents must provide the amount and source of an individual grant. This can include, deposited checks, bank statements or credit card records, as long as they list the donor and amount. These will be submitted to The Miami Foundation, which is hosting the fund, via an online form. The Miami Foundation staff will then validate every donation and approve payment for the matching funds.

What information should I be collecting for reporting and forms?

See the application section above for more information. As a baseline, be prepared to report 2016 calendar-year fundraising totals, including number of individual donors, amount raised from individual donors, number of individual donations, how many years your organization has been building an individual donor base, and what percentage of your annual budget comes from individual donations. After News Match we’ll ask for your 2017 calendar-year numbers so we can compare year-to-year.

How can I get assistance with my fundraising campaign?

Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation have provided additional funds to the News Revenue Hub and the Institute for Nonprofit News to provide training, resources and other assistance to expand your membership base and help your campaign succeed. You can find recordings of trainings further down on this page.

The services are being provided based on results from a recent survey asking about your needs and a gap analysis of current capabilities. Democracy Fund and Knight’s communications and social media teams will also help promote the campaign at a national level and position you for success.

What are some of the services that might be available?
  • Workshops and webinars to help develop your strategy
  • Technology support to set up your systems (donor lists, pages, etc.)
  • Communications advice and templates for web, social and email outreach
  • A campaign kit with messaging and web page assets for INN members
  • Best practices in social and digital marketing
  • Peer-to-peer learning and sharing of best practices and small group coaching
  • Audience development and list building techniques
  • Training in use of Facebook, Google Adwords and Google Analytics

More details will be communicated through email, the INN listserv and posted here. Participants will be asked to register (free) through Eventbrite for capacity planning.

When will the organization receive the matching funds?

You will receive matching funds in February or March 2018 after submitting requested documentation of gifts.

Can donations go to a fund set up by a state university?

Yes, we can distribute matching funds to schools and universities for eligible organizations who are hosted at those institutions.

Are there constraints on how the matching funds can be spent?

Matching funds should be used to further the charitable purpose of your organization.  

What is the long term commitment to News Match?

This is a one-time program for 2017. We encourage news organizations to use this matching gifts opportunity and fundraising and training program as a way to build a recurring donor base to help achieve sustainability for quality journalism.

Got questions?

For participants:

Training Schedule and Recordings

To help organizations get ready for News Match, INN and News Revenue Hub are presenting a webinar series on fundraising best practices.

July 26: Addressing Your Biggest Barrier

Presenters: Mary Walter-Brown and Christina Shih. Download the resource guide.

Aug. 2: Growing Your Email List

Presenter: Tristan Loper. Download the presentation slides.

Aug. 9: Getting the Right Message to the Right People

Presenter: Anna Crotty. Get the resource guide.

Aug. 23: Cultivating Major Donors and Local Foundations

Presenters: Christina Shih, John Bebow (Bridge Magazine/Center for Michigan) and John Mooney (NJ Spotlight)

Sept. 12: Creating Your Campaign Action Plan

Presenters: Mary Walter Brown and Christina Shih. Get the resource guide.

Sept. 20: Engagement and Events Around Your Campaign

Presenter: Christina Shih.

Sept. 27: News Match 2017 Data Collection Webinar

Presenter: News Match Staff. News Match Evaluation Presentation. Match Cover Sheet Template.

Oct. 5-7: News Match at ONA

Office hours with News Revenue Hub and News Match. Details to be announced.

Oct. 11: Getting Started With Your NewsMatch.Org Profile

Presenter: INN. Register to attend.