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Sample Donor & Financial Transparency Language

DISCLAIMER: The Institute for Nonprofit News (“INN”) is not a legal organization, and does not provide legal advice. The use of these materials is not a substitute for legal advice, and an attorney should be consulted with your use of the below materials. No Attorney-Client relationship is created by use of these materials.

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.

Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics and special projects. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.

Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.

We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

Disclosure examples from members

Disclosure: The Institute for Nonprofit News received a Paycheck Protection Program loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration during the coronavirus crisis.

Reveal on federal funds:

This disclaimer is at the end of their recent PPP story and will be included in future stories:

Disclosure: Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting sought a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which has been approved and disbursed.


This water explainer has a sponsor (because all of their explainers are monetized for one quarter at a time) AND the reporting has a philanthropic grant funder:

This explainer was supported by a grant from The Water Desk, an independent journalism initiative based at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism.

Their higher ed coverage is supported by the College Futures Foundation and that line is at the bottom of every story.

All of their philanthropic and major gift donors are also listed on its Supporters page.

The Conversation

Every article on The Conversation comes with a disclosure about the author (either that they have reported nothing or their sources of funding). On the desktop, it’s in the right-hand navigation.

Funding disclosed:

Sample: Anne Cafer receives funding from Carnegie Foundation, Walmart Giving Foundation. Meagen Rosenthal receives funding from Walmart Giving Foundation, Eshleman Institute for Innovation: Discovery Grants Program, Mississippi Department of Health, UNC TraCS Institute (pilot grant).

Story about a funder with disclosure at the end of the text:

Sample: Nicholas Tampio does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. 

365 Media Foundation

Madison Community Foundation has been a funder of theirs, so any story they write about any of the foundations’ funds or activities, they add a line at the end, like this:

Sample: MCF is also a funder of Madison365.

Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin Watch’s Policy on Financial Support requires them to be transparent about their funding. In addition to naming all donors on their Funding page, they include disclosures in stories or taglines when they determine that the public should be informed of their acceptance of support from a specific source, or when the public should be informed of conditions attached to the funding. They do this to protect the integrity of their journalism.

A few examples:

Within a story: Nevertheless, the myth of widespread voter fraud persists, especially among Republicans, according to the June PRRI/The Atlantic survey funded by the Joyce Foundation, which also supports the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s coverage of democracy issues.

Tagline: This story was produced as part of an investigative reporting class in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication under the direction of Dee J. Hall, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s managing editor. The Center’s collaborations with journalism students are funded in part by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment at UW-Madison.

Tagline involving a freelance journalist who also is a donor: Reporter Riley Vetterkind contributed to this report. Sheila Cohen, one of the authors, is also a donor to the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (

Series landing page: The project was made possible by support from INN, with additional support from the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.

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