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Chapter Six

A key step to raising funds and growing community support is to articulate the social benefit of your work and its mission. For a nonprofit, a mission is the public promise the organization makes to the community it serves, and the foundation of IRS approval. A case for support encapsulates the reasons the public should rally to the cause. 

Many people became journalists driven by idealistic hopes about their enterprise or investigative reporting. But for generations, news has been viewed mostly as a business, and a very profitable one. Thinking of news as a charity can be a startling idea to many.

So you can’t create a nonprofit that simply replaces a for-profit newspaper with the same coverage, services and business models, and say it’s nonprofit because the ad-supported business model no longer works. That’s unlikely to justify nonprofit legal status or win you donors. Nonprofit news organizations are called on to expand their mission to include more public-interest coverage, foster media literacy, hold events to encourage civic engagement, and provide educational and training opportunities for young and diverse voices. 

In developing your mission statement, you’ll want to go beyond journalism terms (credibility, fact-based, accountability, etc.) so your work can be easily and broadly understood. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

Once you are clear on your scope and mission, put it on paper. 



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