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Chapter Five

Early in your decision-making is the time to gauge your community’s information needs and how willing and able your community is to step up financially to support you. Your community may not have the resources to do so. 

There are several first steps you can take to assess your community’s financial capacity and proclivity to support local news. Here are some ideas:

Assessing information needs of your community is just as important as assessing financial capacity. Those who’ve done it have used surveys, focus groups, and formal assessment tools (see the resources below). For most, it was the beginning of not only understanding their community more deeply, but also of helping the community understand the organization’s coming transformation and what it would mean to them.

Survey your readers – and nonreaders – and hold focus groups to discover what they want from their community-led, nonprofit news organization. Ask them how they want to be involved. 

News needs change, so even if you are deeply embedded in your community and believe you understand its news needs, it’s critical to ask people frequently what information is most important to them and where there are gaps in local news. 

Resources

Examples

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